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By Promote ShetlandDecember 20th 2023

Each year Shetland plays host to a wide range of events and festivals. From our world-famous fire festivals up and down the islands to the most northerly food and craft festivals in the UK. These events stretch from January into December, meaning it is always a good time to visit Shetland

Fire Festivals

  • Scalloway Fire Festival – 12th January 2024
  • Lerwick Up Helly Aa – 30th January 2024
  • Lerwick Junior Up Helly Aa – 30th January 2024
  • Nesting & Girlsta Up Helly Aa – 9th February 2024
  • Uyeasound Up Helly Aa – 16th February 2024
  • Northmavine Up Helly Aa – 16th February 2024
  • Cullivoe Up Helly Aa – 23rd February 2024
  • Bressay Up Helly Aa – 1st March 2024
  • Norwick Up Helly Aa – 24th February 2024
  • Walls Junior Up Helly Aa – 2024 date TBC
  • South Mainland Up Helly Aa – 8th March 2024
  • Delting Up Helly Aa – 15th March 2024

*Some dates may be subject to change

Up Helly Aa marks the passing of winter, and brings the light back into the darkest months. A superb spectacle, a celebration of Shetland’s Norse heritage, and a triumphant demonstration of islanders' skills and spirit, our Fire Festivals are unique.

Lerwick Up Helly Aa may not be the first, but it’s certainly the biggest. On the evening of Lerwick Up Helly Aa Day, almost 1,000 heavily-disguised torch-bearers, in groups, known as ‘squads’, form ranks in the darkened streets of Shetland’s capital and process through the town.

However, Up Helly Aas and Fire Festivals take place all over the islands, beginning with Scalloway in January and ending with Delting Up Helly Aa in March. Each night is as awe-inspiring as the last, from the dedication and organisation of the guizers to the heat of the flames.

To find out more about the Shetland Fire Festival Season, visit our Up Helly Aa page.

Shetland County Drama Festival

  • 4th-7th March 2024 (TBC)

If the fire festivals aren’t dramatic enough for you, Shetland County Drama Festival might be more up your street. Drama groups from different areas in Shetland gather in the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick to compete in the competition. A variety of genres abounds, with comedies and dramas, each promising to be as entertaining as the last.

Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year Competition

  • 26th – 27th April 2024

Shetland is well known for its accomplished fiddle players, and this is no less true in our younger generations. Fiddle players aged 16 or under, take part in Shetland’s two day Young Fiddler competition, with the final decision made at the prize-giving concert on Saturday evening.

Shetland Folk Festival

  • 2nd May – 5th May 2024

Shetland’s Folk Festival celebrates Shetland’s homegrown talent alongside some of the biggest names in folk music. Throughout Shetland, folk artists of worldwide renown take to the stage and play well into the night. The UK's most northerly folk festival is often regarded as the grandaddy of folk festivals. For performers, locals and visitors alike, the festival's "sessions" are among the best in the world.

Visiting artists are regularly struck by the quantity and quality of local talent and by the warm welcome they receive, staying not in hotels but in the homes of Folk Festival supporters.

Shetland Classic Motor Show

  • 30th May to 4th June

The Shetland Classic Motor Show and Tours is a biennial event hosted by the by the local organisations representing classic vehicle enthusiasts in Shetland

Held in the Clickimin Leisure Complex, it occupies four separate halls inside, plus a large display area outside, and has grown to become a significant feature in the Scottish classic vehicle scene.

In response to the number of exhibitors visiting from outwith Shetland, "Cruise in Company" tours were introduced and have become a significant feature in their own right.

Simmer Dim Rally

  • June 2024

Bikers from within the UK and beyond will make their way up to Shetland in June for the most northerly motorcycle rally in the UK. The Simmer Dim Rally is famous for its atmosphere. See the Simmer Dim Facebook page for more details on how to get tickets for the event.

Bergen – Shetland Races

  • 18th – 24th June 2024

Between 40 to 60 yachts will compete in the race between Bergen in Norway and Lerwick, Shetland, the biggest race on the North Sea. The Pantaenius Shetland Race is a major annual event in the sailing world: a competitive but friendly race that evidences the close Shetland-Norway relationship.

Read more about why Shetland is a hot spot for yachts.

Shetland Pride Festival

  • 15th June 2024

In 2022, Shetland celebrated its first pride event. Due to the success of the event, it returned in 2023 and plans are underway for another celebration and parade throuth Lerwick. Visit the website for more details and check out our photo gallery from the 2022 Pride event.

Mid-summer carnival

  • 2024 dates TBC

The annual Mid-Summer Carnival is a fantastic evening of fun which raises money for good causes. The streets of Lerwick became a sea of colour and festivity as floats and people in fancy dress make their way through the streets of Lerwick.


