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The Shetland Islands are a wonderful place to go to in Scotland year-round, with every season providing its personal distinctive experiences and in honesty, there isn’t any one “finest” time to go to, because it actually relies on what you’re searching for.

Once I visited it was the center of July, so I bought to take pleasure in Unst Fest and a few good climate with lengthy daytime. However, I’m certain I’ll be visiting Shetland once more, and once I do, I feel it might be in January because the Up-Helly-A’ simply seems to be too good to overlook! However extra on that in a bit.

So with that in thoughts, let’s take a dive into a couple of issues to think about that will help you resolve what’s the finest time to go to the Shetland Islands, however first a daring assertion …

When is the most effective time to go to the Shetland Islands?

Late June or early July is the most effective time in my view. It’s not the principle season but, so received’t be too busy and you could find some good worth in lodging, additionally the times are lengthy and also you’ll have a superb probability of good climate.

So let’s take a more in-depth have a look at how I got here to that call.

Coming your approach on this put up – click on to broaden ->

The Shetland Island Local weather

A lady pushing a bike on a cloudy day in the Shetland Islands
A cloudy day on Unst

After all, one of many main elements to think about if you’re deciding when to go to is Shetland’s climate. Nicely, provided that it’s so far North, and an island with an oceanic climate, regardless of once you go to, there’s a excessive probability of wet days. However you may go to at particular instances to make the percentages in your favour.

Right here’s a fast seasonal overview, a tough information to what you may count on.

Season When it occurs
Summer season June to August
Autumn September to November
Winter December to February
Spring March to Might

Summer season

If you’re tenting, then it’s best to undoubtedly attempt to follow the summer time months.

Through the months of June – September Shetland enjoys very lengthy daytime, with sundown not occurring till after 10 pm in June and barely earlier than 8 pm by the tip of August. It’s going to even be your biggest probability of sunshine.

The common temperatures will typically vary from 14 – 18 levels Celsius (50 – 61 Fahrenheit), though it will possibly get above 20 Celcius (68 Fahrenheit) on the nicer days.

Nature can be an incredible place to go to throughout these months too, as you’ll discover the most effective situations for strolling/mountaineering, wildlife recognizing (the Shetlands are residence to many native species together with otters, porpoises, seals and naturally the well-known Shetland Pony) and in addition nice situations for tenting/wildlife watching.

Though, summer time is the least windy season, despite the fact that some days with sturdy wind are nonetheless doable.

A summer's day at Norwick Beach in Unst
Norwick Seaside in Unst on a summer time day


Summer season could finish in October, however there may be nonetheless good climate to be discovered when you go through the weeks round Halloween (October thirty first). Temperatures could be just like these skilled throughout summer time however are sometimes much less humid, so that you’re extra prone to really feel the chilliness through the night time.

November could be a little bit of a blended bag with some good intervals of climate, but additionally the prospect of some actually windy days – that is very true round St Andrew’s Day (November thirtieth), because it is without doubt one of the windiest instances of the yr.


The Shetland Islands expertise snowfall in winter, however they are often significantly vulnerable to blizzards throughout January and February. The common temperature in January is round 0 Celcius (32 Fahrenheit) and might hit highs of 6 Celcius (42 Fahrenheit) however the wind and above common humidity can really feel a lot colder.

In case you do resolve winter is for you, that is if you find yourself most probably to expertise unhealthy climate, so sporting layers and bringing a superb winter coat is a should, in addition to a sturdy umbrella!

Nevertheless, the winter months are additionally once you’ll be most probably to see some superb shows of the Northern Lights in Shetland – so if that is one thing that pursuits you, then visiting in January or February could possibly be an excellent thought, simply attempt to keep away from full moons.


A Shetland Pony eating fresh grass in Spring
The enduring Shetland Pony

The primary half of spring, round late March/starting of April, is an effective time to go to when you’re hoping to keep away from the winter months however don’t wish to hit peak season in summer time. It’s additionally a good time to see the tiny Shetland ponies.

The temperature is prone to range lots, with the common excessive being round 9 Celcius (48 Fahrenheit) however the days begin getting longer.

Whereas not widespread, snow can nonetheless seem in spring although, so ensure you all the time pack layers and be ready for something.

Shetland common temperature by month

Month Celcius Fahrenheit
January 4.1 39.5
February 3.8 38.8
March 4.6 40.2
April 6.1 43
Might 8.1 46.5
June 10.3 50.6
July 12.2 54
August 12.6 54.7
September 11.1 51.9
October 8.5 47.3
November 6.2 43.2
December 4.5 40.1
12 months 7.7 46

Festivals and celebrations on the Shetland Islands

Other than getting the most effective climate, one thing else to think about is if you wish to combine it with the Shetland locals in a few of their conventional festivities all year long. Here’s a fast overview of among the principal celebrations all through the islands.

Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ and different hearth festivals

Held on the final Tuesday in January, that is certainly one of Europe’s largest hearth festivals and an incredible sight to see. In all probability the largest occasion within the Shetland Islands. Greater than a Thousand Guizers (guisers) parade by means of Lerwick with flaming torches and burn a full-sized reproduction Viking galley. The pageant concludes with Hearth Festivities on the Struggle Memorial Park.

Try the Up-Helly-A’ website for extra info on this epic celebration.

Scalloway Hearth Competition

One other hearth pageant, this one celebrated in Scalloway in January, normally a few weeks earlier than the Lerwick Up-Helly-A’. It’s a smaller occasion however nonetheless attracts many guests and members.

All through the primary few months of the yr, there are lots of different smaller Up-Helly-a’ celebrations all through the islands together with Lerwick Junior Up Helly Aa, Uyeasound, Norwick and extra. Examine the calendar under for extra info.

