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A chance to get right under the skin of Shetland with this week long, two-centre holiday.
This holiday enables you to explore the length and breadth of Britain’s most northerly islands: the Shetland Isles. You will have the chance to really get under the skin of Shetland, spending time on the mainland and on its most Northerly island, Unst.
You’ll have lots of opportunity to visit the key attractions: from impressive prehistoric remains to dramatic natural sea cliffs and sandy beaches. Enjoy a full day in the company of a local guide, as well as a boat trip around Noss to view Seabirds and Seals.
At 60 degrees North of the Equator, Shetland enjoys very long days in mid-summer, with several weeks when it never really gets dark at all – known locally as the “simmer dim”. The weather is, of course, unpredictable, adding to the drama of the natural landscape, and forming the magnificent coastline, with steep cliffs, caves, stacks and rock arches.
This is a magical place, with a completely different feel from the rest of Scotland. What’s more, the Shetland Isles are experiencing ever increasing popularity thanks to BBC’s hit TV series Shetland based on Ann Cleeves’ gritty crime stories.
Don’t have a full week to travel? We also offer the shorter Shetland Fly-drive holiday.
Depart Aberdeen early evening on the overnight ferry, giving you a chance to enjoy dinner on board before retiring to your cabin.
You arrive in Shetland’s capital, Lerwick, at 0730 so with plenty of time to start exploring today. Get under the skin of these remote, Northern islands from the outset, in the company of a local tour guide. You will spend the day visiting some of the main attractions – both natural and man-made – in the south of Shetland. The exact itinerary will depend on your interests and the weather, with options including the beautiful St. Ninian’s Isle and its unusual “tombolo” sandy beach, the ancient settlement of Jarlshof, and Sumburgh head, a nesting place for puffins until early August.
Set in the tranquil village of Bigton on the picturesque west side of the island, your guesthouse is perfectly placed for touring the South Mainland of Shetland. Five minutes walk from St. Ninian’s sands, with many more unspoilt sandy beaches close by, you will be spoilt for choice and how better to enjoy your breakfast than by feasting on the beautiful, unrestricted views of St. Ninian’s Isle and westward to Foula.
A day to explore at your leisure, perhaps taking a short trip on the passenger ferry to visit impressive Mousa Broch, an Iron Age round tower and one of the best preserved prehistoric buildings in the world. For something rather different, you could follow a craft trail, popping in to galleries and wee shops, where you will find traditional items, such as fair isle knits, or more contemporary textiles. Or you could take the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Ann Cleeves’ Shetland crime dramas, recently filmed on location by the BBC.
A day for you to discover more in the west of Shetland. Take a morning walk along the dramatic cliffs at Eshaness, perhaps, with the sea crashing and foaming far below.
This afternoon you will enjoy a unique and spectacular wildlife experience. Thousands of birds nest and feed in the Noss Nature Reserve, and seals laze on rocks beneath the cliffs or nose around the boat. Your guides on board will share their in-depth knowledge aboard the vessel while you tour the spectacular cliffs of the world famous bird reserve. Afterwards, drive to your next hotel on your Shetland exploration, situated in the West Mainland.
Set on the edge of a village overlooking a peaceful bay, the original, historic building dates from the 1500’s and has benefited from many tasteful additions throughout the centuries. Low ceilings, winding corridors, steep steps and sloping floors all add to the characterful ambiance of the place which, rumour has it, includes its’ very own ghost. Guests comment on the friendly welcome and traditional service they have received here and the hotel even has royal connections: Queen Elizabeth once took afternoon tea in the library. Less regal guests can enjoy meals in the hotel bar or restaurant, both of which offer high quality, locally-sourced produce. All the bedrooms are individually decorated and named after the surrounding isles, and have views of the bay or the gardens, complete with trees – a rare and welcome occurrence on Shetland.
There’s plenty to explore on Unst – from a reconstructed Viking longhouse to the Shetland Ales craft brewery and Foords’ Chocolates, where you can sample the delights made on the premises. Don’t forget to stop and admire/photograph the famous Unst Bus Shelter – complete with carpet, comfy seats, TV and themed decorations – one of Britain’s most quirky attractions – it even has its own website and visitors’ book!
A final day to explore at your leisure. If you are interested in recent history and stories of great bravery and heroism, head into Scalloway, with its Scandinavian-style painted houses and fascinating museum about the “Shetland Bus” – the secret wartime operation supporting the Norwegian resistance.
Journey back to Lerwick for the overnight ferry to Aberdeen. The holiday can also be arranged as a fly-drive, with flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen direct to Sumburgh and car hire included on the islands.
This holiday has two centres: the south of Shetland near Sumburgh, the West Mainland convenient for Lerwick, and the most northerly of the Shetland Islands, Unst, where you will enjoy a day trip.
£1195 per person in April, £1295 per person in May & October and £1325 per person in June to September.
Prices based on two adults sharing a room, for eight nights on a bed & breakfast basis in the hotels as described, return ferry travel for car and passengers from Aberdeen to Shetland, including accommodation in an outer two berth cabin in both directions. Meals on board are not included.
The holiday also includes a full day guided tour with a local guide, and boat trip around Noss (for May to mid September holidays only). The return ferry travel to Unst for car and passengers is pre-booked but must be paid on boarding.
This holiday can also be arranged as a “fly-drive” with return flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen to Shetland, and car hire while on the islands. Add £120 per person to the ferry-based holiday price for this option.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
Please note that due to conditions imposed on our supplier by insurance companies, the maximum age for a driver on this holiday is 78.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
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This holiday can be arranged from late April to the first week of October.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
There’s something incredibly liberating about going on holiday to Shetland. I felt a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life ...
Very well organised holiday. Was reassuring and useful to have a help line that worked. Shows the real value of using this company.Robert & Catherine, Sheffield, England
We loved Shetland in all its moods. Our enjoyment was enhanced by the excellent information you provided & the fact all arrangements worked out well.Jennifer & William, Margaret River, Australia
The scenery was fantastic and the hotels booked were wonderful. We also enjoyed the day spent with our personal guide.Susan & David, Lancashire, England
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