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The Shetland Archipelago

Discover ancient historical sites, wildlife and remote British walking

From£1,495

  • Shetland Islands

  • 7 nights
  • Half Board
  • May

    Jun

    Jul

    Sep

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 75107

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.

Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.

Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy fascinating scenery, deserted beaches and warm hospitality
  • Local coastal walks directly from the hotel as well as visits to neighbouring islands
  • An excellent chance to observe seals, otters and birdlife on the unspoilt island of Bressay
  • Visit the most southerly point on the mainland and walk to Sumburgh Head for close encounters with puffins

Visitors have been coming to enjoy the fantastic scenery, deserted beaches, warm hospitality and abundant wildlife on Shetland for millenia. The Vikings are perhaps the best known arrivals and they enjoyed the islands so much, they never left! 

Shetland, 150 miles northeast of the UK mainland, is a beautiful place for a walking holiday. The Shetland Islands offer some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery - various wild beaches, soaring sea cliffs and rolling moors. As we explore the islands on foot, we will have plenty of company with some of Britain's most charismatic birds and animals - puffins, seals, otters, dolphins and free roaming Shetland ponies. 

We are based in Lerwick, the main town and capital of Shetland. There is some beautiful coastal walking directly from the hotel door, however to see the best of Shetland, we will travel a little further afield. We are based in the hub of the excellent public transport network, enabling us to reach the best walking on the islands, as well as using private hired transport on a couple of days. 

The island of Bressay, seven minutes on a ferry from Lerwick, is unspoilt and open. Keep an eye on the coastline for an excellent chance of seeing seals and otters and of course, a huge variety of ducks, gulls and waders. Anyone with an interest in the fauna, could hardly fail to be captivated by the ease with which the wildlife can be seen.  

To the south of Lerwick and the most southerly point on the mainland is Sumburgh Head, where we will walk for perhaps the best chance of a close encounter with the puffins. From here, it's a short walk to the Jarlshoff Prehistoric and Norse Settlement where you'll journey from prehistory to history. Delve into more than 4,000 years of human settlement in the same location. Neolithic people first settled at this site in Shetland around 2700 BC, and it remained in use until the AD 1600s. Discoveries made here include an Iron Age broch, wheelhouses and oval shaped Bronze Age houses. 

  • Return flights from Glasgow to Sumburgh (Logan Air)
  • Airport transfers and all local transport costs (including ferry fares)
  • Half board en suite accommodation
  • Services of a dedicated tour leader
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

We fly to Sumburgh airport and transfer about 40 minutes to The Lerwick Hotel in Lerwick (Shetland's capital). 

Dinner each evening will be in the hotel. 

Transfer Time = 40 minutes

Day 2

Clickimin, Ness of Sound & Lerwick

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

A walk around Clickimin Loch and a look at the broch, followed by visits to two headlands; almost all on surfaced paths and roads. After lunch, your leader will provide an orientation walk around Lerwick and a visit to the tourist office.


  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    7.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    400m

Day 3

Jarlshof and Sumburgh Head

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

A visit to the very interesting Jarlshof archaeological site, followed by a walk to Sumburgh Head, the most southerly point on the mainland. There will be ample time to watch the puffins and other sea birds. 

The entrance fee to Jarlshof is not included in the holiday price. Entrance is approximately £6 per person. 


  • Time

    5.5 (including time sightseeing) hours

  • Distance

    3.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    140m

Day 4

The Islands of Bressay and Noss

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

We take the quick and convenient crossing from Lerwick to Bressay and walk to the departure point on the waters edge to reach Noss island. The crossing is short and is taken by a small inflatable boat. You'll be rewarded by the spectacular cliffs and birds on Noss, particularly on the far side near The Noup. The journey to Noss is long, however you'll be glad to make the journey. Noss island has been a National Nature Reserve since 1955 and there have been 150 species of flowering plants recorded on the island. The horizontally bedded sandstone has eroded, forming ledges that allow nesting sites for the seabirds. Be sure to bring your camera today!


  • Time

    5.5 hours

  • Distance

    8.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    450m

Day 5

Muckle Roe

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

We will carry out an easy walk today on the island of Muckle Roe, now linked to Mainland by a bridge. There are two delightful bays at the northern end, North and South Ham which we will explore. 


  • Time

    4.5 hours

  • Distance

    6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    240m

Day 6

The islands of Yell and Unst & Muckle Flugga lighthouse

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today, we will go as far north as you can go in Great Britain to the islands of Yell and Unst. This is probably the highlight of the week with magnificent cliff scenery and puffins at close quarters. Whilst on Unst, we make a worthwhile visit to the Unst Boat Haven. 

