Ten hidden gems of Shetland

When people come to visit Shetland they usually visit St Ninian’s Isle, Jarlshof and Scalloway Castle. We have ten hidden gems of Shetland for you to visit – places that don’t make the front cover of the tourist brochure! Check out ten hidden gems of Orkney here

Old Scatness, Shetland

1) Old Scatness, South Mainland

Old Scatness is a remarkably well-preserved ancient settlement one mile from Sumburgh. At its heart is an Iron Age broch which has radically altered what archaeologists know about the Iron Age. It was previously thought that Brochs were built around the time of the birth of Christ, but the Broch at Old Scatness was built three centuries earlier – as early as 300BC.

The Ness of Burgi, Shetland

2) Ness of Burgi, South Mainland

The Ness of Burgi is an Iron Age blockhouse (similar to Clickimin broch and standing 2m high – originally it was twice as high and roofed) in a spectacular location. It is at the southern tip of the south Shetland Mainland and the track leading to it is for the most adventurous explorer! Parts of the path are very narrow and are being eroded by the sea so a handrail has been provided to enable a safe crossing.

Bobby's Bus Shelter, Unst Shetland

3) Bobby’s Bus Shelter, Unst

A Bus Shelter which sits on the corner of the main road through Unst, and the Little Hamar Road. Since its construction in 1996 (it replaced an older Bus Shelter following an appeal by a schoolpupil named Bobby), it has been decorated with comfortable seats, a TV, a two bar heater, hamsters and more!

“It was previously thought that Brochs were built around the time of the birth of Christ, but the Broch at Old Scatness was built three centuries earlier – as early as 300BC.”

Uyea, Northmavine, Shetland

4) Uyea, Northmavine

Uyea is a beautiful uninhabited island in Northmavine. This picture shows the island on the left, which is joined to the mainland (right) by a sand spit, like St Ninian’s Isle.

Bod of Nesbister, Shetland

5) Böd of Nesbister, Whiteness

Sitting in the centre of the best view in Shetland of Whiteness Voe, this basic camping böd (the public can stay in it for a small fee) was originally a fishing warehouse where salt was stored. It has a stunning view as far as Trondra to the South and is surrounded on three sides by the Voe of Nesbister.

Banna Minn, West Burra, Shetland

6) Banna Minn, West Burra

Banna Minn is a small bay on the island of West Burra. The land above the bay is a thin sliver and the landscape surrounding it is beautiful. It’s a great place to take photographs. The beach is usually quiet.

Fethaland, Shetland

7) Fethaland, Northmavine

At the farthest north point of the mainland, Fethaland has two rocky beaches and the remains of what was once Shetland’s largest and busiest Haaf fishing station. You can find more info about Haaf fishing and Fethaland here.

Six inch Naval Gun, Bressay, Shetland

8) Six inch Naval Gun, Bressay

To protect the south entrance to Lerwick Harbour in 1918, a Mk VII six-inch calibre breech-loading naval gun was installed at the Bard Head on the Bard of Bressay. Well worth a visit, you can also find a hoisting gallow for supplies, and an underground magazine for storing ammunition here.

The Knab, Lerwick, Shetland

9) The Knab, Lerwick

The Knab is a south pointing ness in Lerwick, next to the town’s cemetary. When visiting the Knab, you’ll get a fabulous view of Bressay and the shipping coming in and out of Lerwick harbour. Below the Knab is a Torpedo tube platform which formed part of Lerwick harbour’s WW2 defences.

Muness Castle on the island of Unst in Shetland

10) Muness Castle, Unst

Muness Castle is the most northerly castle in the UK and was built for Laurence Bruce by Andrew Crawford, who built Scalloway Castle. It is a stunning building, located on the island of Unst, though it was attacked and burned by a band of privateers in 1627. It is free to visit and torches are provided to help with exploring the dark passageways and rooms.

Magnus DixonBy Magnus Dixon
Orkney and Shetland enthusiast, family man, loves walks, likes animals, terrible at sports, dire taste in music, enjoys films and audiobooks, eats a little too much for his own good.

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