10 things to do in The Shetland Islands

love it!’s ANNA BIBBY visited the wild, beautiful, breathtaking Shetland Islands, situated about as far north as you can go while still being in Britain. Here are her top 10 things to see and do…

1. HERMANESS The beautiful Hermaness headlands offer wild flowers with puffins and gannets perched on cliffs. You can also see Scotland’s most northerly point, Out Stack, and the lighthouse of Muckle Flugga.

2. HAY’S DOCK Hay’s Dock is situated upstairs at the Shetland Museum. This quaint little café serves the finest local dishes, using only Scottish ingredients. The décor has a sleek Scandinavian feel to it, but is still very cosy.

3. SHETLAND MUSEUM It boasts an impressive set of artefacts dating back almost 5,000 years, and interactive exhibitions that explore local natural and social history.

4. UP HELLY AA The ‘Up Helly Aa’ festival takes place in January in Lerwick. The festival is a Shetland tradition that has been going since 1880 and sees locals dress up in Viking clothing and march through the streets of Lerwick in a torch-lit procession.

5. SKIDBLADNER LONGSHIP The Skidbladner Longship is a replica Viking longship which is located in Unst, a well-known Viking settlement. The large oak structure is a replica of the Gokstad ship which was found in Norway in 1880. Visitors can step back in time and feel what it was like to be aboard a Viking longship. There are also a number of events aboard the ship in the summer months.

6.MUNESS CASTLE This beautiful 16th century tower house was built by Laurence Bruce and is the northernmost castle in the UK. Now, only its ruins remain but it is still well worth a visit.

7. OLD SCATNESS Old Scatness is a prehistoric archaeology ground that is open to the public. Once you arrive, you will be taken on a tour by a guide dressed in Iron Age clothing. It’s a fun day out for the whole family where the kids will learn more about the Iron Age than they would in any classroom.

8. ISLE OF FOULA The Isle of Foula is an uninhabited island off the coast of Scalloway, where you will find nothing but beautiful scenery and wildlife. Its name means ‘isle of birds’ and it is a haven for birdwatchers.

9. SEE THE ISLES FROM A KAYAK Sea kayaking is a great way to take in the stunning views of the Shetlands from the sea. Sea Kayak Shetland is a company that runs all kinds of kayaking trips with qualified instructors. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, the company offers trips for beginners as well as old hands. Trips start at £27 per person.

10. OUT SKERRIES Going to the Out Skerries is a great way to escape the outside world. The scattering of islands are home to only 70 people who all make their living from the two small harbours.