Taking a campervan trip to the Shetland Isles couldn’t be easier with regular ferries from Aberdeen on the mainland to Lerwick.
The shetland isles is an archipelago made up of more than 100 islands, 15 of which are inhabited, the Shetland Isles are packed with amazing history, scenic landscape and lots of exciting activities – you’ll find plenty of great things to see and do.
Ruggedly handsome and wonderfully secluded, the Shetland Islands boast a landscape quite unlike anywhere else in the world. Think miles of breathtaking coastline fringed by pristine beaches and crystal-clear, vivid blue shores. Not to mention the glistening sea lochs, heather-clad moorlands, monumental rock formations and towering clifftops sculpted by millennia of wind, sea and sand.
Scotland meets Scandinavia
The same goes for Shetlander’s unique cultural heritage. The Old Norse language crops up everywhere, from practically every place name to the local dialect spoken with a distinctive Scandinavian lilt, while fantastically preserved archaeological sites and the spectacular Up Helly Aa festival are vivid reminders of the islands’ Viking past.
Over 6,000 years of history
It’s not just the Vikings who left their mark on Shetland. Traces of ancient peoples stretching as far back as the islands’ earliest Neolithic settlers are laid bare at astoundingly well-preserved archaeological sites and ruins. From Iron Age brochs to mysterious standing stones, from Pictish wheelhouses to traditional crofthouses, we invite you to delve into the lives of Shetland’s inhabitants through the ages.
5 things to see and do in Shetland
Step back in time to the dawn of civilisation at ancient ruins, admire beautiful handcrafted Viking-style longships and enjoy some of the most spectacular wildlife sights in Europe. Just a few things that make Shetland well worth the visit.
Shetland Museum And Archives, Lerwick
Set on the waterfront within a restored 19th century dock in Lerwick, this fascinating museum tells the story of Shetland’s heritage and culture.
The Shetland Museum and Archives chart the development of the archipelago from its earliest geological origins to the present day. Its galleries contain everything from delicate Shetland lace to Pictish art and even the first telephone introduced in the islands in 1883. Visit the renovated Boat Shed to watch vessels being constructed by hand using techniques handed down through generations, and admire completed examples suspended from the ceiling in the three-storey Boat Hall. The museum’s Archive Collections offers wealth of material related to all aspects of Shetland life including books, magazines, Ordnance Survey maps, court records and newspapers. The Heritage Hub provides assistance to visitor interested in further exploring any aspect of Shetland’s culture and past. Other facilities include a café restaurant, an auditorium, study rooms, a temporary exhibition space and shop.
The Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse settlements in Shetland are one of the most important and inspirational archaeological sites in Scotland.
Jarlsholf is located at Sumburgh Head near the southern tip of Mainland Shetland. This extraordinary site has a complex of ancient settlements which cover more than 4,000 years of human history. You will be amazed to find such a range of archaeological treasures in one place, including late Neolithic houses, a Bronze Age village, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, a Norse longhouse, a medieval farmstead and a 16th century laird’s house.
The fascinating interpretation centre houses a hands-on display of local materials traditionally used on site including wool, stone, slate and bone. Visitors can also learn all about prehistoric life and the history of the site.
Almost all of the site is accessible with a little care and patience. The gates need to be lifted off by the steward. There are cobbled paths on the site but the grass verges can be used in dry weather. The path to the broch and wheelhouse area is too narrow for wheelchairs but access is possible for more mobile visitors. Seating is available within the grounds.
Sumburgh Head is located at the southern tip of mainland Shetland with the majestic 100 metre cliffs offering a fantastic, unobstructed view of the seabird colonies and marine life surrounding it.
Visit these cliffs during the summer and you’ll be privileged to witness the amazing spectacle of thousands of breeding seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, shags and fulmars. Sumburgh Head is a great place to watch for whales and dolphins, particularly minke whales and orcas.
The Boat Haven’s unique collection of wooden boats is effectively displayed on a shingle beach . The historical mural depicting the old ‘sixereen’ days adds to the atmosphere. Artefacts linked to fishing and sailing add interest.
The Boat Haven, preserves Shetland’s rich maritime history.
The small wooden boats fished for cod and ling. Boats like the sixereen ‘FAR HAAF’ were capable of fishing thirty miles off shore., while sturdy fourereens fished nearer the coast.
The wooden boats all have one thing in common. They are all built in the Scandinavian style of construction.
A feast for the senses, the sounds and sights of Hermaness are full of drama. The white tops of the waves complement the white staining on the cliffs where sea birds nest every year. Gannets glide past, searching the waves relentlessly, and then diving into the water at breakneck speeds. Puffins waddle from their clifftop burrows in early summer and, away from the bustle of the cliffs, great skuas and red throated divers nest in the open moorland.
Overlooking Muckle Flugga, Britain’s most northerly point, Hermaness National Nature Reserve provides a haven for thousands of seabirds. Managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, this remote island reserve offers a dramatic cliff-top setting in which to view an incredible array of birdlife. Located about an hour’s walk through grassy moorland from the visitor centre, the cliffs at the old lighthouse shore station are home to numerous nesting seabirds including fulmars, gulls, shags, gannets, puffins and kittiwakes. During the summer months, the moorland becomes a carpet of blue, as spring squill comes into bloom before turning a deep pink with the arrival of flowering sea pinks. Heather, crowberry, bog bilberry, mosses and other vegetation can be seen growing at this time of year along with great skuas, or ‘bronxies’ as they are locally known, soaring overhead. Although most of the seabirds depart by autumn, gannets can still be seen and grey seals are often sighted reclining on the rocky shore.
Counting sheep Campers have wide a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and are conveniently located at the gateway to Scotland. Just a short drive from Edinburgh or Newcastle. If you wish to leave your car with us, no problem we offer free on site secure parking. We also offer an Airport or Train Meet & Greet service, if you wish to travel to us by public transport. It is a great location to start your holiday.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.