A tour of the South Mainland will include a visit to Sumburgh Head, the southern-most tip of the Shetland mainland. Here, you’ll get the chance to see plenty of local wildlife, including seabirds, seals and – occasionally – larger creatures including whales. Puffins nest here between May and August, along with guillemots, kittiwakes and shags.
At Sumburgh Head you’ll also find Shetland's first lighthouse, a listed building, built by Robert Stevenson, who accompanied Sir Walter Scott to Shetland on his visit in 1814. The excellent interpretive centre at the lighthouse offers lots of information about the building’s history and its remarkable wartime role.
You’ll then head to Jarlshof, an extraordinary archaeological site with a complex of ancient settlements, dating back 4,000 years. From a Stone Age hut and Iron Age broch to the remains of a Viking village, Jarlshof gives you a fascinating insight to human history.
Hoswick Visitor Centre
Your tour will then take you north to the village of Hoswick, where you can pay a visit to the Hoswick Visitor Centre, housed in an old textile mill. Exhibits include vintage weaving machinery, knitwear and local heritage interpretation. There’s also a café where you can stop for a cup of tea and a light lunch, plus a shop for souvenirs. You can also indulge in some retail therapy in the two knitwear shops based in Hoswick: Nielanell and Laurence Odie Knitwear.
Shore excursions generally last from 2.5-4.5 hours so if your ship is in port all day, you will have the opportunity to spend some time in the Lerwick town centre.
The advantage of taking an official shore excursion in Shetland is the security that should the unexpected happen while you are touring the island, then your guide will be in direct communication with the locally-based shore excursion company, who will be assisting on the day of your visit.
Speak to your cruise line shore excursions provider for more details on what options are available.