Shetland is a vibrant and interesting place to visit at any time of year. A taster of what there is today is detailed on this page. Shetland is a great place for an active family holiday. The 15 inhabited islands boast over 500 miles of well-maintained roads, inter-island ferries and bridges making them really easy to explore. There is always something interesting going on so you will never run out of things to do. Keep an eye on our blog for updates.
Shetland has a fascinating and unique natural environment waiting to be explored, a walker's paradise. Shetland offers some of the finest walking in Europe. The combination of spectacular coastal scenery on both North Sea and Atlantic facing cliffs, quiet inland lochs, and gentler heathery hills is unsurpassed. If cycling is your thing, there are hundreds of miles of smooth road to enjoy. The size of Shetland makes a cycle holiday a realistic option but be prepared to be delayed by conversations with friendly locals and stop to take in the breathtaking scenery. Bicycle hire is available locally or bring your own.
Shetland has a fascinating and unique natural environment. The location of the islands has contributed to the evolution of a truly 'Shetlandic' collection of scenery, geology, bird life, sea mammals, wild flowers, wonderful beaches and true Shetland breeds. Ever since bird watching became a popular British leisure pursuit in the late 19th century, Shetland’s been famous, among those in the know, as the place to enjoy sensational seabird colonies and amazing rarities. Shetland is a brilliant place to watch sea mammals all year round. The species you’re most likely to see are the Common Seal, Grey Seal, Otter and Harbour Porpoise. You really can hear seals ‘singing’ on the beach below Brekka Lodge. Recently Orcas or Killer Whales have regularly been sighted around our shores.
Whether you’re after some mackerel, ling or haddock for a superbly fresh meal, or want to take on a bigger challenge of halibut or porbeagle shark, Shetland waters are among the most promising you’ll find anywhere.
The islands’ legendary sea trout are another attraction for the angler, while the wild brown trout in the freshwater lochs are one of angling’s best-kept secrets. Thanks to more than 80 years of careful management by the Shetland Anglers’ Association, superb fish are to be found in more than 300 lochs scattered all around the islands, ready to be tempted by a fly or spinner.
Shetland’s extensive and accessible coastline offers a paradise for sea kayakers. There are hundreds of miles of cliffs and deserted beaches, countless sea caves including some of Europe’s finest, awesome cliff scenery, stacks, arches and sheltered inlets. Remote and uninhabited islands, with their large colonies of seals and seabirds, are just waiting to be explore, many of them readily accessible from the sea. There are also opportunities to look for whales and the elusive otters.
Furthermore, exceptional underwater visibility makes it perfect scuba-diving country(as shown in picture opposite, taken by Cy Sullivan). Some of the most spectacular views in the island are below the waves – submerged cliffs, stacks and caves of long-drowned shorelines. In addition to the profusion of wrecks, the submarine scenery and wildlife are major attractions for sport divers and underwater photographers. Home to one of the richest marine environments around the British Isles.
In Shetland, as elsewhere, people are more and more inclined to seek out local food. There’s an abundance of it, with really fresh fish and shellfish, excellent lamb and beef, seasonal vegetables and fantastic bakery produce. The local dairy produce is also fantastic and includes milk, cream and cheese. There is a rich food heritage too so don't go home without trying some of the traditional treats, such as reestit mutton, salt beef and bannocks. Shetland also produces beer and gin. There are two small, family-run breweries, one in Lerwick and one in Unst . Shetland Reel gin is made in distillery on Unst. We are happy to recommend places to eat and source our wonderful food when you visit the Islands.
There are also a large number 'Sunday teas' held throughout the summer in the large network of community hall. Get a taste of traditional baking treats while enjoying meeting the friendly locals over a cuppa.
There are numerous annual festivals and events in Shetland, with something to satisfy almost every taste. Whether it be the world famous annually Up Helly Aa fire festivals between January and March or events centred around food, textiles, maritime heritage, culture or nature. These, mostly community arranged events, include craft fairs, food fairs, screenplay, wordplay, wool week, UnstFest, classic motor shows, nature festivals, Shetland boat week, regattas, agriculture shows (the Cunningsburgh show is only 1 mile from Brekka Lodge) and yoal rowing races, There are also numerous musical events attracting musicians from around the world or showcasing Shetland's own amazing talent. These include the Shetland Guitar Festival, JAWS Festival, Fiddle Frenzy, Blues Festival, Accordion & Fiddle Festival and the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival.
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