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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Shetland Fly-drive

The quickest and simplest route to this unique, far flung part of the UK.

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 Cleeve’s gritty, iconic crime stories.

The easiest and quickest route to Shetland is by air, and with regular daily flights taking around ninety minutes from Glasgow or Edinburgh, this is a convenient option to maximise your time in this unique and remote part of the UK.

Your hire car will give you the opportunity to explore during your three night stay.  The dramatic coastline is never far away, while causeways and short local ferry crossings make trips to neighbouring islands quite possible – the adventurous may even want to head as far north as possible to view the wonderfully-named Muckle Flugga lighthouse. We will provide plenty of suggestions for you.

If you have more time to explore these fascinating islands, we also offer the week-long See Shetland Differently holiday.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Experience the "simmer dim" light nights in June/ July.

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add a day with a local tour guide?

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Day One

After collecting your hire car by the airport, you will head north to your first base in the village Bigton in the south of the Mainland.

Your accommodation in Bigton

Your charming guest house is perfectly placed for exploring the South Mainland of Shetland, and is just a five minute walk away from St. Ninian’s sands. The owner offers the warmest of welcomes to her guests, and offers a heaty breakfast made using local, organic ingredients. This tranquil spot is the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring.

Days Two & Three

Today you will head north to the small village of Brae where you will spend two nights.

Your hotel 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.  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.

Things to See & Do on Shetland 

You could perhaps take 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.

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.

The dramatic cliffs of Eshaness are within a short drive, and this is an ideal location to head north by ferry to Yell and Unst, perhaps to look out to Britain’s most northerly point – the Muckle Flugga lighthouse. 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!

We are also able to arrange private or small group tours with an expert guide, who will be able to give you the insight only a local can offer – ask us for more details.

Day Four – Return home


Map Shetland

We can arrange flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness or Aberdeen, and connecting services from Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast and Gatwick.


£590 per person in February, £620 per person for March, November & December, £645 per person for April & October, £695 per person for May to September.

Prices based on 2 adults sharing a room for 3 nights on a bed & breakfast basis, 4 days hire of a small manual car and return flights from Edinburgh or Glasgow. We can also arrange private or small group day tours with a local guide – please ask us for more details.

*For dates in January including the Up Helly Aa festival (26th January 2022), we will be offering a special package, from £995 per person, for three nights accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis in an ensuite double room, return flights from Edinburgh or Glasgow, car hire (small manual) and a half day orientation tour with a local guide, during which you can learn more about the background of the events you will be witnessing.

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.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

Please note that the above pricing does not include stays over Christmas or New Year. If you are interested in taking this holiday across those dates, please get in touch for a bespoke quote. 


The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

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.

Shetland: Full of Surprises

Shetland: Full of Surprises

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 ...


Check availability for Shetland Fly-drive

This holiday can be arranged from January to October.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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