Shetland and its Outer Isles

5 Days

From £845pp

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  • Rich wildlife on the Island of Mousa
  • 3000 years of archaeological history at Jarlshof
  • Muness Castle – the most northerly castle in the British Isles
  • The stunning sea cliffs of Noss 
  • Bobby’s bus shelter in Baltasound – surely the most famous in the world!

Once the seat of Northmen, who travelled from Norway to make their mark on the wild and rocky landscapes of the archipelago, Shetland and the Outer Isles are a soul-stirring joy to behold and explore... 

Belatedly gifted to the nation of Scotland in 1469, Shetland’s status as a relative newcomer to the British Isles might go some way to explaining its uncanny, unfamiliar, yet wildly beautiful air. Relics of former Scandinavian rule abound, from place names with a distinct Nordic flavour to concrete evidence of Viking occupation, such as the settlement at Jarlshof and the legendarily grisly Murder Stone.

But forget the Viking leaders for a moment — today, nature is the true king here, with rocky outcrops ruled by harbour seals and storm petrels, and, very occasionally, stirringly beautiful, enigmatic orca breaking the surface of the water. Nowhere is this more true than on the little island of Mousa, a nature reserve in its entirety, which we have the privilege of exploring.

But where a hardy few once settled, many now flourish — charming towns, busy harbours, and top-notch museums all feature on our itinerary, and alongside them, the unmistakable warmth and hospitality of the Shetlanders themselves.

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Day 1

We depart from our designated departure points and travel to Aberdeen where we join the Serco Northlink ferry and sail overnight to Lerwick. Accommodation is provided in comfortable 2-berth cabins with en-suite facilities. Dinner is served on board this evening.

Day 2

We arrive early in the morning at Lerwick, after breakfast we depart on a full day tour of the South Mainland and visit the Shetland Croft House Museum. We continue to the southern tip of Mainland Shetland, where we visit the outstanding Prehistoric and Norse Settlement of Jarlshof, with over 3 acres of remains, spanning 3000 years. Afterwards, we cross to the fascinating little island of Mousa. The island is a nature reserve and is rich in wildlife. Storm petrels, Arctic terns and skuas nest here, and harbour seals lounge on the shore.

We continue to our comfortable hotel where dinner is served this evening. 

Day 3

We enjoy a full day touring the northern isles of Yell and Unst. Desolate is often a word associated with Yell, but its bleak landscape of brown, blue and green is nonetheless enchanting. Unst, on the other hand, is Scotland's most northerly inhabited island, with velvet smooth hills that melt into gorgeous waterside locations. We travel as far north as it is possible to go in the British Isles this afternoon and enjoy the marvellous views from Saxa Vord Hill. We re-join our ship, which sails for Aberdeen. We return to our hotel in evening where dinner is served. 

Day 4

After breakfast we will transfer to Lerwick where you are free to explore at your leisure. Alternatively, you can join our optional excursion, taking a wildlife cruise to the cliffs of Noss. Sailing from Victoria Pier in Lerwick, we make our way around Bressay before arriving at Noss with its unparalleled views of the cliffs which are home to numerous species of seabirds. Accompanied by a highly experienced wildlife guide we will also enjoy an opportunity to view seals, otters and other marine wildlife along the coastal stretch. We e re-join our Northlink Ferry later this afternoon, and sails for Aberdeen. Dinner is served on board.

Day 5

After breakfast on board, we disembark in Aberdeen.  We return to our original pick up points.

What's Included

  • 2 nights at the Queen’s Hotel, Lerwick and 2 nights in 2-berth cabins on a Serco Northlink Ferry — dinner, bed & breakfast
  • Two full days on mainland Shetland and the islands of Yell and Unst
  • Services of a professional tour manager
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Please note pick-up points are subject to minimum numbers and all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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Departure points and times

Depart Return
1015 1300
1130 1200
1145 1145
1200 1130
1215 1100
1330 1030
1350 1010
1410 0950
1500 0900

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.