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By Promote ShetlandApril 20th 2021

Updated 20 April 2021

As Scotland starts to come out of the third lockdown, we look at what this means for people hoping to travel to and from Shetland in the coming weeks.

When can I book a trip to Shetland?

If you live in Scotland, you will be able to travel to and from Shetland from Monday 26 April. Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles will continue to be at Level 3, alongside the rest of Scotland, which moves from Level 4 to Level 3 on 26 April.

Travel to Scotland (including Shetland) from other parts of the UK is also allowed. This includes travellers from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.

As ever, the situation can change at any time, so for the latest travel updates, please refer to the Scottish Government guidelines.

For travel information to the isles, please see the NorthLink and Loganair websites for the latest ferry and air travel updates.

Do I need to take a Covid test before I travel?

Those travelling to Shetland and other Scottish islands are being encouraged to take lateral flow tests ahead of their visit - one three days before and one on the day. If a positive result is returned from the initial test people are encouraged to take a more sensitive PCR test before making a final decision on whether to cancel their visit.

Lateral flow tests will be free to order for anyone living in Scotland from 26 April. To find out more about this and how to order, check the Scottish Government website.

Can I travel from abroad to Shetland?

International travel to Shetland will not be permitted until 17 May at the earliest.

Travellers will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, taken no more than 72 hours before travel. Further information is available from the Scottish Government on pre-departure testing.

If you're coming from outside the Common Travel Area, you will need to self-isolate in a designated quarantine hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. Six hotels close to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports will be used to implement the quarantine. During this self-isolation you will be tested for Covid-19 on days two and eight.

Every visitor needs to provide their journey and contact details. This applies to those who land in another part of the UK, and travel on by other means to Shetland.

Read more about health checks when entering Scotland.

Can I book accommodation in Shetland?

Tourist accommodation will reopen in Shetland to visitors from 26 April. If booking hotel or self-catering accommodation remember that you must travel as one household or extended household, including support bubble.

Will shops, hospitality and tourist attractions be open?

Yes, as Shetland is already in Level 3 many shops, hospitality businesses and tourist attractions are already open. But, please note, some businesses and tourist attractions have decided to remain closed for the 2021 season or to operate at reduced opening hours. Most places are also reviewing their plans on an ongoing basis as the situation progresses. To avoid disappointment, we suggest you research the things you want to do and places you want to see before you get here. We also advise booking restaurants and visitor attractions in advance, where possible.

Please also be aware that under Level 3 guidelines, there are still social distancing guidelines in place across hospitality and restrictions on the number of people who can meet up. For the latest guidance, please see the Scottish Government's Level 3 guidance.

General guidance for visitors

  • Continue to wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser in shops and visitor attractions where it is provided.

  • Wear face coverings in all shops and on public transport. You must also wear face coverings in pubs, cafes and restaurants when not seated at your table.
  • Check notices on the doors and windows of shops, visitor attractions, cafes etc., as they may be limiting the number of people they allow in.
  • Use contactless payment in local shops as much as possible.
  • Maintain the 2 metres social distancing guidelines, although this can be reduced to 1 metre on public transport and in retail outlets and indoor and outdoor hospitality venues, where agreed risk mitigation is in place.

Although the vaccine continues to be successfully rolled out across the UK, it is still vitally important that everyone remain vigilant and follows the latest NHS guidelines.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Shetland.