Eshaness Cliffs Visit Scotland Stuart Brunton

Shetland Holidays

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Situated at the crossroads of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, the so-called 'islands of opportunity' which make up Shetland are a dynamic and community-spirited archipelago where Viking roots run deep. Expect vast skies, spectacular birdlife and awe-inspiring coastal scenery in the land where you are never further than three miles from the sea.

 


Map of Shetland

Shetland Map

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Getting there & Getting around

Northlink Ferries to Lerwick, passing the island of Bressay and Kirkabister Ness Lighthouse in Shetland, Scotland

Getting to Shetland

Whether you chose to journey by land or sea, the remote Shetland isles are surprisingly accessible. Fly direct from the Scottish mainland, with connections available from a wider range of UK airports including Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham. Take in the views of dramatic sea cliffs and white sandy beaches as you approach Shetland’s Sumburgh Airport. Alternatively, taste the salty sea air on your lips and make an adventure out of an overnight ferry journey from Aberdeen to Shetland's charming harbour at Lerwick.

Car driving along the B9122 overlooking the sea near Scousburgh on Mainland in Shetland, Scotland

Self-drive Shetland

Hire a car to embrace the freedom of exploring this beautiful archipelago on your own time. The good, sturdy road infrastructure means it is possible for visitors to explore the Shetland Isles on their own itinerary whilst enjoying a scenic drive.


Experiences on the Shetland Isles

The view across Mucklabrek's Wick on the Shetland Islands, Scotland

Visit Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement

Delve into 4,000 years of history at this prehistoric archaeological site, situated on a headland with spectacular views over the West Voe of Sumburgh. Marvel at a Bronze Age house, Iron Age wheelhouses, Norse long houses, a medieval farmstead and a rich collection of artefacts displayed in the visitor centre.  

St Ninian S Isle Visit Scotland Stuart Brunton

Walk to St Ninian's Isle

A sparkling gem in Shetland's crown, the beautiful emerald-topped St. Ninians Isle is connected to the mainland by the UK's largest active sand tombolo. Walk across the crisp white sands to the island, where you’ll discover the ruins of the 12th-century chapel famous for the Pictish treasure found there.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse on the southern tip of the Mainland of Shetland in Scotland

Sea Kayaking Adventures

Embark on a guided kayaking tour to explore Shetland's rugged and beautiful coastline from the water. Kayak through sea canons and caves looking out for otters, puffins and seals. 

Scalloway with the ruins of Scalloway Castle beyond on Mainland in Shetland, Scotland

Visit Scalloway Castle

Discover the ruins of one of Scotland's most prestigious buildings in Scotland at the time. Once home to Patrick Stewart, known for his oppression of the Shetland people, the ruins of Scalloway Castle stand as an impressive example of late 1500s tower house architecture. 

Aerial view over Lerwick town and Harbour on Mainland in Shetland, Scotland

Spend a day in Lerwick

The quirky streets of Lerwick, Shetland's capital, are well worth exploring. Made famous in the BBC series Shetland, this charming harbour town is full of independent shops selling local crafts and authentic knitwear with a vibrant cultural scene. 

A boat on the edge of Loch Spiggie on Mainland on a sunny day in Shetland, Scotland

Spot birdlife at Spiggie Loch

The Loch of Spiggie is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA) for wildlife conservation. Attracting vast numbers of bird species throughout the year, from oystercatchers, lapwing and redshanks in summer to wildfowl and whooper swans in autumn, the loch is the perfect habitat for local wildlife and a haven for birdwatchers.

Boats in the harbour on a sunny day in Shetland, Scotland

Boat Trip to Mousa

Discover Shetland's enchanting Broch of Mousa, an Iron Age round tower on the enchanting island of Mousa. Whilst on the island, follow the circular coastal and moorland trail around the RSPB reserve, the preferred nesting site of nocturnal storm petrels.

The view across Mucklabrek's Wick on the Shetland Islands, Scotland

Walk up Ronas Hill

Shetland's highest peak, Ronas Hill, is a manageable climb to 450m and topped with a prehistoric chambered burial cairn. Wild and windswept with spectacular panoramic views across the Fair Isle, the summit has a sub-Arctic climate. Take a moment to discover the native flora and fauna and the few species endemic to Shetland found here.

Houses at sunset in Lerwick on Shetland in Scotland

Take Part in the Up Helly Aa Festival

Between January and March every year, the special Up Helly Aa fire festival takes place across communities in Shetland. A celebration of the islands' history, the spectacle involves traditional Viking dress, dancing, seeing old friends and processions through the streets. 


Highlights of Shetland

The rocky Eshaness Cliffs on a sunny day in Shetland in Scotland

Clifftop twitching on a remote reserve

Overlooking Muckle Flugga – at Britain’s most northerly tip – the vertical headland of Hermaness Nature Reserve is a spectacular seabird city. More than 50,000 nesting pairs gather here in spring when the clifftops are carpeted with colourful wildflowers. Gannets, shags and fulmars dive dramatically into the white water below. Puffins waddle clumsily between their grassy burrows. The remote reserve is accessed via a one-hour boardwalk over fragile peatland bog, home in summer to one of Shetland's most iconic birds: the bonxie (great skua). 

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse on the southern tip of the Mainland of Shetland in Scotland

Lighthouse stays at the edge of the world

Jagged cliffs, crashing waves and 360-degree coastal views… what could be more romantic than staying in a Scottish lighthouse? Looking out across the North Atlantic, these scenically situated historical buildings are now fully automated, and three of the keeper cottages have been converted into cosy self-catering hideaways. From the precipitous cliffs of Sumburgh and Eshaenss to the rocky outcrop of Bressay, each tower continues to protect ships from Shetland’s treacherous coast and is a unique part of the islands’ cultural heritage. 

As you travel these windswept and wild isles, look out for the resident Shetland ponies who have lived on the islands for over 4,000 years.

A knitting demonstration at The Shetland Textile Museum at Weisdale Mill, Mainland, Shetland

Get creative during Shetland Wool Week

Thought to have been introduced by Viking settlers over 1000 years ago, Shetland sheep are known for their hardy disposition and their dense but lightweight fleece. The multi-coloured wool is highly coveted for Fair Isle knitwear, tweed and knitted lace shawls (so fine they will pass through a wedding ring). Shetland Wool Week is a celebration of the crofters, designers and knitters who have gained respect worldwide. Visitors can try their hand at weaving, spinning and dyeing at events across the islands.


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Shetland in Pictures

Burn Of Lunklet, Mainland, Shetland Visit Scotland Paul Tomkins
Burn of Lunklet, Mainland
Breckon Sands, Yell_Visit Scotland_Paul Tomkins
Breckon Sands. Isle of Yell
The Bridge To Muckle Roe From Mainland_Visit Scotland_Paul Tomkins
Bridge to Muckle Roe, Mainland
Lia Tzanidaki Mvozvdvuxsm Unsplash
Puffin
Spiggie Beach Visit Scotland Paul Tomkins
Spiggie Beach, Mainland
Shetland Ponies, Hills Of Foula Visit Scotland Paul Tomkins
Shetland ponies, Isle of Foula
Hams Of Roe, Muckle Roe Visit Scotland Paul Tomkins
Hams of Roe, Muckle Roe

We can't wait to help you plan your trip to Shetland