Shetland People Competition

In late April and into Might the Shetland People Competition arrives. The annual pageant is organised by a voluntary committee and options live shows from among the finest worldwide, British, and Shetland music expertise. The pageant takes place all through the isles and is a good alternative to see among the finest conventional Shetland music performances.

Simmer Dim Bikers Rally

The Simmer Dim Bikers Rally is a motorbike rally that takes place yearly in Shetland, UK. The rally normally occurs across the twenty first of June and sees lots of of holiday makers come to the islands to take part within the occasion. The rally is targeted on bikes, but additionally consists of music and beer tents as a part of the festivities.


UnstFest on Britain’s most northerly island hosts Britain’s most northerly pageant! An entire week of enjoyable actions and occasions normally takes place in July.

Throughout my go to with my spouse, we had been capable of take pleasure in among the UnstFest neighborhood actions. It was clear that the entire island buys into it and actually enjoys the celebrations. They had been capped off by a rock bagpipe live performance that was as superior because it sounded.

What actually struck me was simply how welcoming everybody was at all the occasions. Unst was a particular place and with the ability to be there throughout UnstFest simply made it that little bit higher.

Shetland Nature Competition

A puffin stood on green grass at Hermaness National Park
Puffins are one of many many locals you’ll stumble upon

Additionally in July is the Shetland Nature Competition, a celebration of the distinctive pure heritage of the Shetland Islands. The pageant takes place all through the islands, and options guided walks, household days out, night talks, and extra. The pageant is a good alternative to be taught extra in regards to the native flowers, fossils, seabirds, and seals that decision the Shetlands residence.

Shetland Boat Week

In August is the Shetland Boat week, a celebration of the Shetland’s maritime heritage. The pageant options a number of occasions and actions, together with demonstrations of conventional abilities, talks, boat journeys and excursions of vessels not usually open to the general public.

Shetland Wool Week

The Shetland Wool Week is a celebration of the most effective of Shetland’s knitters and crofters, their sheep, and the wool they produce. The pageant is a week-long occasion with a number of occasions all through Shetland showcasing wool themed excursions, night talks, Shetland craft workshops, and extra.

The actual fact it occurs simply because the climate turns and everybody begins to understand a superb woolly jumper is both a coincidence or advertising genius!

Shetland Occasions by month

Here’s a tough information to your calendar. Please keep in mind it’s primarily based on previous occasions, so there could also be some varience for particular occasions.

Month Actions
January Scalloway Hearth Competition, Lerwick Up Helly Aa, Lerwick Junior Up Helly Aa, Nesting & Girlsta Up Helly Aa
February Uyeasound Up Helly Aa, Northmavine Up Helly Aa, Bressay Up Helly Aa, Cullivoe Up Helly Aa, Norwick Up Helly Aa
March Partitions Junior Up Helly Aa, South Mainland Up Helly Aa, Delting Up Helly Aa, Shetland County Drama Competition, Colleges Music Competition
April Shetland People Competition
June Midsummer Carnival in Lerwick, Simmer Dim Rally, Bergen-Shetland Yacht Race
July Shetland Nature Competition, UnstFestFolk Frenzy
August Shetland Boat Week, Screenplay Movie Competition, The Shetland Agricultural Reveals
September Shetland Wool Week
October The Style of Shetland Competition, The Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Competition
November Wordplay Arts Guide Competition, The annual Craft Honest at Clickimin
December Lerwick Winter Competition, Christmas Parade

You’ll be able to see extra particulars on all the occasions on the Shetland Visitor website.

How a lot it’s going to price to go to Shetland?

The museum next to the ocean in Lerwick

The ultimate factor to cowl might be a very powerful a part of planning … how a lot will it price me?

First, let’s speak about seasons. As with a lot of the UK there’s a large quantity of seasonality in visits to the Shetland Islands with most individuals visiting within the Summer season.

As you’ll count on, the demand on native motels and visitor homes does push the value up. Nevertheless, when trying on the common charges all year long, there may be solely a few £20-£30 distinction in common price for lodging with August statistically being the most costly month.

Clearly, if you’re tenting, that shall be fairly a bit much less, however you’ll possible be extra restricted on the timing of your go to by the climate.

Other than lodging, you even have the price of journey to Shetland. The choices are to both fly or hop on a ferry.

As is commonplace as of late with flights, demand drives the value, in order you’d count on they’re dearer in the summertime, particularly as soon as the college holidays begin.

There may be additionally seasonality within the ferry costs. They provide low, mid and excessive season costs with the excessive season being about 45% greater than in off-season and mid (as you’d count on) someplace within the center.

For instance, if two of you journey by ferry with a automotive and a 2 berth cabin, within the off-season you may count on to pay round £250, however the identical within the excessive season can be £350.

Try my different put up for extra info on this the place I speak about how to get to the Shetland Islands.

So, wrapping this part up, if cash is not any drawback, it doesn’t matter an excessive amount of, however if you want to avoid wasting a couple of ££, however nonetheless have a superb probability of clement climate, then look to the shoulder seasons of June or late September.

Ultimate ideas – what’s the finest time to go to the Shetland Islands

So with all the pieces above thought-about, I’m actually pleased with once I visited in July and doubtless wouldn’t change it figuring out what I do know now. I actually suggest testing Unstfest and it wasn’t very busy, excellent if you’re trying to get away from all of it.

As a second go to, I feel I’d attempt to go to in January to absorb one of many hearth festivals and attempt to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

One factor is for certain although, I discovered The Shetland Islands to be a particular place that’s worthy of a go to any time of the yr and a spot that I do know deep inside I’ll return to sooner or later.

I hope you discovered this put up helps to plan your journey to Shetland. In case you even have any suggestions for others studying this, please drop them within the feedback, I’d like to see them.


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