  • 15th – 21st July 2024

UnstFest is a week of fun events on the lovely island of Unst. Activities from previous years have included: Cooking for bairns, Rollerwheels (skates, scooters and bikes at the leisure centre), a Teddy Bear Hospital where you can get your best pal mended, Fire Station open night, a Stone Skimming Championship, a guided walk to Hermaness and the UnstFest Summer Carnival.

Shetland Agricultural Shows

  • Voe Show - 2024 date TBC
  • Cunningsburgh Show - 2024 date TBC
  • Walls Show - 2024 date TBC
  • Unst Show - 2024 date TBC
  • Yell Show - 2024 date TBC

If you're looking for a great day out for young and old, then look no further than the Shetland Agricultural Shows. The various shows take place throughout the month. All are great days out, with plenty for children to do and competitions for the best livestock and produce including veggies, baking, knitting and crafts. Keep an eye out on the local news sites for more information the shows.

Shetland Wool Week

  • 29th September – 5th October 2024

If you love all things knitting, then you should definitely make the trip to Shetland Wool Week.

Shetland Wool Week is a celebration of wool in Shetland. It's a week-long event that brings together knitters from all over the world in one place to share their knowledge and passion for knitting, lace-making, crocheting, dyeing, spinning, and even rearing sheep with others.

The festival started in 2010 and is held every year at the end of September or the beginning of October. The festival is held at venues around Shetland including hotels, cafes, pubs and community halls. If you want to check out the action, it's best to book accommodation early because spaces fill up quickly!

Visit stay.shetland.org for help finding accommodation in 2024.

Shetland Accordion & Fiddle Festival

  • 10th - 13th October 2024

The fiddle and accordion are synonymous with traditional Shetland music and this autumn festival is a celebration of both. Usually taking place over a busy five-day period in early October, musicians from all over the world perform at this event, although the emphasis is on Scottish Dance music.

Taste of Shetland Festival

  • 25th - 27th October 2024

The Taste of Shetland Festival is an annual celebration of Shetland's larder, showcasing locally-produced food and drink. Browse stalls, chat with local food producers, enjoy the samples and stock up on some of the fantastic food and drink Shetland has to offer.

The event is organised by Shetland Food and Drink, an organisation that represents over 100 members connected to Shetland's ever-growing food and drink industry.

In 2022, celebrity chef Nick Nairn took to the stage for cooking demonstrations. Masterclasses were held throughout the weekend and the Peerie Bites Competition allowed children of various ages to join Nick on stage to show off their culinary talents.

The taste of Shetland festival will be held on an earlier new date in 2023, 1 week before the Arts and Crafts fair. Shetland Food and Drink believe this opens lots of opportunities working together and creating the go to event for visitors from within Shetland and from South.

Shetland Made Week

  • 2024 dates TBC

A week of activities, demonstrations and workshops held between the Taste of Shetland Festival and the annual Craft Fair. The inaugural event took place in 2023 – watch this space for any announcements about the 2024 Shetland Made Week.

Craft Fair

  • 1st - 3rd November 2024

The annual Craft Fair is organised by Shetland Arts & Crafts Association and illustrates the range and depth of artistic talent and craft skills that are so evident in the islands. Inspired by Shetland's dramatic scenery, heritage and culture, Shetland’s arts and crafts producers offer a diverse collection that includes knitwear and textiles, furniture, jewellery, fashion and home accessories, gifts and fine art.

The islands' traditional designs of knitwear, handed down through generations, are prominent, but there are also examples of modern, original textile designs by accomplished local makers.

Pantomime season

  • 2024 dates TBC

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a pantomime, and each year a fantastic show is staged at the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick. The historic venue plays host to the festive spectacular organised by Shetland’s different theatre groups. You can expect heroes, villains, dames, slapstick, and sweeties – as well as the occasional, “Oh, no he didn’t!”.

If you’re looking for more festive fun you won’t want to miss the annual Christmas Parade in Lerwick which sees Santa arrive via the Lerwick Lifeboat to join a procession through the town as the Christmas lights are switched on.

Hogmanay at Mareel

  • 31st December 2024 (event TBC)

Mareel often brings in the end of the year with a bang. Showcasing Shetland’s varied and impressive musical talents, Mareel holds two events on the 31st.

One is a relaxed sit-down concert with some of Shetland’s finest musicians, and the second is ringing the bells in and dancing the night away with popular local DJs. It's always a fun and hugely popular event.

This packed list doesn't even include the various classes, pop-up shops, open mic nights and celebrations that happen throughout Shetland all year. From January to December, there is never a bad time to visit Shetland.