Lerwick is the friendly capital of the 100 islands and islets of the Shetland. The bustling, cosmopolitan seaport is the islands’ only town, and its wonderful natural harbour is a joy to explore.
Until the 1600s, Leir Vik – Norse for a muddy bay – was little more than a few huts. However, conflict between the British and Dutch, whose fishing fleet fished for herrings off the islands, led to the building of a permanent settlement.[ReadMoreMob] This included Fort Charlotte, which once overlooked the harbour but has now been enclosed by the town following land reclamation.
Despite the wealth created by North Sea oil, modern Lerwick retains many fascinating small shops and historic buildings. Wandering along atmospheric Commercial Street is a delight, and the Böd of Gremista – a “fishing booth” built in 1780, is now a fascinating museum. The ground floor has the salt store and the kitchen, where herrings were hung to dry. Outside the town are the well preserved remains of the Broch of Clickimin, a small Bronze-Age settlement excavated in the last century.
Shetlands' Ancient Settlements
The Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse settlements in Shetland are one of the most important archaeological sites in Scotland.
Jarlshof is located at Sumburgh Head near the southern tip of mainland Shetland, and is an extraordinary site of complex ancient settlements which cover more than 4,000 years of human history. You will be amazed to find such a range of archaeological treasures in one place, including late Neolithic houses, a Bronze Age village, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, a Norse longhouse, a medieval farmstead and a 16th century laird’s house.
RSPB Sumburgh Head
Visit these cliffs during the summer and you'll be privileged to witness the amazing spectacle of thousands of breeding seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, shags and fulmars. Sumburgh Head is also a great place to watch for whales and dolphins, particularly minke whales and orcas.
Shetland’s world-famous small ponies can be seen throughout the island. Appearing to roam wild, the ponies are owned and tended to by local crofters. They stand up to 42 inches, or 107 cms high at four years or older.
From the 1840s, Shetland ponies began to be used in British coal mines as new laws forbade the employment of women,
girls and, later, boys. Hardy, resilient and very strong for their size, the ponies made ideal substitutes as they were able to pass through low underground tunnels hauling truckloads of coal.
Cruises to Lerwick
Departs: Liverpool, United Kingdom • Tue 12 May 2020
11 nights • Black Watch • W2013
Unfortunately, this cruise will not be going ahead as planned. Please click here to find out more >
Sorry, this cruise has been cancelled.
Departs: Rosyth (Edinburgh) • Sat 23 May 2020
5 nights • Balmoral • L2010
- Encompassing two beautiful countries, this short, yet spellbinding escape manages to pack into the highlights of picturesque waterways, islands and a former ‘European Capital of Culture’ into just five nights.
- Enjoy a taste of Norway, with unforgettable scenic cruising by the mighty mountains and rock formations of size-restricted Lysefjord and time to uncover the contrasting sights of Stavanger.
- The Scottish leg of your holiday includes opportunities to capture the unspoilt coastal scenes of the Shetlands; look out for native seabirds such as puffins and fulmars; and marvel at the Orkney’s geological wonders.
From £399ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Wed 17 Jun 2020
8 nights • Black Watch • W2017
- Visiting a trio of inspirational destinations, complemented by hours of unforgettable scenic cruising, you can uncover the diverse delights of breathtaking Norwegian fjords by ship, by rail and on foot.
- Take in the attractions of Bergen – the Bryggen Wharf, Troldhaugen and Mount Fløyen funicular to name just a few; and seek out wonders including the Briksdal Glacier and Lovatnet Lake from Olden.
- Cruise mighty Nordfjord and by Hornelen – Europe’s highest sea cliff – en route to Flåm, starting point of the famous Flåmsbana Railway; and experience a very special diversion into the narrow, winding Nærøyfjord.
From £799ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Thu 25 Jun 2020
16 nights • Black Watch • W2018
- Take exploration to the next level with this enriching expedition and journey to Norway’s northernmost regions in search of unique landscapes and fascinating isolated settlements.
- Spend a week within the Arctic Circle, including two unforgettable days in Spitsbergen experiencing the stunning beauty, remarkable remoteness and fascinating history of Longyearbyen and Pyramiden.
- You’ll also visit Honningsvåg, gateway to the rugged North Cape; Tromsø, home to the iconic Arctic Cathedral and Mount Storsteinen; and even witness the mesmerising midnight sun.
From £1,649ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Rosyth (Edinburgh) • Tue 14 Jul 2020
9 nights • Balmoral • L2016
- During five days of unforgettable island exploration, unearth the treasures of Scotland’s breathtaking remote archipelagos, from native wildlife and dramatic countryside to ancient sites and colourful waterfronts.
- Encounter ponies and huge seabird colonies in the Shetlands; and take the chance to discover the Orkney’s famous historic highlights, such as the Neolithic village of Skara Brae and the stones of Stenness and Brodgar.
- In the Inner Hebrides, you can savour the natural wonders and centuries-old castles of the Isle of Skye; and see Tobermory’s iconic harbour on the Isle of Mull, all before Stavanger offers a taste of Norway.
From £799ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Dover • Wed 15 Jul 2020
9 nights • Boudicca • D2018
- Experience the breathtaking scenery, ancient history and engrossing diversity of beautiful islands and two insightful cities, on this rewarding circumnavigation of the British Isles aboard
- Visits to the rugged Scottish isles of Skye, the Orkneys and the Shetlands will present chances to uncover Neolithic villages; historic castles; fascinating wildlife and spellbinding natural landscapes.
