COVID-19 update: Shetland is now reopen to visitors, as per Scottish government guidelines, but please read our guidance on travelling responsibly.

What visitor attractions are open in Shetland?

by Promote Shetland -

The Covid-19 pandemic means it's not business as usual this year for some of Shetland's popular tourist attractions. Here's a quick rundown of what's open...

Shetland Museum and Archives

Our award-winning museum in Lerwick is now reopen but all visitors must pre-book their visit. Booking slots for the museum last one hour and are available for groups of up to five people. Your group should consist of up to five members of your household, or extended household group, only. Archive booking slots are available for two hours and entitle only one person entry.

Social distancing measures are in place and face coverings must be worn (except where exemptions apply). Entry to the museum and archives is free but donations are welcome Visit the Shetland Museum and Archives website for more details and to book, or call or call 01595 695057.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

Sumburgh Head is one of the most popular places in Shetland to see seabirds and other wildlife. It has a pretty remarkable history, too. The Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and Visitor Centre is open Sunday to Thursday until 20 August, 10am-5pm with last entry at 4.30pm. A one-way system and social distancing measures are in place and visitors need to wear a face covering when entering indoor spaces. Tickets are valid for any one day and you can book them in advance at TheLittleBoxOffice.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve

Hermaness NNR stands at the most northerly point of the UK, and the cliffs are host to more than 100,000 breeding seabirds. You're welcome to visit the site and the car parks are open but the toilets and visitor centre remain closed. See the website for more details.

Bonhoga Gallery

Bonhoga Gallery is situated in Weisdale Mill and promotes the best of Shetland, national and international applied arts and crafts. The shop and cafe are now reopen from Friday to Sunday, 11am-4pm. The cafe sells drinks, cakes, snacks and scones and has outdoor seating and takeaway. Tables can be booked through the Shetland Arts box office or by calling 01595 745750. The Upper Gallery and inside seating in the café is planned to reopen on Monday 31 August, with a one-way system and social distancing in place.

Shetland Textile Museum

This community museum on the outskirts of Lerwick is reopen from Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm-4pm. You can just drop-in for a visit, or book a time-slot by calling 01595 694386 or emailing Social distancing measures are in place and all visitors are reminded to wear face coverings. There are no textile demonstrations this season and the toilets remain closed. For more information, visit the Shetland Textile Museum website.

Hoswick Visitor Centre

This visitor centre in Shetland's South Mainland is home to exhibitions on Shetland's fishing and textiles. It includes a well-stocked gift shop and cafe, both of which are open with social distancing measures in place. Visit the Hoswick Visitor Centre Facebook page for the latest updates.

The Shetland Gallery

Britain's most northerly art gallery on the island of Yell is reopen to visitors, showcasing works from talented artists from Shetland and beyond. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-5pm, and Sundays 2pm-5pm. Find out more on The Shetland Gallery website.

Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement

The 4,000 year old settlement of Jarlshof is open for visitors but the visitor centre and facilities are currently closed. The site is open from 9.30am-5.30pm. Visit the Historic Environment Scotland website for more details.

Fort Charlotte

The 17th century fort overlooking Bressay Sound is closed but you can still visit the exterior of the site. Find out more about the fort and it's history on the Historic Environment Scotland website.

Muness Castle

Britain's most northerly castle on the island of Unst is free to visit and you can walk around the exterior of the site. Find out more about the history of the site on the Historic Environment Scotland website.

Garths Croft Bressay

This is a smallholding on the island of Bressay, specialising in native and heritage breeds. Croft tours are available and for more details about arranging a visit call crofter Chris Dyer on 07748926454 or email

Shetland Library

The library and learning centre, which includes computers with Wifi for public use, are reopen to the public - Monday to Saturday, 1.30pm-5pm. Face coverings are mandatory and social distancing guidelines are in place. Visit the Shetland Library website for more information.


Lerwick's cinema and music venue Mareel is due to open on 31 August, at the start of the college term. The cinema and cafe bar will reopen with social distancing measures in place and picnic benches on the waterside. For more details, check the Shetland Arts website.

Seabirds and Seals

If you're hoping to see some wildlife on your trip to Shetland, this popular boat trip company is now taking bookings for trips around Bressay and Noss. See the website for more details and how to book.

Attractions remaining closed for the 2020 season:

  • Old Scatness Broch
  • Mousa Broch
  • Noss National Nature Reserve
  • Shetland Crofthouse Museum
  • Scalloway Castle
  • Scalloway Museum
  • Lerwick Brewery
  • Michaelswood
  • Quendale Water Mill
  • The Cabin Museum
  • The Old Haa Museum
  • Whalsay Heritage Centre
  • Unst Heritage Centre
  • Unst Boat Haven
  • Shetland Recreational Trust venues, including Clickimin, Unst, Yell, Whalsay, North Mainland, Scalloway, West Mainland and South Mainland leisure centres remain closed. They are awaiting guidance from the Scottish Government as to whether or not they can go ahead and reopen on the proposed date of 14 September.
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