Holiday rentals in Shetland

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Popular amenities for Shetland holiday rentals

Your guide to Shetland

All About Shetland

Shetland, also known as the Shetland Islands, is a collection of about 100 islands around 200 kilometres north of the Scottish mainland. Here, rolling green hills run into white-sand beaches along the turquoise coast, home to seals, otters, and porpoises. You may even be lucky enough to spot an orca amongst the waves. The archipelago is rich with wildlife, though it is best known for being the home of Shetland ponies, which have roamed the area’s exposed moors and plains for more than 4,000 years.

Just 16 of the Shetland Islands are inhabited, though many are accessible by boat. There’s an enormous amount to see and do in and around these remote and diverse islands. In addition to the opportunity for fantastic wildlife viewing, you’ll find historical sites that hark back to the Bronze Age, as well as a thriving wool and textile industry. You can cycle the quiet roads or hike to some of the highest points on the islands. After a busy day exploring, take the time to enjoy some of Shetland’s famed produce, as well as freshly caught mussels and deliciously tender lamb.

The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Shetland

The most pleasant and popular time to visit Shetland is over the summer months. Due to its proximity to the North Pole, the days in summer are very long, and in June, there’s virtually no darkness at all, which can be a unique experience in itself. The temperature is still cold here, even in summer — it’s not exactly swimming weather — but this is a great time to explore the outdoors. You’re most likely to have days without rainfall from April until August. This is also when you have the best chance of spotting migrating orcas.

Being so far north, you might expect winters to be absolutely frigid, but due to the Gulf Stream warming the seas around the islands, the temperature rarely dips below freezing. Up Helly Aa takes place in Lerwick each January, offering an excellent reason to visit in winter — experiencing the breathtaking Viking festival and its fire displays is unforgettable.

Top things to do in Shetland

Diving and kayaking

Shetland is home to an incredible array of marine life. Take a kayak around the islands, past deserted beaches and rocky coves, and you may see seals, porpoises, otters, and lots of birdlife. Sumburgh Head is a great place to spot seals frolicking in the water or lazing on the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs. There are also plenty of opportunities to dive around Shetland — visibility is generally of a high quality, and there are several recreational dive sites, including the wrecks of SS Gwladmena, MV Samba, and MV Pionersk.

Aurora Borealis

Being closer to the north pole than any other part of the United Kingdom, Shetland is one of the best places to see the green, pink, blue, and orange tones of the Northern Lights dance through the sky. While there are no guarantees as to their appearance, the lights are usually best seen from October to March, and the lights are far brighter and more spectacular on some nights than others.

Clickimin Broch

Shetland is home to many archaeological and historical sites, and the ancient stone house of Clickimin Broch, located on Clickimin Loch, is a fantastic example. Believed to be over a thousand years old, the house is surrounded by buildings dating all the way back to the Bronze Age.

Destinations to explore

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