- Meanwhile, Invergordon awaits - gateway to the legendary waters of Loch Ness, while there’s also chances to discover some of the highlights of Cornwall, such as the iconic Eden Project, and beautiful Guernsey.
From £1,229ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Sat 18 Jul 2020
9 nights • Black Watch • W2020
- A classic, nine-night Fred. Olsen fjordland adventure, this cruise takes in a collection of enchanting destinations and spellbinding waterways to bring you culture, history and natural beauty in style.
- Visits to Flåm, Ålesund, Olden and Bergen will provide plenty of highlights, including opportunities to ride the famous Flåmsbana Railway; capture views of Nordfjord from spectacular Loen Skylift; and more.
- Your journeys between each port will be simply unforgettable. You’ll divert into the narrow, size-restricted Nærøyfjord; sail deep into lush-green Nordfjord; and cruise by Hornelen, Europe’s highest sea cliff.
From £1,199ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Wed 05 Aug 2020
8 nights • Black Watch • W2022
- With a mix of remote island exploration, unforgettable scenic cruising and chances to attend two iconic, internationally renowned events, this enriching journey presents Scotland at its diverse best.
- Don’t miss an opportunity to visit Edinburgh from Rosyth, to enjoy the Scottish capital’s International Festival and experience the fantastic performances of the iconic Royal Military Tattoo live and in person.
- There’s opportunities to uncover historic sites, seabird havens and natural wonders in the Orkneys, Shetlands and on the Isle of Skye too; and see stunning sea stacks, beautiful bays and charming castles from aboard Black Watch.
From £1,049ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Fri 25 Sep 2020
12 nights • Black Watch • W2027
- Savour the effortlessly alluring scenery and tranquillity of breathtaking islands in Northern Norway, with explorations of the rugged and remote Lofoten and Vesterålen archipelagos.
- Visit Leknes, for fascinating Viking history and scenes of mountain peaks and beautiful beaches; and the unique ‘Blue Town’ of Sortland; and experience scenic cruising by picturesque Reine.
- Elsewhere, you’ll stop overnight in Tromsø, home of the iconic Arctic Cathedral and Mount Storsteinen; and sail past the Torghatten and Seven Sisters mountains aboard Black Watch.
From £1,689ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Southampton • Wed 20 Jan 2021
9 nights • Balmoral • L2102
- Making the most of a rare wintertime exploration of Norway’s magical fjords, you’ll enjoy a very special seasonal snapshot of inspirational landscapes and enchanting destinations.
- Breathe in crisp, fresh air and savour spectacular scenes with a ride on the incredible Flåm Railway and Bergen’s famous funicular; and enjoy scenic cruising between the islands and islets of Boknafjord.
- After Norway, you’ll sail south via the Shetland Islands for a unique experience – during an overnight stay in Lerwick, you’ll catch all the parades and ceremonies of the unique Up Helly Aa Festival.
From £1,099ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Thu 03 Jun 2021
12 nights • Black Watch • W2112
- With chances to uncover rugged waterways and archipelagos, and experience the magic of the Midnight Sun, immerse yourself in Northern Norway’s unrivalled drama and beauty.
- Enjoy unforgettable small ship scenic cruising into spectacular Trollfjord, Raftsundet and by beautiful Reine; and explore ashore amongst Lofoten and Vesterålen’s astonishing scenery.
- Take in the attractions of Tromsø, including the iconic Arctic Cathedral and Mount Storsteinen; visit charming Kristiansund and Sandnessjøen, and see intriguing Torghatten too.
From £1,799ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Thu 29 Jul 2021
8 nights • Black Watch • W2117
- Create memories that last a lifetime as you sail Scottish Lochs on a smaller ship – the best way to experience the beauty and tranquility of this astonishing part of the world.
- See mighty Ben Nevis in Loch Linnhe and Beinn Ghobhlach towering over Little Loch Broom; Loch Fyne; Fingal Cave’s basalt columns and more.
- Ashore, your call at Fort William could coincide with the annual Lochaber Highland Games, while legendary historic sites, from castles to Neolithic treasures, await you too.
From £1,249ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Rosyth (Edinburgh) • Thu 05 Aug 2021
5 nights • Balmoral • L2124
- In just five nights, visit two beautiful countries to uncover intriguing islands, natural wonders and enchanting wildlife for a short, yet simply unforgettable summer break.
- See magnificent sea stacks guarding the rugged Orkneys; and visit the Shetlands to take in gorgeous coastal scenery, remarkable ancient settlements and wildlife such as iconic native ponies.
- Marvel at the unspoilt beauty of the uninhabited islets of Gáshólmur and Tindhólmur; arch-shaped Drangarnir and picturesque Gásadalur; plus the bird habitats of Hestur Island and Mykines.
From £749ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Sat 28 Aug 2021
5 nights • Black Watch • W2120
- Discover enchanting waterways and remote islands on board Black Watch and experience a memorable snapshot of Scotland’s gorgeous summertime scenery.
- Relax during hours of daytime scenic cruising, taking in historic Duart Castle and the picturesque Sound of Mull, the intriguing Dutchman’s Cap and astonishing Fingal’s Cave.
- Step ashore in the Shetlands and at the Isle of Lewis, to go in search of many more of Scotland’s most famous highlights, such as pretty Lews Castle and iconic Shetland ponies.
From £799ppFares Explained | What's Included