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

About Shetland

Shetland lies 600 miles (960km) north of London. More than a hundred islands, just 15 of them inhabited, span the hundred miles (145km) between Fair Isle and Out Stack, the northernmost point of Britain.


LocationShetland is on longitude 01ºW of Greenwich and straddles latitude 60ºN, 598 miles (962km) north of London and just 400 miles (643km) south of the Arctic Circle. This is as far north as St Petersburg, Russia, or Anchorage, Alaska.


GeographyThe hundred or so islands of Shetland are formed by a range of ancient hills standing on the continental shelf and partly drowned when sea level rose 400 feet (120m) at the end of the last glaciation, about 10-12,000 years ago.


ClimateShetland lies in the track of the Atlantic depressions and is bathed by the relatively warm waters of the Slope Current, flowing north along the edge of the Continental Shelf, so the climate is classed as temperate maritime.


CultureIn the past Shetlanders’ lives were bound to the ocean. Most men became fishermen, seafarers or whalers. Hardship & frequent loss of life at sea made Shetlanders self-sufficient & close-knit people. Those qualities endure in the community t…


EconomyAlthough fish and oil generate most income in Shetland, there are sizeable contributions from livestock rearing, tourism, quarrying and the creative industries, including knitwear and crafts.


GeologyShetland’s geology spans almost 3 billion years and is more diverse than any similar sized area in Europe.


HistoryNot only does Shetland boast spectacular monuments such as the well preserved Mousa Broch and the internationally renowned sites of Jarlshof and Old Scatness, but the unspoilt landscape has ensured that Shetland’s past can be read in every hillside…
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