The entrance fee to the Unst Boat Haven is not included in the holiday price. Entrance is approximately £3 per person.


  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    280m

Day 7

St Ninian's Isle & Scalloway

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

We start the final day on St Ninian's Isle, with a walk across a tombolo to walk around the island. After lunch will be a walk along the low cliffs in Scalloway and a visit to the Scalloway Castle and the Scalloway Museum. 

The entrance fee to the Scalloway Museum is not included in the holiday price. Entrance is approximately £3 per person.


  • Time

    2 (plus sightseeing time) hours

  • Distance

    4 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    120m

Day 8

Departure day

Meals

Breakfast

We return to the airport for our flight back to mainland Scotland.

We hope you have enjoyed your holiday and we look forward to welcoming you on another soon.

From (GBP)£1,495

Departure dates for your selected tour

10th May 2021 - 17th May 2021 (7 Nights)

12th Jun 2021 - 19th Jun 2021 (7 Nights)

10th Jul 2021 - 17th Jul 2021 (7 Nights)

11th Sep 2021 - 18th Sep 2021 (7 Nights)

Travel Details

Includes return flights from Glasgow and transfers between Sumburgh airport and our hotel. Sumburgh airport is 25 miles from Lerwick.

Flights: Glasgow – Sumburgh (about 1 hr 30 mins) with Loganair.

Provisional times: Outward Depart / Return Arrival 13.20 / 14.30.

UK add on flights are available with British Airways. Please contact us for a quote at the time of booking. 

Flights to and from Sumburgh can on occasion be cancelled due to inclement weather conditions, in which case it may be necessary to travel by ferry. 

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

The Lerwick Hotel

The modern, three star, Lerwick Hotel is located a 10 minute walk from the town centre, nestling on the shore of Breiwick Bay. The hotel is situated on the edge of the sea with views to the island of Bressay. Breakfasts and evening meals are taken in the hotel restaurant. 

 Room facilities include:

  • Flatscreen TV
  • Hairdryer 
  • Tea & coffee making facilities
  • Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • 24 hour room and bar service is available 

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This Grade 4 moderate holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and is likely to include an element of sightseeing as well. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.

Walks & Excursions

Shetland offers some of the finest walking in the United Kingdom, at all times of the year. The combination of spectacular coastal scenery on both North Sea and Atlantic facing cliffs, quiet inland lochs, and gentle heathery hills is unsurpassed. The landscape is open with the added extra thrill of the archaeology sites and the wildlife. 

Some days include longer walks than others and reaching some islands can take time but the journeys are rewarding in themselves. Walking will be on a mixture of roads and paths, however be prepared for uneven walking in certain areas, so good footwear is essential (as is the correct clothing to cover all weather eventualities). 

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Entrance Fees

The cost of any entrance fees to sites visited is not included in the holiday price. 

Please consider the following entrance fees when budgeting for your holiday.

  • Jarlshoff Prehistoric & Norse Settlement  £ 6.00
  • Unst Boat Haven  £ 3.00
  • Scalloway Museum  £ 3.00

These prices are approximate and may be subject to change. Please also note that membership of English Heritage allows entrance to Jarlshof.  

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Your Travel Details

We fly from Glasgow to Sumburgh on Loganair. There are regional flights from place airports in the U.K. to connect with the onward flight to Sumburgh.

Although there is no passport control between Shetland and the rest of the United Kingdom, please do not forget your passport to satisfactorily establish your identity and nationality when boarding your flight. Nationals of EU countries may use their national identity cards instead of passports.  

Nationals of countries other than Britain or other EU member states travelling to the UK should check with the nearest British Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence as to whether they require a visa. If a visa is required, it must be obtained prior to travel.

Some people prefer to make their own travel arrangements and to get to Shetland on the ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick. This is operated by Northlink Ferries and the journey is approximately 12.5 hours. See https://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/  for further details. 

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for United Kingdom

Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.

Meals

This tour is on a half board basis. Breakfasts and dinners are offered at the hotel. Please note that lunches are not included on this holiday.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

Footwear As Hand Luggage

We recommend that you either wear your walking boots or shoes or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the holiday programme.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

The walks carried out on this holiday are covered by the following map:

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map
No. 468 Whalsay & Out Skerries (1:25,000)

You may wish to look at the following website for more information on walking in Shetland https://www.shetland.org/things/outdoor/walking 

If you are looking to purchase a guidebook, we recommend the Cicerone book 'Walking on the Orkney and Shetland Isles'. 

The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.

Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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