Why choose a cruise to Lerwick?
Lerwick is the capital of the Shetland Isles, a remote, windswept archipelago of more than 100 islands and islets. It’s a town of quaint stone houses, clustered around a picturesque harbour. As you wander around, you’ll discover ancient buildings, interesting museums and atmospheric cafés and bars.
Lerwick is surrounded by natural beauty. A rugged coastline sheltering some stunning, footprint-free beaches, stretches out on either side of the town. Look carefully out to sea and you might catch sight of seals basking offshore. Inland you’ll discover a landscape of rolling green hills speckled with fascinating prehistoric monuments.
A guide to Lerwick’s hotspots
Begin your Lerwick cruise with a stroll down Commercial Street, a narrow road lined with charming historic buildings housing bookshops, cafés, art galleries, boutiques and bars. This is the best place to buy local souvenirs, such as sweaters made with Shetland wool.
If you’re interested in Shetland culture, head to Mareel, the UK’s most northerly arts centre. This contemporary building offers cinema screenings, art exhibitions and live performances. It’s located on the quayside, next to the Shetland Museum – which offers an intriguing insight into 5,000 years of Shetland culture, myths and art – so you can easily visit both.
South-west of the town centre is Clickimin Loch, a pleasant picnic spot. Here you’ll find Clickimin Broch, a rounded stone farmhouse built more than 3,000 years ago, on a small islet in the Loch. You can access it by a small causeway, and explore the archways, ruins and fortifications.
If you arrive in Shetland on a sunny day, take the 12-mile journey to Bannamin Beach. This long swathe of white sand is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, and you’ll often have it completely to yourself. The beach is located near the hamlet of Papil, accessible by public transport.
Cruise lines that sail to the port of Lerwick
The best time to visit Lerwick
Lerwick never gets as hot as mainland Europe. For the best chance of sun, go on your Lerwick cruise during July or August, when the weather averages 15°C, and sometimes rises to the low 20s.
In January, the temperature averages a chilly 4°C. Even so, visiting Lerwick on the last Tuesday of January for Up Helly Aa is recommended. It’s a midwinter fire festival, where squads of ‘Vikings’ march through the town, singing songs and burning a replica longship.
Did you know?
- The local lamb has a unique flavour, due to a diet of seaweed and salty grass
- Lerwick has been burnt down twice throughout history
- Roaming the countryside around Lerwick you’ll find the famous Shetland ponies, which range from 71cm-107cm.