Why the Shetland Islands?

The unique blend of Scandinavian and Scottish culture runs deep into the Shetland Islands with over 100 stunning islands which lie around 100 miles north of the Scottish mainland. Uncover ancient history combined with diverse landscapes, incredible geology, fascinating wildlife, world-renowned archaeology and many fantastic events and festivals.

History and Heritage

From the early farmers who worked the land through the mysterious broch builders, the Picts and Vikings to the castles of the early Scottish Earls and on to the oil industry of the present day these small islands have a diverse history and these historic sites give us an insight into the lives of previous populations. The influence of the sea, the relative poorness of much of the agricultural land and the need to leave the islands to find work have all played their part in shaping the cultural heritage of the islands. Visiting merchants and fishermen have given the islands a cosmopolitan view of the world re-enforced by sailors returning from voyages to all the corners of the earth.

Activities and Attractions

With a range of attractions you can brush up on your history and learn how the past has come to shape the Shetland Islands, with a host of local ferrymen you can spend the day Island hopping enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery. No better place to start learning about the history of Shetland than the Museum in Lerwick. The museum houses historic films and archives giving you the chance to learn about the history of the Shetland Islands along with local exhibitions. It’s difficult to know where to start for historic sites to visit with such a wide range of attractions scattered across the Shetland Islands. Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement is located on the southern tip of Mainland Shetland and is an extraordinary site of ancient settlements which cover more than 4,000 years of history. If you’re looking for views then Sumburgh Head Lighthouse perched on top of the Sumburgh Head cliffs is the oldest and most well known lighthouse in Shetland giving stunning views across the sea. If the weather turns and you don’t fancy a damp trip outdoors head to Yell Leisure Centre for a range of activities from swimming to football and basketball is the perfect location for a rainy day out in the Shetland Islands. With a host of other attractions and a range of walking and cycling trails there is plenty of opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside in the Shetland Islands.

Food and Drink

Shetland is bursting with delicious natural flavours sourced from land and sea, which is never far away on the Shetland Islands. From an impressive range of seafood including smoked salmon and lobster to succulent beef, lamb and mutton, the islands' menus are packed full of mouth-watering local delicacies for you to ample. Discover the unique taste of Shetland in waterfront restaurants, or take a break from exploring the islands to indulge in home baking in cafes and tearooms. You can also find many cosy traditional pubs where you can enjoy great food and beers, wines and spirits, not forgetting Shetland-produced ales from the Valhalla Brewery. Foodie lovers will be spoilt for choice with so many distinct flavours on offer, so come and experience great food and drink and the true taste of Shetland.


(Photo: ©VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint)  

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