Shetland

With around 1500 km of unspoilt coastline, and unrestricted access for walkers, Shetland has much to offer the visitor, from a quiet stroll across an empty pristine sandy beach, exploring rockpools, spotting seals and finding exciting things from the sea, to more active walking along the spectacular coastal edge, with wild flowers in profusion in the summer months.

You can find more information on things to do in Shetland here.

Traditional crofting methods have enabled a range of habitats to be sustained, these are very diverse botanically and particularly valuable for wildlife.  Throughout the summer wild flowers are abundant and breeding birds teem in the heather hills.  Around the coast you’ll be able to see seals, seabirds and occasionally if you are lucky whales are possible.  Orca's are increasingly seen around Shetland, even in Lerwick harbour.  You can see puffins from April until early August.

Throughout Shetland there are many sandy beaches, extensive cliff scenery and rolling moorland.  Although the sea might be cold you’ll be able to find beaches where you are the only people.  There is archaeology everywhere, from Iron age houses and brochs, including Mousa Broch, the most complete example, and Viking houses.  You’ll see the remains of old crofting settlements with houses, watermills and boat noosts where narrow wooden fishing boats were hauled up, and enclosures defining the fertile cultivated land from the wilder hill land used for grazing.

Don't be put off visiting Shetland out of season, you’ll have fewer daylight hours but a chance to see the Northern Lights if you are very lucky.  Winter brings it’s own charms, with spectacular stormy scenery and wild walking.  Many community events happen in the winter, especially the fire festival of Up Helly Aa held in Lerwick on the last tuesday of January.  Other communities also hold their own, smaller, fire festivals from January until March.  You’ll also have cozy cafes and restaurants and the speciality shops in Lerwick to visit.