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Lerwick Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History

    The town’s name comes from the Old Norse word Leirvík, meaning muddy bay. The area began as a marketplace for Dutch herring fishermen and fishing has always remained a central part of its identity. Most of the sandstone buildings on the waterfront date from the 18th century.

  • 2. Now

    Lerwick is Shetland’s capital and its only town. About half of the island’s 22,000 people live within 10 miles. Lerwick is made up of the old town and new town areas. It is a busy and modern port town that is popular with tourists. The hospitality industry is a major employer in the town.

  • 3. Events

    The Up Helly Aa is a huge event on Lerwick’s annual calendar, when the town is taken over by fire. This one-day celebration at the end of January includes a huge bonfire, a procession and much more. The Shetland Folk Festival, in May, is a world famous event that includes performances from many top musicians from the folk world. Many of the concerts sell out during this popu...Read morelar four-day event. Shetland Nature Festival takes place in July and includes events all over the island to celebrate its natural heritage. Many events take place in Lerwick and there are activities to suit all ages. Fiddle Frenzy is a seven-day celebration of traditional fiddle music and includes many events in the town’s Garrison Theatre. The festival is made up of concerts, workshops, dances and more. Read less

  • 4. Attractions

    ...Read mored of Gremista is a former fisherman’s house containing hands-on exhibits, a textile collection and changing exhibitions. This attraction is run by volunteers and is open from May to September. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do

    The Shetland Islands are a popular destination for those wanting to enjoy the great outdoors. Popular activities to take part in on Shetland include walking, cycling, golf, trout fishing, sea angling, sailing, surfing, diving and photography. The Clickimin Leisure Complex includes a 25-metre pool with flumes, river ride, giant bubble pool, toddlers’ pool and outdoor lagoon a...Read mores well a sauna, steam room and spa pool. The centre also includes a sports hall, bowls hall, multi-use studio, squash courts, fitness centre, outdoor sports pitches and athletics arena. Read less

  • 6. Business

    The Toll Clock Shopping Centre, in Lerwick, is a popular shopping destination in the town and has a vast selection of stores and places to eat and drink. The centre includes free parking facilities. The main shopping streets in the town centre offer a choice of high street names and independent retailers as well as plenty of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes.

  • 7. Transport

    There are flights to Shetland every day from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Sumburgh Airport is 25 miles from Lerwick. Car ferries travel to Lerwick every night from Aberdeen, arriving early in the morning.

  • 8. Entertainment

    The Garrison Theatre is the main venue for live entertainment in the town. Its programme of events includes community and professional shows of live theatre, stand up comedy, concerts, pantomime and dance. The theatre is also home to the town’s cinema, showing all the latest film releases. The Clickimin Leisure Centre is also used for concerts, cabaret events and various gal...Read moreas and shows. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks

    Lerwick Town Hall is a Gothic building that dominates the landscape and features stained glass windows depicting Shetland's Norse/Scots history. Fort Charlotte is a five-sided artillery fort. It was first built in 1665 to protect the area against the Dutch and was burnt down and rebuilt in 1781. Clickimin Broch is an Iron Age tower on the edge of the town and is easy to acces...Read mores. Scalloway Castle is the remains of a mansion built in 1600 by Patrick Stewart, Earl of Orkney, and includes a 17th century dungeon with displays. Read less

  • 10. Interesting Fact

    Lerwick is more than 100 miles from the British mainland. It is the most northern town in Scotland and also the most easterly.

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