If Orkney is full of historical mysteries, then surely Shetland is the place for the drama. “Nature” wrote one visitor, “appears in her wildest dress” in these, Britain’s most northerly islands, and it is indeed the wildness and grandeur of the Shetland landscapes and seascapes which inevitably become the visitors most enduring memory.
There are more than 100 islands here, each forged by the roaring surging waves of the North Atlantic. Everywhere one goes, there are dramatic cliffs, perfect deserted contemplative beaches, huge vistas across awe-inspiring voes and inlets, and above, the evocative cry of seabirds. Sunrises and sunsets in Shetland are spectacular.
For many people, visiting Shetland to see the Viking-themed fire festival Up Helly Aa is firmly on their bucket list. It’s a spectacular event which culminates with the burning of a Viking galley. If seeing Up Helly Aa seems like a difficult thing to achieve then we’re pleased to let you know that it is easier than you think!
There's plenty on in Shetland during February 2018. Following Up Helly Aa in January, the islands are alight with community fire festivals in February. There are also brilliant exhibitions and musical events to attend! Read our what's on guide so that you don't miss a thing!
With amazing landscapes to see; from dramatic coastal scenery to wild hills; as well as free activities to keep the family entertained, Shetland can be a place where you can go on amazing adventures without needing to spend a penny! Here are ten recommendations of things to do in Shetland for free!
When visiting the Shetland Islands we recommend that you sample the unique food that can be found there. Throughout history Shetlanders have relied on the sea to fill their larder. The heathery landscape is also ideal for sheep farming. For your taste-buds' sake, make sure you sample some of our Shetland food suggestions!
If you're visiting Shetland then why not take a look at our comprehensive guide to the islands to help you plan your trip? You'll find useful info, fascinating facts and some helpful tips!
Shetland's yearly events start with the fire festivals which mark the end of the long winter nights. Shetland Folk Festival and Fiddle Frenzy are a celebration of Shetland's outstanding musical heritage. Screenplay, Shetland's film festival, brings film stars to the islands, Shetland Wool Week showcases Shetland's sheep and textile industry and the Simmer Dim Motorcycle Rally is a celebration of the long summer nights. It's easy to see why this fantastic range of festivals draw people back to Shetland again and again!
We were lucky enough to spend a bit of time in Yell this summer, and from the moment we stepped foot off the ferry we fell in love with the island! Our first impressions of Yell was of an island with dramatic views, a lovely coastline, lots of moorland, many single track roads, some amazing sights of interest and unbeatable welcomes. We've compiled a list of some of our favourite places in Yell.
We had a brilliant few days on the island of Unst and were more than a little surprised by the huge amount of things to see! Unst is the most northerly inhabited island in the UK, and there are amazing castles, Viking houses, a replica longship, standing stones, rare plants, lovely beaches, amazing cliffs and even colourful bus shelters to visit!
We've been told that our previous guides to the less well known, but just as lovely, highlights of Shetland have been helpful for frequent visitors looking for something different to do! So we've written another guide, with ten more brilliant places to go in Shetland that are less well known than Sumburgh Head and St Ninian's Isle.
Shetlanders have always had a close relationship with the sea as a source of food, transport, trade and a way to escape the poverty of the croft. However, one period of history involving Shetlanders and the sea stands out. This was the Haaf fishing, which took place between 1750 and 1900 and involved spending 2-3 days at sea in big, open wooden boats, sailing up to 40 miles out to the fishing grounds!
If you're spending a few days in Shetland then we'd strongly recommend taking the ferry over to the island of Mousa. On this uninhabited island you'll see an amazing Iron Age broch, which is nearly completely intact. We took a picnic over to the island and had a brilliant family day out, seeing birds, seals and archaeological treasures!