Shetland With Kids

Shetland is a great place for an active family holiday, with a full range of indoor and outdoor activities. The fresh air, quiet surroundings and freedom provide the perfect destination for families travelling with kids.

Outdoor adventures in Shetland are easy to find, with so many natural attractions. At Sumburgh Head, children can get involved in wildlife spotting and download interactive activity sheets to complete during their visit. Taking the ferry to Mousa RSPB reserve is also quite an adventure and Mousa Broch, the best preserved of its kind in the world, is well worth a visit.

Shetland's natural landscape is ideal for exploring with children. There are so many rockpools, spectacular beaches and burns to be discovered. One of the most attractive beaches in Shetland is St Ninian’s – a sand tombolo which joins St Ninian’s Isle to the mainland and is brilliant for walks, barbecues, paddling and building sandcastles. For more inspiration, read our pick of Shetland's best beaches.

Or, if your kids like animals, visit a real Shetland working croft at Burland Croft Trail, on Tronda. Let the children feed the animals and learn more about this traditional lifestyle and native Shetland breeds.

This is a fantastic location. We now have a young family and would like to return with the littlies.

Shetland was awarded membership of the Global Geoparks Network in 2009. Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark brings to life fascinating stories behind Shetland’s geology and geographical location. Take a walk on the wild side to Eshaness and view the best section through the side of a volcano in the British Isles!

Many of the archaeological and historical sites within Shetland are also fun for children. Scalloway Castle and also Muness Castle are favourites, as the ruins are quite well preserved. Old Scatness and Viking Unst both show how life used to be, with living history activities. There are also many heritage centres around Shetland, which tell stories of Shetland’s past through interesting displays and artefacts. Many have interactive elements where kids can get involved. Quendale Water Mill, Croft House Museum, Tangwick Haa, the Old Haa in Yell, Unst Heritage Centre and Fetlar Interpretive Centre are only a few suggestions. Not to be missed however, is the Shetland Museum and Archives which tells Shetland’s story from its geological beginning to the present day. There are over 3,000 artefacts, including boats suspended from the roof in the stunning Boat Hall. With children’s activities regularly organised and many interactive displays and games, you could make a day of it.

My visit this summer was the fourth and I've never been disappointed. Would love to bring my three young grandchildren who all like birdwatching.

Shetland also boasts 74 play parks, a few of which you are sure to come across while touring around the islands and some lovely woodland areas at Michaelswood and Gairdins i Sand. We also have 8 leisure centres, perfect for days when the weather is not ideal for the outdoors. The main one is the Clickimin Leisure Centre, in Lerwick, which has become a major holiday attraction with an excellent range of leisure facilities for the whole family. The other centres are located all across Shetland and offer swimming pools and sports halls where you can enjoy activities like badminton, squash and football.

For creative kids there is also a family-friendly pottery studio on Lerwick's Commercial Street. Items you make are left to be glazed and fired and then can be picked up or posted on, if required.

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