It may be Britain’s most northerly town, but you’d never know it – Lerwick has just as much to offer as its mainland cousins. The bustling capital of Shetland has a great line-up of shops, top restaurants and rustic pubs. Iron Age attractions team up with modern architecture to create a cosmopolitan vibe, so you’ll find a different view around every corner.
• Walk out to Clickimin Broch and explore the ancient grey-stone buildings. Built in the Bronze Age, the area was completely excavated in the 1950s, so you can see the original structure today.
• Discover 5,000 years’ worth of history at the Shetland Museum. You can learn about the culture and people of this part of the world, from the local mythology to the vital fishing industry.
• Step back in time at Fort Charlotte. Built in the 1700s, this five-sided defence system has been restored to its original glory, and comes with stunning views over Bressay Sound.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
Scenery of Western Shetland►
This morning tour will drive you around the best of west Shetland, with its show-stealing backdrop of heather-clad hills and mirror-like lochs. Even the farmland vistas are pretty – low stone walls zigzag the land, while Shetland sheep dot the hills. Traditional harbour towns are scattered along the coast, too, including Scalloway, the original capital of the Shetlands. Here, the tour will pause at skeletal Scalloway Castle, which dominates the waterfront. Although built by the tyrannical Earl Patrick Stewart in 1600, it looks Medieval thanks to its collection of towering turrets. There’ll also be a stop at Shetland Jewellery, where you can pick up locally-crafted Celtic rings, rowan tree necklaces, and Viking ship cufflinks. Just keep your camera at hand – the surrounding countryside is part of Weisdale Voe, a long stretch of water that’s filled with isles, wading birds, and even the occasional dolphin.
Jarlshof & Scenic Mainland Drive►
Start off your day with a guided tour that explores historical Jarlshof. Back in the 19th century, a storm destroyed nearby cliffs, revealing remains from almost every era in human history. Visitors will see a Bronze Age village, an Iron Age round tower, and a medieval farm, as well as a 16th-century laird’s house. Then it’s a short drive to Hoswick and its visitor centre that houses displays showcasing the Shetlands’ history, architecture, and textile industry. Keep your eyes peeled on the drive down – Hoswick Bay is well-loved by sunbathing seals and wheeling Arctic terns. And the hour-long drive back to Lerwick’s just as pretty, with views of moorland, sculptured cliffs, and sandy bays.
North Shetland Panorama►
The star of this half-day tour is Shetland’s rugged north-west coast. We’ll take you on a driving tour north to Eshaness Cliffs, a stretch of coastline that offers some of the best views on the island. Here you may be very lucky enough to spot an eagle or peregrines on the 300 million year old cliffs, which over time have been shaped by the crashing ocean. You’ll get a photo stop here, too, so there’ll be plenty of time to take in the panorama. Even the drive to and from Eshaness is spectacular – you’ll see the red granite bluffs of Magnus Bay, the loch-side village of Voe, and Mavis Grind, a strip of land where the North Sea and Atlantic almost touch. But a Shetland tour wouldn’t be complete without seeing a ruin, so there’s also a chance to see turreted Scalloway Castle. It dominates Scalloway’s seafront, a harbour town surrounded by heather-covered hills. - its picture worthy stuff.