Local Services

On this page, we’ve tried to gather together as much useful information as possible about opportunities in sport and leisure, shopping, eating out and entertainment. There’s even guidance on removal services, in case you’re already hooked.

Public Services

Shetland Islands Council offers all the usual local authority services and you can find detailed information on the Council’s website. The A-Z listing of services, which includes contact telephone numbers, may be helpful. For example, there is comprehensive guidance on local transport services; you can find out about our internal ferry services, including online booking. You’ll also find lots of other useful information about such things as school term dates or your housing options. Advice on the council housing is available there or you can also contact the Hjaltland Housing Association.


There are local general stores in all the larger communities throughout the islands. However, most of Shetland’s shops are in Lerwick. Although we do have branches of a handful of national clothing, footwear, electrical, chemist and supermarket chains, most shops are locally owned. One supermarket offers online ordering for collection or delivery throughout the Shetland mainland.

The internet is a popular way of obtaining specialist goods.

Public Services

Other organisations that you may find useful:

Sports and leisure

The range of sport and leisure on offer in Shetland is outstanding. There are opportunities to pursue almost any sport and there are highly competitive local leagues.

The facilities are well beyond what you’d find in many cities, let alone a small island community. Fully-equipped leisure centres exist throughout the islands and outdoor pitches are available, with a couple that are all-weather. Our two 18-hole golf courses are classified by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

Water-based sports are very much part of Shetland life, of course: in summer, sailing, kayaking, rowing and windsurfing are popular. Eight modern indoor pools offer swimming and diving, often with other facilities such as jacuzzis.

If you want to keep fit in more informal ways, you can simply take off on foot, by bike or possibly on horseback. Many walking routes are waymarked and stiles have been provided in many places.

Shetland is heaven on earth and one day, not too far away, I would love to move there to live and work.

Going out

Shetland has a thriving cultural life and music is at the heart of much of it. Every genre has its followers in Shetland; folk, jazz, country and blues enthusiasts have their own festivals. There’s classical music from a local orchestra and occasional visiting ensembles. Events take place in local community halls throughout the islands, as well as in Lerwick; traditional dances are a very special part of rural life.

Our superb arts centre, Mareel, offers a concert hall and two cinemas showing a wide range of films and occasional productions from London’s west end stage via National Theatre Live. Many people take part in amateur and youth drama, often presented in the Garrison Theatre. Shetland is firmly established on the British comedy circuit, too: recent visitors have included Ross Noble, Dylan Moran and Mark Steel.

There are galleries to visit in Lerwick, Weisdale and Yell, with every kind of visual art and craft represented in exhibitions by our many practising artists or those from farther afield. We have an annual literary festival, too.

When it’s time for a drink or a meal, our restaurants and cafés offer excellent local produce, including the freshest of seafood and tasty Shetland lamb. There’s a selection of pubs and bars, plus a nightclub.

Moving house

It may seem a long way, and yes, there is a ferry crossing (or maybe more than one) involved. But there is no special difficulty in moving your household goods to Shetland, with many removal companies to choose from. You can use a company based in your own home area or here in Shetland.

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