Shetland Things to Do

  • The Loch of Funzie with geology exhibit in front.
    The Loch of Funzie with geology exhibit...
    by MikeBird
  • See how close the shoreline is to the wheelhouse
    See how close the shoreline is to the...
    by MikeBird
  • The wheelhouse 'piers' helped support the roof
    The wheelhouse 'piers' helped support...
    by MikeBird

Shetland Things to Do

  • Mousa Broch

    Shetland Things to Do

    If you haven't arrived in your own boat a boat-trip will show you a side of Shetland which is otherwise inaccessible. There are several trips operating out of Lerwick, including the 'Seabirds-and-seals' trip which I took (see the Lerwick page for the review). Well worth the money. Or you could take the Mousa ferry from Aithsvoe (see my Mousa...

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  • Visit Old Scatness Iron Age site

    To the west of Sumburgh airport and just south of the runway crossing gates you will find the Iron age site called Old Scatness.There has been extensive excavation here and you really get a feel that there could easily be more to be uncovered were it not for the lack of funding. In fact sadly one of the tour guides mentioned that the site may not...

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  • Jarlshof: a journey through time

    Located very close to Sumburgh airport, at the southern most point of the Mainland Shetland are the ancient ruins known as Jarlshof. The name is derived from Sir Walter Scott's novel called 'The Pirate' in which the ruined Laird's house on the present site inspired the author in telling the story.Jarlshof is managed by Historic Scotland and has...

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  • Shetland's beaches are amazing

    If you like unspoilt, pristine, clean, white or silvery sand beaches then Shetland has several of these to offer. On each of the four larger islands I found at least one example of a beach that fits the description above.When I say unspoilt I mean that there is nothing available for the visitor, no toilets, no lifeguards and certainly no shops so...

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  • Birdwatching on Fetlar

    Back in the 1960s and 70s the Shetland island of Fetlar became famous as the only place in Britain where the Snowy Owl was successfully breeding. The same pair of large white owls, iconic birds with piercing yellow eyes and huge talons (Hedwig of Harry Potter fame), quickly became famous and drew stalwart birders to the small island to catch sight...

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  • Explore Central Mainland

    Scalloway, a busy fishing port, was once Shetland's capital...that's why Earl Stewart built his castle there. It still stands over the picturesque harbour. There's a new museum in the process of being opened (only a temporary display at the moment, but by summer 2012 all will be in place) and strong links to the Shetland Bus. My Scalloway page will...

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  • Walk and walk and walk....

    Drive to get to places, of course...or take the bus.But Shetland is made for walking. Unlike Orkney, it has very few cows....it's sheep country....so you need not worry about crossing fields full of nursing cows or bullocks here!And Scotland does not have the public footpaths you find in England, so you can walk anywhere...but sensibly, of course....

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  • Take a boat-trip

    If you haven't arrived in your own boat a boat-trip will show you a side of Shetland which is otherwise inaccessible.There are several trips operating out of Lerwick, including the 'Seabirds-and-seals' trip which I took (see the Lerwick page for the review). Well worth the money.Or you could take the Mousa ferry from Aithsvoe (see my Mousa page),...

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  • Visit St Ninian's Isle

    Certainly for its unique and beautiful tombolo..........a crescent of white sand, lapped on either side by the sea, allowing access to the island in all but the highest of tides or stormiest of weather.But also for the island itself. The tiny Celtic chapel there was excavated in the late 1950s and a hoard of 'treasure' was found...wonderfully...

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  • Wander Nesting, Lunnasting and Delting

    These three districts in Central Mainland offer a slightly gentler landscape in some parts, with rolling hills, hummocky moorland and tiny lochs, narrow voes (inlets) and scattered settlements. Sullom Voe is there too, a huge voe on which the Sullow Voe terminal stands (and, remarkably, is not the eyesore I thought it would be).There are wonderful...

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  • Explore Northmavine

    Northmavine is almost an island...it's only joined to Shetland mainland by a narrow strip of land separating the Atlantic from the North Sea, 100 yards or so wide (Mavis Grind). Sop narrow that, until the 1950s, fishermen carried their boats across to save themselves time!It's the most northerly part of mainland Shetland, the wildest and the least...

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  • Visit Sumburgh

    Unless you arrive by boat, you'll land at tiny Sumburgh airport, to the far south of Shetland mainland and about 30 minutes' drive from Lerwick (there are regular buses).It's in the most wonderful spot, with sea either side and magnificent views over the surrounding voes (inlets, rather like fjords) and landscape.Like most Shetland settlements...

