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.
Up Helly Aa is the biggest of the fire festivals that take place in the winter months in Shetland. This Viking themed fire festival takes place in Lerwick on the last Tuesday of January. The day involves a series of marches and visitations and in the evening is the most famous part – the torch-lit procession and Galley burning. Find out more about the Shetland Fire Festival and view the webcast of 2019's event here!
There's lots on in Shetland during March 2019 including exhibitions, musical events, the last of the community fire festivals and comedy from Jason Manford. Read our what's on guide so that you don't miss a thing!
Shetland and Orkney have been populated for over 6000 years, and through the course of these Islands' history the languages spoken there have changed many times. However it is Old Norse that has had the greatest influence on modern place names. Read our guide to find out what the island, area and house names of Shetland mean!
Many of us have a soft spot for chocolate but Shetlander Dave Williams turned his love for the sweet into a thriving business. Read on to find out how Dave's small chocolatey idea led to a change in career and the introduction of one of the Northern Isles’ favourite sweet companies – Mirrie Dancers.
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!
To celebrate the Year of Young People 2018 NorthLink Ferries ran a writing competition for P6 and P7 pupils in Shetland. We asked them to tell us five reasons why they think the Shetland Islands are a great place to visit. The winning article, written by Ailee Burgess, aged 11, from Tingwall Primary School, is a brilliant insider’s guide to Shetland!
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!
Shetland Fire Festivals can be particularly difficult subjects to take good photos of as they take place during the winter on dark nights and feature lots of movement, as Jarl Squads march quickly with bright flaming torches. However we have some camera tips that may help you!
Visitors to Shetland in autumn and winter will hope to see the Northern Lights, known locally as the Mirrie Dancers. Those who get to see them will be enchanted by the curtains of green, yellow, blue and red light swaying and shifting in the night sky. If you’d like to take good photos of the Northern Lights, you may find that it is easier than you might think!
With dramatic scenery in spades, miles of heathery moorland and lovely sandy beaches, the Shetland Islands are a fantastic place to take your dog, and there are many fine Shetland dog walks to be had! We asked Sara from the Lerwick Terminal about her dog Dougal's favourite walks. We hope that you and your dog enjoy visiting these wild and beautiful places!
Looking for ponies, puffins, otters, orcas, geology or Vikings in Shetland? We've written a handy guide to the Shetland islands which should answer your questions and point you in the right direction!