Thursday, February 2, 2023

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The Shetland Islands are a set of distant islands positioned within the far north of Scotland. On this publish, I wish to share with you what it’s essential learn about how one can journey to the Shetland Islands in addition to some suggestions from my expertise visiting the attractive islands.

So, when you’re planning a go to to the Shetland Islands, carry on studying for some useful data. However first, let’s have a fast overview of the islands.

Coming your manner on this publish – click on to broaden ->

Get to know the Shetlands

What are the Shetlands and the place are they positioned?

The Shetlands are a set of greater than 100 islands, solely about 20 of that are inhabited. Your entire archipelago is positioned off the northernmost tip of Scotland, 130 miles from the British mainland and just a little bit west from the Orkney Islands.

The most important city and Shetland’s capital is Lerwick, a busy port positioned on the most important island, quite confusingly known as Mainland.

Round 20,000 individuals stay within the Shetlands and most of them work in fishing or fish farming. Tourism has been rising quickly over the previous couple of years so there are many issues to do right here moreover going round museums and historical castles in addition to miles upon miles of gorgeous coast.

To listen to the locals speak, I’d finest describe it as a powerful mixture of Orcadian (the dialect spoken in Orkney) and Scots with some Norn phrases combined in. It’s not obscure in any respect though you may end up listening to issues that don’t make sense on a regular basis.

What’s the local weather like within the Shetlands

A lady pushing a bike through a crowd of sheep on a rainy day in Unst, shetland
An overcast day in Unst

The local weather within the Shetland Islands is oceanic, which suggests chilly and moist many of the yr however might be wonderful in the summertime. I definitely suggest visiting in the course of the summer time (June-August). Temperatures are delicate and there’s much less likelihood of rainfall. I went in June and though there have been some downpours, it was blue skies and sunshine more often than not.

I additionally cherished the actual fact the solar didn’t set till about 11 pm, even then it by no means bought actually darkish. One of many cool issues about being up to now north.

However keep in mind, the alternative is true for winter, so if looooong darkish nights are your factor, that is the place to go!

You possibly can learn extra in regards to the local weather in my publish in regards to the best time to visit the Shetland Islands.

Tips on how to get to the Shetland Islands

Automobile Ferry to Shetland Islands

In the event you’re asking me what’s the easiest way to get to the Shetland Islands, then it needs to be the ferry. It takes longer however is much extra fulfilling to me than flying. Nonetheless, flying will at all times be higher if you’re tight on time.

There are two important ferry routes to Shetland. One from Aberdeen, on the Scottish mainland, and one other from Kirkwall within the Orkney Isles.

The ferry is giant with an onboard cinema, restaurant, bar, children play space and a small store. Throughout our crossing, there have been ample locations to sit down and loosen up, and if the climate is form, a fantastic out of doors space to get some refreshing Seabreeze into your lungs.

Aberdeen to Lerwick ferry

Once I visited Shetland, I had my automotive with me, travelling up from England, so leaving from mainland Scotland utilizing the Shetland Islands ferry from Aberdeen was the most suitable choice.

Throughout summer time, NorthLink Ferries sail each day from Aberdeen to Shetland and from Shetland to Aberdeen. The crossing takes 12-13 hours by the North Sea leaving each night and arriving the next morning. Nonetheless, you should definitely double-check out of the principle season as there are fewer crossings obtainable.

Tickets might be booked upfront from their web site with quite a lot of choices to swimsuit all budgets.

The most affordable is only a ticket with no cabin or seat. I discovered that most individuals doing this tended to sleep of their sleeping luggage within the bar.

No less than, I assume this was the case they usually weren’t simply too drunk to get again to their cabin!

A easy ferry ticket with no automotive or sleeping space is between £23 – £36 relying on the season. You “improve” and might ebook a reclining seat for a assured place to sleep for £3.50.

The center possibility is what we booked, a sleeping pod. I booked it extra out of curiosity because it sounded cool, however all it’s is a bigger reclining chair with a bit extra safety than the general public areas of the boat.

There’s a locked door that separates the sleeping pod space from the remainder of the boat, so whereas it’s barely safer than sleeping within the bar possibility, it’s nonetheless not totally non-public so we didn’t really feel comfy leaving useful stuff round.

The sleeping pods have a shared bathe and bathroom amenities and a pod prices £18 per particular person.

The costliest possibility is a cabin. There are a number of choices from Govt to shared 4-bed cabins, some with sea view whereas others are inside. The cabins run from £70 – £150 relying on the choices you choose.

What I like in regards to the ferry pricing is that there’s something for everybody and the most suitable choice relies on circumstance. For instance, I visited with my spouse and because it was simply the 2 of us, we have been proud of a sleeping pod. If I have been backpacking, I’d be proud of the bar flooring to avoid wasting ££s. 

Nonetheless, if I used to be travelling with my children, getting a 4 start cabin would make sense.

Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at the pricing.

Leaving Aberdeen behind while getting to the Shetland Islands by ferry
Leaving Aberdeen behind

Aberdeen to Lerwick ferry value

To provide you an thought, listed below are a number of chosen costs for journeys between Aberdeen and Lerwick to assist in giving you an thought. These are based mostly on the 2022 schedule and are topic to alter.

Low Season – seventh January to twenty third March, 1st November to seventeenth December.

Mid Season – 1st to sixth January, twenty fourth March to 14th June, 1st September to thirty first October, 18th to thirty first December.

Peak Season – fifteenth June to thirty first August.

