The windswept Shetland Islands lie far out in the North Sea between Scotland and Norway. This group of around 100 islands are scattered out over 95 miles from Fair Isle in the South to Unst in the North, and are 600 miles away from London.
This is a landscape of wide open spaces, panoramic views over sea and rugged islands, and peace and tranquillity. The coast varies from quiet sandy bays to awe-inspiring cliffs and rocks, and many visitors come for the incredible wildlife which abounds here. This includes porpoise, seals, and noisy colonies of seabirds including fulmar, guillemot, puffins and great skua - and not forgetting the sheep and Shetland ponies.
The Mainland is the largest landmass, with a diverse and complex coastline. The busy port of Lerwick is the capital of Shetland, and located in the south east, and islands such as Bressay and Whalsay are close by. To the east are the Out Skerries, and to the north are the islands of Fetlar, Yell and Unst, along with many smaller neighbours. Fair Isle is found in an isolated position between Shetland and the Orkney Islands, and has an remarkably strong culture for such a small and remote island.
Inhabited since Neolithic times, there is a rich past to explore in the many archaeological sites which dot the landscape. Some of the best are on the Mainland, including the amazing settlement of Jarlshof, and the Iron Age broch tower at Mousa, a small island just offshore.
Occupied by the Vikings for 500 years, the Norse influence has shaped island life, and this is remembered today such in as in the world famous Up-Helly-Aa fire festivals which culminate in the dramatic burning of a Viking longship. The most impressive of these takes place in Lerwick and attracts large crowds.
With a wonderful landscapes, culture and heritage to explore, the Shetland islands are well worth the journey and now easily accessible by plane from airports such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow - or on the overnight ferry from Aberdeen, allowing you to wake up for breakfast in a unique new world.