Things to do
Hermaness is Unst's northerly headland and is an important seabird colony managed by NatureScot. Most of the seabirds arrive in late April. Visit in spring and you’ll see fulmars, gulls, shags and gannets as well as puffins and kittiwakes, while in summer you can marvel at the ferocious bonxies (great skuas), who are prone to dive-bombing anyone who gets too close to their nests.
Across from Hermaness, you'll see a group of offshore rocks known as ‘Da Waithing Skerries’. Most prominent is Muckle Flugga with its iconic lighthouse perched on top (as shown in the photograph at the top of this page). Beyond this is Da Shuggi or Out Stack: Shetand's, and indeed Britain's, most northerly point.
You'll find details of a good hike around the Hermaness headland on our Walks page.
Keen of Hamar Nature Reserve
Situated just outside Baltasound and also managed by NatureScot, your first impressions of the Keen of Hamar are probably of a stony wasteground – barren, bleak and lifeless. But a closer look will reward you with a delicate carpet of tiny and often very rare plants including Edmondston's Chickweed – found only in Unst.
Explore Viking heritage
The island of Unst is rich with the archaelogical remains of Viking settlement. There are at least 60 longhouses, the highest density of rural Viking sites anywhere, including Scandinavia. Three have been excavated and you can see a longhouse reconstruction at Haroldswick as well as the 'Skidbladner' – a replica Gokstad ship. Find out more on our Follow the Vikings page.
This 16th century tower house is Britain's most northerly castle. It was built for Laurence Bruce of Cultmalindie – a prominent figure during a turbulent time in Shetland. The castle's ruins can be found on the south-easterly tip of the island, not far from the village of Uyeasound. Find out more about Muness Castle on our World-class archaeology page.
Unst Heritage Centre and Boat Haven
The Unst Heritage Centre gives a fascinating insight into life in Unst over the centuries. The collection of fine lace knitwear on display here is world-renowned. Workshops on knitting and weaving are held there regularly.
Meanwhile, discover the history of Unst's maritime heritage at the Unst Boat Haven, home to a collection of over 20 wooden fishing boats. You'll find out all about the herring fishing years, when Baltasound’s population swelled in the summer to almost 16,000 and was one of Europe's biggest fishing ports.
The distillery at Saxa Vord is the most northerly distillery in Britain and provides guided tasting tours for visitors. Based in the former RAF base, the Shetland Distillery Company produces Shetland Reel gin and whisky. Other attractions on the once-redundant site are the Saxa Vord Resort accommodation, restaurant and bar, while the proposed Shetland Space Centre is another connected venture.