7 days

From £1,095

Activity Level:

Summary

A wander through the streets of Lerwick is normally a quiet, peaceful experience, but take a walk there at the end of January and it’s quite likely that you will bump into a squad of very large, very bearded Vikings, resplendent in gleaming chain-mail and winged helmets. Later, the Vikings and their fancy-dressed followers fill the narrow streets, their flaming torches illuminating the dark winter skies, their boisterous songs filling the air. A 30-foot Viking longship is carried aloft before it is set alight with a thousand blazing brands. As the sky over Lerwick shimmers with heat and light, fireworks explode, brass bands play and the gloom of winter is lifted for another year.

This is Up Helly Aa, the annual winter festival of Shetland, which celebrates the lengthening of the days and the coming of another year, not to mention the chance of a good old knees-up. It’s run by Shetlanders for Shetlanders, but that’s not to say visitors aren’t welcome and the island hospitality will be as warm as ever.

Shetland is a beguiling place to visit at any time but in the short winter days the islands take on a special character with steely grey seas and dramatic skies. During our stay we will take in the prehistoric and Norse settlement of Jarlshof to the south, and tour as far as the islands of Yell and Unst to the north. Up Helly Aa itself is on the Tuesday, when we will have the day free to enjoy the various events in Lerwick, culminating in the torchlight procession and boat burning ceremony in the evening, the highlight of an unusual and uplifting winter break.

Tour highlights:

  • Fire festival of Up Helly Aa
  • 3000 years of archaeological history at Jarlshof
  • Stunning seacliffs at Eshaness
  • Bobby’s bus shelter in Baltasound – surely the most famous in the world!

Today's Price
£1,095

Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £350

Keeping you safe on your next tour

  • FREE 'Travel Safe' kits for every traveller
  • COVID-19 insurance
  • Self-drive options
  • Enhanced Health and Safety audits
  • Distanced seating on coaches
  • 'Get me home' service and private airport transfers
  • COVID protocols at our hotels, and aboard our cruise ships
  • Packed lunches and flexible dining options
  • Flexible balance payment date and COVID-friendly refund conditions
  • COVID-testing and medical training for tour staff
  • Constant monitoring and post-tour tracing
Meet your Experts

Alastair Walker

Tour Manager

A native of Inverness with a rural background, Alastair’s knowledge of Scotland is wide ranging, from the Northern Isles and the Hebrides to Perthshire, Galloway and the Borders.

View full bio

Departure Points

Location Depart Return
Glasgow 1015 1300
Edinburgh 1130 1200
Dunfermline 1145 1145
Kinross 1200 1130
Perth 1215 1100
Dundee 1330 1030
Arbroath 1350 1010
Montrose 1410 0950
Aberdeen 1500 0900

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.

Tour dates & prices

Included in your cost:

  • Accommodation
  • Services of a professional tour manager
  • Comfortable coach travel throughout
  • Meals - as per the itinerary
  • Ferry crossings
Tour Departure Tour ID Departure date Return Date Guided by Price Deposit Single Supp. Availability
24 January 2021 BUHF210124 24 January 2021 (Sunday) 28 January 2021 (Thursday) £895
(ex. flights)
£50
£100
£240

Postponed

Call for availability
23 January 2021 BUPV210123 23 January 2021 (Saturday) 29 January 2021 (Friday) £1,045
(ex. flights)
£50
£100
£300

Postponed

Call for availability
25 January 2021 BUHA210125 25 January 2021 (Monday) 30 January 2021 (Saturday) David MacLennan £995
(ex. flights)
£50
£100
£180

Postponed

Call for availability
23 January 2022 BUHF220123 23 January 2022 (Sunday) 27 January 2022 (Thursday) £945
(ex. flights)
£100 £275 Call for availability
22 January 2022 BUPV220122 22 January 2022 (Saturday) 28 January 2022 (Friday) Alastair Walker £1,095
(ex. flights)
£100 £350 Book Now
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