Things To See & Do
Evidence from early settlers, through the Bronze and Iron Ages, to the Pictish and Viking eras is incredibly well-preserved in Shetland. Standing stones and ancient houses, burial chambers, and chapels are all easily accessible to visit on the islands. Archaeological highlights include Mousa; the only example of a complete ‘broch’ in the world, and the famous Norse settlement of Jarlshof – with records of human occupation going back over 5,000 years. The impressive Shetland Museum in Lerwick, officially opened in 2007, documents the islands’ history and is well worth a visit.
Shetland’s natural, rugged beauty and magnificent coastlines are ideal for an activity holiday, with walking, cycling, fishing and diving all well-catered-for here. The islands’ unique and outstanding geology has recently earned them the right to become a “Geopark“, and Shetland is committed to preserving and raising awareness of its rich heritage. The rocks tell a fascinating tale spanning almost three billion years of natural history.
As well as the “Mainland”, visits to other islands are a must, including Unst – the most northerly populated island in the British Isles. The Muckle Flugga Lighthouse lies at the tip of the island, and the only thing that lies between here and the North Pole is the tiny rocky outcrop of Out Stack.
In a place full of prime bird-watching locations, the island of Noss is one of the most spectacular, and is a dramatic sight. Sumburgh Head in the south mainland is a renowned puffin-watching location from April util the end of July; remote Fair Isle, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, has an internationally renowned Bird Observatory (where crime writer Ann Cleeves once worked). Fair Isle also has Special Protection Area status for its diversity and density of seabird populations. On Shetland you are guaranteed to see seals all year round. Otters are a little trickier to spot, but with some patience there is a good chance; just watch out for them crossing the road. Occasionally Orcas, dolphins and harbour porpoise make an appearance off-shore.
Shopping in Lerwick will offer up a great range of local arts and crafts, including the famous hand-knitted textiles, home-made soaps and beautiful hand-crafted jewellery, such as the famous Shetland Jewellery.
Travelling To & Around
There are daily, overnight ferries from Aberdeen, and regular connections with Orkney, also overnight, enabling a longer exploration of both of the “Northern Isles”.
There are also good links by air with Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow, and as a fully licensed tour operator, we can arrange both ferry-based and fly-drive holidays.
Fantastically well-maintained roads, frequent inter-island ferries and bridges make Shetland really easy to explore by car.