Shetland: The perfect slow living destination

by Louise Thomason -

Jessica Rose Williams is a writer, photographer and minimalist lifestyle blogger. Promote Shetland invited her to visit Shetland in November, to experience all that Shetland has to offer for a slow paced, out of season holiday.

While here, Jessica also led a sold out Instagram workshop on how small businesses can get the most from the platform.

Following her visit we got in touch to ask her a few questions about her time in Shetland.

Hi Jessica! What attracted you to the idea of coming to Shetland?

“I had been wanting to visit Shetland for a very long time, since I was little, when I watched a nature programme that showed the orcas and seals and the wildlife there in general. Ever since that I’ve wanted to go, but never really had the opportunity until Promote Shetland got in touch.

“But it was definitely the wildlife, the escapism of it, the fact that it’s not too far so it’s easy to get to. I’ve been wanting to explore more of the UK more recently because it think we have so many beautiful places right on our doorstep that we just overlook, because most people want to travel as far as possible before they call it a holiday. I don’t think that has to be the case.”

What did you enjoy about it?

“I really enjoyed the close proximity of Lerwick to the beaches and countryside; I loved how you could get from nice cosy cafes with nice food to a very remote walk within the space of 20 minutes, if that. The beaches were incredible – St Ninians blew my mind, it was so beautiful.

“Unfortunately we didn’t see any orcas – we just kept missing them! But we did get to see seals, and that was a real highlight for us. We were out on a drive and saw a whole family of them, and we were able to stop the car and just watch them, it was wonderful.”

What were your first impressions?

“It was very dark and windy! Once we’d got over that hurdle, and once I woke up the next morning, it was just natural beauty. I couldn’t wait to get out in the car and explore it. I was surprised by how it wasn’t anywhere near as vast as I expected it to be, I couldn’t wait to get out in the car and see where the drive took us – we were never going to be too far out of the way.

“I instantly felt comfortable with the surroundings... sometimes you get somewhere and it feels so alien that you’re having to check your map and know exactly where you’re going before you even venture out, but it didn’t feel like that at all.”

Did anything surprise you or was anything about it not what you expected?

“The creative community – that was really prominent throughout the whole trip, and that surprised me. The craft fair was great, I wish we could have been for Wool Week too."

Would you say it’s a good place to come and have a holiday if you want to slow down?

“Oh yeah, absolutely! I think it’s the perfect place for that. The accommodation that we stayed in was so beautiful and calm, perfectly situated, it was a really enjoyable slow trip. Just very dreamy.”

Jessica's Shetland travel tips:

  • Rent a car; that was really easy to do as there's a car hire desk right in the airport
  • Join the Orca Facebook group! If seeing wildlife is high on your list maybe consider booking a wildlife tour
  • Definitely go to The Dowry and The String in Lerwick, they were both great.
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