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  • Visit Lerwick

    Lerwick is the capital of Shetland, with stone-flagged streets and many narrow 'closses' (alleyways), shops, cafes and a couple of supermarkets...and a population of less than 8000, although almost half of the whole Shetland population (totalling 22000) live nearby.. So, as you can imagine, it's not really a huge capital city. It's just a small...

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  • Botany

    There is a wide variety of wild flowers growing in Shetland. Some are very common while others, such as Frog Orchid and Oyster Plant, are rare. A good place to see rare plants is the Keen of Hamar which is a wind-swept glacial area that has special designation. There are places where there is such an abundance of wild flowers, that I called it the...

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  • Tiny Plane that lands in a field!!

    Have to go to Fair Isle for a visit :o) People are all very friendly and the community spirit is fantastic as they all help one another out. There are only 75 people who live on the island, some who croft, make boats, knit and hand spin garments, make fiddles and chairs to name a few trades!, diverse and open to people who visit the island I had a...

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  • Jarlshof

    This is a truly extraordinary place and walking around it takes you back 4000 years. The various walks take you from the early 17th century AD laird's house through Medieval and Viking times to the prehistory. That really shows that the first dwellers in 2400 BC had the ability to choose a good site otherwise later generations would never have gone...

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  • Jarlshof

    Another must-see attraction of Shetland. What makes this place special is the fact that some many different eras are evident on one site. Also, that you can wander round the settlement. Care should be taken not to disturb the stones etc and of course, watch your head!! There is an exhibition at the entrance and the curator gave us an introduction...

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  • St Ninian's Isle

    This is a great spot to stop and sample the unique beach causeway that links the isle to the main land. It's a beautiful spot and worth a visit on your way to other places. There are the ruins of a church on the isle where some Pictish silver was discovered in the 1950s.

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  • Mousa

    This is one of the highlights of Shetland. Mousa is a tiny island (about a mile long and 3/4 long). The main draw is its iron age broch. First things first: phone to check the ferry is running - we did every day and some days the water was too choppy so it wasn't. There are only two sailings most days in the summer and it would be a shame to miss...

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  • Clickimnin broch

    Iit very easily accessible on foot from the Lerwick center. It's beautifully situated on the edge of the Loch. I found this broch very interesting and being in Lerwick don't miss it. The access is free.It was inhabited frm 100 BC to AD 500. It was restored in the 1850s.

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  • Isle of Noss

    Noss National Nature Reserve is a very beautiful place. I think it's a must see place. If you want to visit the place take the whole day. Walk around the island and watch birds and enjoy the spectacular and breathtaking views. For more information about the Noss island visit the website.If you want to see only puffins go to Sumburgh Head. I saw...

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  • Beatifus beaches

    In the sunshine are the Shetland's beaches marvellous. I was lying for about 2 hours on the beach close to Jarleshof and was watching birds fishing in the bay.

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  • Fitful Head - a non-touristic place

    Start your trip in Quendale. There is a nice track leading up to the hill. I think it takes about 1,5 hours to get to the radar dome (283 m). I would recommend this track because I took another path going form the Bay of Quendale through the Garths Ness and I had to climbe many fences. It's not so easy and could be very adventuroues. If you reach...

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  • Jarlshof - an archeological site

    Going to Sumburgh Head plan a visit to Jarlshof. It is quite interesting but don't expect too much and don't try to compare with Greek or Roman archaeological sites. There is an interpretive centre where you can learn everything about the site spanning 3000 years of settlement and you can learn how to play an anciant game called "Tafle". Visiting...

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  • A nice walk from Sumburgh Hotel to...

    It's a very easy and beautiful route. If you travel by public transport you have to start the walk at the Sumburgh hotel. There is a regular bus line connecting Lerwick with the Sumburgh Hotel. The bus operate several times a day connecting the airport with the Shetland capital LERWICK. The ticket costs 2.20 Pounds one way. Get off at the hotel....

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  • Excellent place for puffin-watching

    The puffin-watching can be a really excellent teraphy for your bad mood. Go to Sumburgh Head - a place where you can be very close to the funny birds. Take a lot of time because you won't be able to stop looking at them. They are really very close and I was talled that it was the best place to watch them in Shetland.If you have not a lot of time...

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  • Most southerly point

    Sumburgh Head, the most southerly point of Shetland has stunning views of water and cliff faces and is only a few minutes from Sumburgh Airport. It is well worth a visit and is just past the Jarlshoff stone age tourist attraction

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  • Prehistoric Ruins Revealed

    Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse settlement is a fascinating place. You can see Bronze Age round houses, an Iron Age broch, wheelhouses, Viking houses, a medieval farm and a 16th century house all in the one place. It's an awesome experience to see all these things. The visitor's centre shows the development of the site over time. You can do a self...