Passengers Low Mid  Excessive
Grownup Single (16yrs & over) £23.20 £30.00 £36.00
Little one Single (5-15yrs) £11.60 £14.70 £17.60
Toddler (0-4yrs) FREE FREE FREE
Automobiles Low Mid Excessive
Automobile (< 6m lengthy) £95.00 £121.00 £127.00
Motorhome (< 6m lengthy) £95.00 £121.00 £127.00
Lengthy and Towed Automobiles (>6m lengthy) (complement per m) £12.70 £15.65 £18.70
Bikes / Scooters / Trikes £24.55 £28.00 £30.50
Lodging Low Mid Excessive
Premium Outer 2 berth £110.00 £142.00 £153.00
Govt Cabins £110.00 £142.00 £153.00
Interior 4 berth £77.00 £109.00 £121.00
Sleeping Pods £18.00 £18.00 £18.00
Reclining Seats £3.50 £3.50 £3.50

If you need to see all the charges, and the total Shetland Islands ferry timetable, simply take a look at the Northlink Ferries web site and fares page.

Orkney to Lerwick Ferry

For these travelling to Shetland from Orkney, all the above data is just about the identical, the one distinction is that the value is just a little cheaper and the crossing takes about 5 hours much less.

Travelling on the Shetland ferry with pets

You’re allowed to journey on the Northlink ferry together with your pets and there are a number of choices.  Pets can journey both in your automobile, a booked kennel or there are additionally bookable pet-friendly cabins.

Pets don’t require a boarding cross and journey freed from cost however you will need to know that solely assist canines are permitted within the ship’s inner public areas.

See extra data on the pet policy here.

A sandy landbridge known as St Ninian's Beach in Mainland Shetland
St Ninians Seaside on Mainland, Shetland

Flights to the Shetland Islands

The quickest option to get to Shetland is by flying, however the draw back is that it’s dearer and if you wish to discover, you’ll have to rent a automotive. Sumburgh Airport is the principle airport within the Shetlands and is positioned to the south of Mainland

There are a number of flights per day, to and from the key Scottish airports of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Kirkwall. For the most recent flight instances, costs and particulars on how one can ebook, go to the Loganair website.

You possibly can fly instantly from London to Shetland out of London Metropolis Airport on Mondays and Thursdays. The flight lasts 3h 35mins and can normally price round £200. You possibly can verify the Loganair web site above for extra particulars on these flights.

There are many different choices for flying from most English airports to Shetland if you’re pleased to make a cease. With one connection you may count on the flight to take round 5 hours.

You can too fly on to Shetland from Manchester on a weekly foundation, and in addition from Bergen in Norway in the course of the summer time.

The entire flights are operated by the Scottish airline, Loganair. Maintain baggage and onboard refreshments are included in your ticket value.

Getting from Sumburgh Airport to Lerwick

Sumburgh Airport is positioned on the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland, about 25 miles south of Lerwick.

Probably the most versatile option to make this journey is with automotive rental. This can permit you the liberty to discover the islands at your leisure.

Whereas it’s arduous to present a precise value because it varies considerably relying on the time of yr and availability, a tough information value can be that you could count on to pay £60-70 per day for automotive rent within the area.

The quickest option to get from Sumburgh Airport to Lerwick is by taxi. Whereas the value will range, you may count on to pay between £50 – 60 and the journey to be round 30 minutes. 

There must be some obtainable, however you can even pre-book by many island taxi companies

The most affordable possibility can be the bus to Lerwick from the airport. This shall be between £4-7 per particular person and the journey takes round an hour. You possibly can catch the bus, Service 6, from reverse the principle terminal. View the timetable for extra data.

Looking back to Lerwick from the ferry
Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands

Getting round Shetland

Now that you understand how to get to The Shetland Islands, additionally, you will must know extra about getting round. 

The simplest and finest option to discover Shetland is in your individual automotive. You possibly can both deliver your individual when you get the ferry or rent one on the island. If you’re solely visiting for a few days, I’d suggest flying and hiring, it’s the most effective use of your time.

Nonetheless, if you’re on vacation and staying for every week or so, then definitely bringing your individual can be probably the most cost-effective possibility.

For comparability, a automotive shall be about £125 every manner on the ferry vs £70 per day in a rent automotive. So a return ferry on your automotive shall be across the identical as 4 days automotive rent.

Driving across the islands is great with barely any site visitors and gorgeous surroundings, and whereas there are buses, you may solely attain probably the most distant components with your individual transport.

As I discussed there, another choice is the bus. We met a number of hikers who have been utilizing this feature. It’s definitely more cost effective, however you’ll be much less versatile.

Lastly, you may attain out to native guides and taxis. Many residents will supply information providers or taxis are good for a to b journey.

A man sitting at bus stop in Unst, Shetland Islands
The Unst bus cease, probably the most northerly bus cease within the UK

Travelling between the islands

Between the islands, there are ferries that run on an everyday timetable, so to keep away from ready it is best to attempt to have a component of planning, however I’ll go into this in additional depth in a unique article that I haven’t written but. However for now, you could find the main points of ferry instances and costs might be discovered on the Shetland Islands Council web site right here. Alternatively, the Vacationer Workplace which is positioned at Market Cross in Lerwick additionally has all the knowledge you would want.

For the islands which might be just a little additional away, equivalent to Honest Isle, there are a selection of direct flight routes. Keep in mind these depart from a unique airport, a smaller one about 7 miles north of Lerwick in Tingwall.

Yow will discover out extra about these routes on the Air Task website who function the flights.

Last ideas

The Shetland Islands are a phenomenal and distant a part of Scotland that may be accessed by airplane, automotive or bus. On this article, we’ve got shared with you how one can get there in addition to some tips about getting across the islands. We hope that this data will aid you plan your go to to those gorgeous islands.


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