Shetland – a relaxing and invigorating break out of the ordinary

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Shetland – a relaxing and invigorating break out of the ordinary

When you need travel advice, who better to ask than someone who knows the place inside out? Southampton Airport's Digital Marketing Executive, Holly Harvey, grew up on Shetland and went home for a short visit in the summer. These are some of her tried and tested 'must-sees'.

Shetland – a little history

Situated at the top of Scotland, Shetland is the most northerly of the British Isles and is actually closer to Norway than mainland Scotland. Shetland has a strong Norse history and has only been part of Scotland since the 15th century when Danish Princess Margaret married James III of Scotland, and both Orkney and Shetland were mortgaged to Scotland as part of her dowry. Shetland’s Norse links can still be felt throughout the Islands today.

We began our journey early in the morning and set off from Southampton on our way to Edinburgh. We were in Edinburgh just long enough to get some breakfast before boarding our flight to Sumburgh. The flight into Sumburgh is spectacular in itself with first the pretty (as the name suggests) Island of Fair Isle, famous for Fair Isle knitting, coming into view and then the cliffs and beaches of Shetland with a great view of the seabird cliffs and lighthouse at Sumburgh Head.

Top things to do

Shetland is a perfect getaway for nature enthusiasts, those with in an interest in archaeology or people who just want to enjoy walking in the fantastic scenery or soak up the culture. My top three things to do are…

  • Wildlife watching in Shetland

Shetland has an abundance of wildlife including seals, otters and even killer whales. I really enjoy going to look at the seabirds. In the early summer, the cliffs at Sumburgh Head are like a city of seabirds with many coming and going and the sound of seabirds surrounding you. You can see many species including Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars and my two favourites Gannets and Puffins (or Tammie Nories as they are called in Shetland) as well as some dare devil rabbits running up and down the cliffs!

The island of Noss which is a national Nature Reserve is another great place to see the seabirds. You can also get up really close to the Puffins and there is a fantastic walk around the coast of the island. Top tip… If you are interested in seeing Puffins in Shetland you should visit between April and Late July.

Puffin on Shetland

Getting up close to puffins on Shetland

  • Walking in Shetland

The scenery in Shetland is spectacular making it a great place for walking. There is a mix of coastal walks and an array of beautiful beaches, often where you are the only person on the beach! If you’re interested in Geology, Shetland is a global Geopark with more than 100 sites of interest.

One of my favourite places to go walking is Eshaness, located in the North Mainland of Shetland. The scenery around here is fantastic with striking cliffs, stacks, coves and natural arches.

  • Shetland Archaeology

Shetland is home to some of the finest archaeological sites in Europe. Two of my favourite are located in the South Mainland. Mousa Broch  is one of the best preserved Iron Age Brochs in the world. It is located on the Island of Mousa, a short boat trip from the mainland. It is another good spot for walking and a good place to see seals.

Old Scatness is an Iron Age Broch and village, also located in the South Mainland. The excavation to the site began in the mid 90’s so I have watched it been uncovered over the years. Visitors are welcome – you can have a guided tour of the various buildings, visit replica buildings and watch the Living History team recreate what life was like in the Iron Age.

Find out more

Visit Shetland  and Shetland Amenity Trust are both good places to look for more information more about holidays to Shetland

Getting to Shetland from Southampton is easy

When flying from Southampton to Shetland (Sumburgh) you can connect through Edinburgh or Glasgow. All flights are operated by Flybe so you can book your entire journey through the Flybe website with no need to re-check in when in Scotland.

Let us know your thoughts and your own top tips…

Have you visited Shetland or do you havea visit planned? Let us know your own suggestions for great places to see and things to do.