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  • Play 'chicken' with an aeroplane

    One of the most astounding things about Shetland is the fact that Sumburgh Airport shares its runway with cars! The main road in Shetland actually crosses the runway at the point where the planes take off/land. There are gates to stop people from driving across the path of the aircraft though, so there's no need to look to the skies as you drive...

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  • Lerwick

    Visiting Lerwick - the new capital, is a must. Visit the harbour and watch the seals playing about, the sailing boats in the harbour, the castle and the viking broch. Lerwick is a small place (very small) offering an unforgettable experience.

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  • Walking

    Information offices offer leaflets for things to visit while in shetland. They prooved to be very useful. Sheltand isles boast of some very nice scenery and secluded beaches where one can relax and enjoy the surroundings. However make sure that you close all gates!!!!

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  • Shetland Tours

    A great way to see Shetland is with Sarah McBurnie's SEESHETLAND TOURS. Check out the Web Page at: www.seeshetland.shetland.co.uk (have your speakers on)

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  • Peat Cutting in Shetland

    Some people in Shetland still heat their homes with peat. There are vast peat cutting areas where families have individual plots and cut peat using traditional methods. The photos here show peat stacked outside the Shetlands Crofthouse Museum plus several that show the peat cutting areas as well as the initial drying of peat bricks and their...

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  • Visit abandoned churches and graveyards

    There are abandoned settlements throughout Shetland. Many of these are due to the Clearances that also had a major impact on Orkney and the Highlands. They are dotted across the landscape. Many people have moved into newer homes and have left the old croft houses to fall into disrepair.

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  • Go Bird Watching

    The birding is out-of-this-world in Shetland. There are large breeding colonies of sea birds that can be seen from land and are especially visible from sea. Great Skuas, Arctic Terns, Shags, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Puffins, Eider Ducks, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Swans and many more abound around the islands. One of the photos here shows a land...

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  • Hike to Fethaland

    This is a beautiful walk that goes to an abandoned fishing village and a lighthouse. You need to cross private property to get to it and should make sure that all gates are closed behind you and that your follow the code of being responsible, taking care of the environement and respecting the interests of the landowner whose land you are crossing....

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  • Visit Eshaness

    This is a beautiful, windy area where there is a lighthouse and a wonderful view of the cliffs. There is a lava flow here and a blowhole where water flies up through a break in the rock. It is a great location for walks.

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  • Visit the Stevenson Lighthouses

    The ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson are famous for the lighthouses they designed and built around Scotland. This one is of the Muckle Flugga lighthouse which is Britain's most northerly lighthouse. The building of some of these lighthouses is a true engineering feat.There is a wonderful book on the lighthouses named "The Lighthouse Stevensons"...

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  • Watch the Ponies!

    The Shetland Pony is everywhere on the Islands. They are darling, come in a variety of colors and are all very short and pudgy. They were "conscripted" into work inside the mines because their short legs and hardy nature made it easy for them to get around and haul heavy loads. Apparently the introduction of the ponies into mining began at the same...

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  • Visit the Shetland Crofthouse Museum

    This is a wonderful small museum that shows how people lived in traditional croft houses. You can visit the living quarters, the sleeping quarters, the byre and the drying kiln. Also interesting is a large stack of peat blocks, thatched roof with rock anchors, an old boat (no longer sea-worthy) that has been turned upside down to form the roof of a...

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  • St Ninian's Isle Double Beach

    Here's something you don't see every day...a double beach. This picture was taken while standing on the mainland. In the distance is St Ninian's Isle. A narrow beach connects the island to the mainland.

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  • Mousa Broch

    The island of Mousa lies just of the coast of Mainland, a few miles south of Lerwick.It is home to the best preserved Broch anywhere in the world, and at over 13m tall it's quite a sight.Broch's were built partly as status symbols, and partly for defensive purposes, and used to be found all over Northern Scotland and the Northern Isles.The island...

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  • Clickimin Broch

    Not quite as well preserved as Mousa Broch, but well worth a visit is Clickimin Broch, just outside Lerwick.

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  • Shetland Ponies

    As you'd expect, there are many Shetland Ponies on the islands, slightly smaller than your average pony.

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  • Jarlshof

    The archaelogical site Jarlshof, South Mainland, has building dating from the stone age right up to the 16th century.It's quite an impressive site. You can get an audio guide which explains the history of each of the buidlings through a personal stereo - included in the entrance fee (of around £3 I think)

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Shetland Hotels

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Shetland Things to Do

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