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Shetland Attractions

Shetland might once have been known as Ultima Thule – the end of the world, but for visitors to Shetland it's the beginning of an amazing journey, to a fascinating group of islands. Fantastic walks, breathtaking scenery, golden sands, wildlife to astound, archaeological sites - dating back over 4000 years, mouthwatering local produce, traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, and a thriving music scene. Even the most world-weary traveller can't fail to be impressed with Shetland's varied and outstanding attractions.

Indeed, renowned naturalist and television presenter, Simon King waxed lyrical about Shetland in his 3-part programme, 'Shetland Diaries'. He was so taken with the islands, and all they have to offer, he continues to return here time after time. This passion for Shetland is true for so many of our visitors who return to Blydest year after year. With over 100 islands, 15 of which are inhabited - Shetland offers something for everyone. The following information is by no means exhaustive of the many attractions on offer. We shall help you with any queries you may have, and if we haven't got the answer, we are sure to know someone who has!

Lerwick

Lerwick is Shetland's capital - a cosmopolitan and lively town, just as it was in the 17th century, when the Dutch herring fleet was a thriving industry. With its charming lanes and busy port; Lerwick is a fascinating town to stroll around and a superb central location from which to explore the rest of Shetland. Hop on a boat to to the island of Noss and wonder at the dramatic cliffs; teeming with with thousands of sea birds. Visit the outstanding Shetland Museum and Archives, set in a restored 19th century dock and gateway to Shetland's heritage hub. Visit Bod of Gremista, built 1780, birthplace of P&O co-founder, Arthur Anderson and a temporary home to the Textile Museum. Learn more about Shetland's rich craft history and wool industry, with a guided tour of Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers. Take a walk to Clickimin Broch, followed by a fine meal and an evening of traditional music. Relax into island life and set your watch to Shetland time!

West & Central Mainland

To the west of Lerwick, you will find Scalloway castle. built as a symbol of Earl Patrick Stewart's power and prestige. Travel to Weisdale Mill and treat yourself to a delicious home bake in the south-facing conservatory, or enjoy the latest exhibition at Bonhoga Gallery. Meander along single track lanes past wild flowers and glittering voes to Sandness and Jamieson's Mill - the only spinning mill in Shetland. Take a walk around this fascinating place, and watch the process of making pure fleeces into the finest quality yarns and knitwear. Choose from a selection of 100% pure Shetland wool products in their shop and find the ideal present for you, or the folks back home. Nearby, a picturesque ramble, across fields of Sea Pinks, will bring you to to the watermills at Huxter, or perhaps, if you have time, take a walk to the unexplained 'temple' at Staneydale - the largest Iron Age structure in Shetland.

South Mainland

Old Scatness and Jarlshof are two of Shetland's most important archaelogical sites. Visit Old Scatness and the living history team will recreate daily life, 2000 years ago. A thrilling and authentic experience for all ages. Jarlshof, dating back almost 4000 years, provides a superb audio tour. After so much information gathering you may want to take some time out. Shetland has over 138 beaches, one of which has been voted Scotland'a finest – at St Ninian's Isle. Take a stroll along the white shell sand tombolo, dip your toes in azure waters and make your way to the isle, where a Pictish treasure trove was discovered, in 1958, by a young boy. Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, built by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of author, Robert Louis Stevenson, is a wonderful place to watch the Puffins go about their business – great fun! Mousa, an island and RSPB reserve, showcases one of the best preserved Brochs in the world. A short ferry trip will transport you to the Iron Age fortification, built over 2000 years ago. Look out for Grey and Common seals, Harbour porpoise, Black guillemots, Arctic terns, and if you visit by night - Storm-petrels. Learn more of Shetland traditions and times past at the Crofthouse Museum in Boddam. Pull up a chair in front of the smouldering peat fire and listen to the custodian regale you with stories of a crofter's life in the mid-nineteenth century.

North Mainland

Cross Mavis Grind - an isthmus connecting Northmavine to the mainland. Northmavine is a dramatic, wild and breathtaking region. Climb Ronas Hill - the highest hill in Shetland. Wonder at Eshaness - an area of outstanding beauty with a rich geological past. Watch as waves cut through dramatic volcanic rock. Be amazed by spectacular sunsets and the acrobatic flight of sea birds – a photographer's paradise. Visit Tangwick Haa to learn about the history of the area, or perhaps go otter spotting on the Hillswick circular walk, described as one of the most spectacular walks in Shetland. Finally, you may want a cup of tea and to rest a while! Stop off at Braewick cafe, take a seat by the window, and meditate on the magnificent granite sea stacks – known as the Drongs - rising magnificently out of a swirling ocean.

Island Hopping

Shetland has 15 inhabited islands and most are reached by regular ferry services and/or by plane. The islands make for wonderful day trips, Travel to Fair Isle, a National Trust property, renowned for its knitwear, stunning new bird observatory - once home to Ann Cleeves, the famous crime novelist. To reach Yell, an island to the north, take the 20-minute ferry across Yell Sound, this trip may, if you're lucky, afford views of Killer Whales and Porpoises. Jump ship and visit the Old Haa Museum – dating from 1637 and displaying the history and folklore of the island. Make sure you keep those binoculars handy – Yell is known as otter capital! From Yell, a short ferry ride will bring you to the most northerly inhabited island in Britain – Unst. Visit Muness Castle. built by the reviled Lawrence Bruce. View traditional Shetland boats at the Unst Boat Haven. Walk Hermaness or Keen of Hamar - two of Shetland's National Nature Reserves. From Yell you can also travel to Fetlar, known as 'the Garden of Shetland' and home to the Red-necked Phalarope - one of Britains' rarest birds.

See Visit Shetland for further holiday suggestions – there are many!

Shetland Scenes

Shetland Wildlife

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