IN the most northerly corner of the British Isles lies Shetland. The bustling main port town of Lerwick welcomes sailors and tourists as they disembark from their boats.
Lerwick’s old masonry style buildings are home to local crafters selling Shetland-made jewellery and the world famous Fair Isle jumpers that are a staple in any Shetlander’s wardrobe.
Jamieson’s of Shetland is the shop to go to if you’re looking for unique, colourful knitwear alongside cardigans boasting more traditional patterns.
The town of Lerwick has a plethora of places to stay, including Eddlewood Guest House. This is a quaint and rustic hotel situated in one of the prime spots in the town. A mere two-minute walk away from Lerwick town hall (and five minutes from all the busy shops) the friendly staff and central location make Eddlewood Guest House a great place to stay during a visit.
The scenery of nearby town Scalloway is beautiful, with mountains and quarries as the backdrop to the calm sea. The town has its own port, filled with fishing cages for catching mussels and lobsters, alongside a variety of boats to the ruins of Scalloway castle. The castle lies beside the local museum filled with information on how the town came to exist and the tale of the King who built and lived in the now part-destroyed structure.
Scalloway’s De Haaf restaurant, inside the NAFC Marine Centre, is also a must! Thanks to its prime location, the seafood in Shetland can’t be beaten – with fresh scallops and salmon served daily.
Other fine dining establishments around Shetland include Lerwick’s Fjara and Da Steakhoose – for those looking to get their teeth stuck into prime steak!
On my journey to this tranquil place, the Northern Lights (or “merrie dancers” to locals) lit up the night sky in Nesting. The glowing greens and midnight blues amongst the many stars shone in the sky, with not a single street light for miles. The full show of purple, blue, pink and green hues will illuminate the sky in winter months, creating an even more magical atmosphere on the island.
Among the many distinctive sights and sounds in Shetland, the most noticeable has to be the Nordic influences, from the local dialect and the style of houses to the historic landscape from the time of the Vikings.
If you want to learn more about the region’s Viking settlers, don’t miss the Up Helly Aa exhibition where local members of the Jarl Squad work to build an old Viking galley, torches and authentic costumes throughout the year – ready to burn at the annual fire festival of Up Helly Aa in the last Tuesday of January.
A lot can be packed into a week-long visit to Shetland. From walks and wonderful history to wildlife discoveries at Sumburgh Lighthouse, this island will keep you entertained.
For more information on what to pack into your Shetland trip visit www.shetland.org
With rooms starting from £80 per night, book your trip with Eddlewood Guest House here: www.eddlewood.wordpress.com
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