You may know that I was up in Shetland a couple of weeks ago on work experience and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that I did a little exploring while I was there.
The Shetland Islands are a group of islands, the largest being called the mainland with numerous surrounding islands such as Foula, Fair Isle and Yell. I was staying in Lerwick which is on the mainland and unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go to the other islands but I plan to go back up at some point to explore some of these too.
Shetland may only be an hour and a half away from Glasgow by plane but it is so different to anywhere that I’ve been on the Scottish mainland. I was a little surprised when I picked up the hire car and was told, just follow the main road up to Lerwick. Sure enough when I got out the airport there was only road that I could go on – and even with my terrible sense of direction I made it easily up to Lerwick.
I found the town to be very central and with the hire car it was easy to visit different parts of the island, although there are a lot of single track roads with sheep wandering across them (not something you see in Glasgow!).
This post will focus on things to see and do in Lerwick and the next post which will be up next Tuesday will look at other place on the island.
Places to walk
This was a lovely little walk along the coast which you can get to by going down Sletts Road and will take you out near Tesco. It’s a short walk but has some lovely scenery – I think it would look lovely in the sun. I went here the first day I came and as you can see from the pictures the weather wasn’t the best.
The Clickimin Loch
The loch is a great place to go for a walk and has a path all the way round. Since the weather wasn’t the best the day I was here I didn’t get the chance to walk all the way round and didn’t go into the Broch of Clickimin. A broch is drystone hollow walled structure from the Iron Age, the one in Lerwick has been restored too. I did get the chance to see otters while I was walking around the loch, which I discovered are very hard to photograph.
Places to eat
If you’re looking to have some amazing coffee with a nice view then Fjara is the place to go. I’d really recommend the pancakes with maple syrup (which you can also get with bacon). The café has large windows that look out over Breiwick Bay, although you’ll have to be quick to grab a seat at the window as they’re pretty popular as sometimes you can see the seals outside. It’s also a great place to grab a coffee if you’ve just done The Sletts walks. The café is open six days a week 8am to 10pm Tuesday to Saturday and 10am to 10pm on a Sunday.
The café can be found behind the Peerie Shop and they say they strive to make the best espresso based drinks. Peerie is a Shetland word which means small, and although it is a little small there is plenty of seats and even some outside. I have to say the cappuccino here was amazing as was the scone with jam and cream. I visited the café before I headed to the airport but I wish I’d come in sooner, there is nothing better than good coffee served by friendly staff. They use local produce where ever they can and all their scones, muffins and cakes are baked fresh every day. The café is open Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm.
As a vegetarian I’m always on the lookout for anywhere that has a good range of veggie dishes. I found the takeaway menu for the Golden Coach in one of the flats that I was staying in so with quite a few dishes to choose from it would have been rude not to get a take away. I decided to go for the vegetable tempura, which had a lovely light and crispy batter and Kung Po vegetarian chicken and steamed rice. The Golden Coach also has a restaurant area so you can sit in to have a meal.
Places to shop
I bought a lot of fudge to bring back as presents for people and I think this is may be what put my suitcase over the limit resulting in me having to take out a couple of books and carry them through the airport. The fudge was definitely worth it though! I think my two favourites have to be the Shetland Reel Gin and Lime and the Peerie Café Espresso fudge. The Strawberry and Champagne jam is also amazing. They ship worldwide so you can get your Shetland Fudge fix where ever you are.
I’m so glad that they now have an online shop! Mirrie Dancers is the local name used to describe the Northern Lights. You can build your own box from their selection of chocolates, all of which look extremely pretty. Since I love dates I just had to buy their stuffed dates, the crystallised ginger one was definitely my favourite.
I couldn’t help but have a look in the window when I was passing by as everything looked so pretty. The jewellers sell Shetland Jewellery all of which is really lovely but I found myself drawn to a pair of Shetland pony earrings which I just had to have. It’s definitely worth a look if you fancy treating yourself or someone else.
Places to visit
This is Lerwick’s art centre where you can chill out and watch a movie at the cinema, go to a gig that’s being held of grab a casual drink in the café bar. Mareel has two cinemas a larger and a smaller one which offer a range of films which change on a weekly basis. I decided to check out the film Handsome Devil (which I’m planning on doing a review of) and also went to see Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards to review as part of my work experience. The café bar has really nice food, I came here a few nights as the second flat I was in had no wifi and I had some work I had to do. The coffee here is brilliant and the nachos are really good too. I found that the staff were always really friendly and helpful.
I loved seeing the different boats in the harbour each day. It’s probably not that exciting if you stay near the sea but it’s nice to see if you don’t see that type of thing everyday. The second flat I was in had a few of the harbour and I just couldn’t resist going down to take a picture, even if it was 1am.
Shetland’s Jimmy Perez’s house
If you’re a big fan of the BBC show Shetland then you might want to check out the house where the character DI Jimmy Perez stays. The house is on Commercial Street in the Lodberries area and is next to Bain’s beach. The houses here are built into the sea so it’s really interesting to see and definitely worth checking out. You never know you might be lucky and catch them filming a scene!
I’ll be posting part two next Tuesday so keep a look out!
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