Tourist Information in Shetland Islands
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Shetland Islands Tourist Information

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The Shetlands Isles are in the northern most reaches of the boundaries of the UK, about 100 miles from Scotland and 80 miles from Orkney. It's a little cooler than mainland Scotland, but this is more than made up for in its expansive landscapes and grand vistas of untamed skies, glens and lochs.

A wonder for the naturalist and artist these islands beckon. Otters, Shetland ponies, abundant birdlife, seals and even whales, the Minke being the most common. Orcas too can be seen cruising its waters.

Being so far north the summers are very light and through mid-summer the darkness never seems to appear. It's a place good for those who want to explore and pit themselves against the elements - the winds are never very far away and can give you a good tan.

There are a great many things for you to see and discover by getting to know its people and traditions...
....listen to folk music, sample their amazing woolcraft with the famous Shetland and Fair Isle patterns, listen to stories and experience the fire of the Up Helly Aa Festival.

In all about 15 of the islands have a population on them. The Mainland has its main towns of Lerwick and Scalloway. Lerwick has a wider variety of pretty shops, galleries, museums, craft and gift shops and a harbour and port area. The waterfront, known as the Lodberrie has former warehouses dating back to the 17th and 18th Centuries, all the buildings have direct access to the sea. Scalloway, the historic capital, has a large 16th century castle rising above its low painted buildings and fishing harbour.

Shetland Animation

As mentioned earlier, a spectacular local sight to see is the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival which is held once a year at 11 different places in Shetland. Partying goes well into the night which starts after the Viking galley has burned. You do need to be holidaying in the winter months of January through to March to enjoy this tradition, the Fire Festival lights up those long drawn out winter days.

The Shetland Isles offer magnificent scenery and there is much to suggest its Viking days, many have important bird reserves. The beaches are wild and desolate and the sea quite blue giving it feeling of being somewhere nearer the equator.

The islands are made up of the Mainland, which is the largest, Burra, Trondra, Yell, Unst - right to the north of the group, Fetlar, Whalsay, Out Skerries, Bressay, Papa Stour, and not forgetting Foula and Fair Isle, the most isolated.

The photograph opposite shows the North Light, beyond which are the Stacks of Skroo, and nearer the coast the gash in the moorland of the Kirn of Skroo which leads to the sea by two underground tunnels.


Fair Isle North Lighthouse, taken at midnight on midsummer's day. Dave Wheeler
Folk dancing with one of the local societies. Colin Smith
Lerwick's old waterfront : The Lodberrie. DJB
The burning galley of the Up Helly Aa festival. Anne Burgess
Photo and edit courtesy of Dr. Julian Paren

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Tourist Information Centres

Market Cross, Lerwick, Shetland, Highlands and Islands, Scotland, ZE1 0LU
Tel: 01595 693434   Fax: 01595 695 807

Wilsness Terminal, Sumburgh, Shetland, Highlands and Islands, Scotland, ZE3 9JP
Tel: 01595 693 434   Fax: 01950 460 807


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