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Stunning seascapes, teeming birds and settlements whose origins are lost in the mists of time, the Shetland Islands are simply special.

As close to Norway as it is to Scotland, Shetland is rugged and remote, with a pristine natural beauty, a unique and ancient culture and wonderful wildlife. Although there are over a hundred islands here, only 16 are inhabited, and our tour offers the opportunity to visit four of them, providing a real taste of the diversity within this amazing archipelago. We also enjoy the simple pleasure of travelling by boat, just as the indomitable inhabitants of these islands have done for hundreds of years.

We visit the Shetland Croft House Museum, a typical 19th century croft, the little island of Mousa, whose Iron Age broch is the best-preserved example  in the world and Jarlshof which provides a unique archaeological insight covering 3000 years of successive settlements. We enjoy a tour of the northern most islands of Yell and Unst, a day of stunning seascapes and pure fresh air  and an optional excursion to Foula, one of the most remote inhabited islands in Britain, is also available.

We will be cruising with Serco Northlink Ferries, whose purpose-built vessels have set new standards for comfort and speed on this route – the ships have all the attributes of a mini-cruise liner. All cabins have en suite shower/toilet facilities and the ship boasts a delightful restaurant where you’ll enjoy some delicious meals featuring locally-sourced produce. There is also a comfortable bar and lounge.

Available departure dates and prices


Stunning seascapes, teeming birds and settlements whose origins are lost in the mists of time, the Shetland Islands are simply special.

Day 1

We depart from our designated departure points and travel to Aberdeen where we will join the Serco Northlink ferry (Hrossey or Hjaltland) for the 1700hrs overnight sailing to Lerwick. Accommodation is provided in comfortable 2-berth cabins with en-suite facilities. Dinner is served on board in the evening.

Day 2

We arrive early in the morning at Lerwick and after our full Scottish breakfast on board we will depart on a full day tour which begins on the South Mainland with a visit to the Shetland Croft House Museum.  The house is a typical thatched croft house of the 19th century restored with traditional materials, low doorways and uneven floors and warmed by a peat fire.  We then head for the southern tip of Mainland Shetland, where we visit the outstanding Prehistoric and Norse Settlement of Jarlshof, with over 3 acres of remains, spanning 3000 years since the days of the Stone Age, including oval shaped bronze age houses, iron age broch and wheel houses, Viking long houses and medieval farmhouses.

After an opportunity for lunch at the Hotel (not included), we cross as foot passengers to the fascinating little island of Mousa. Here we will visit the 2000 year old broch, the best preserved example in the world. The island is also a nature reserve and is rich in wildlife. Storm petrels, Arctic terns and skuas nest here, and harbour seals lounge on the shore. Keep a sharp eye on Mousa Sound and you may also spot porpoises and the odd killer whale.

Overnight accommodation has been arranged at a Hotel in Shetland, where dinner is served in the evening.

Day 3 

After a leisurely breakfast we depart for a full day tour to the northern isles of Yell and Unst. We travel north through Tingwall and Girlsta and past the oil terminal at Sullom Voe, which has transformed life in Shetland over the last 25 years, before arriving at Toft, where the ferry departs for the island of Yell. After a 15-minute crossing we travel across Yell to Gutcher at the north end of the island. After a refreshment stop we make another short ferry crossing to the island of Unst. Here we visit Muness Castle before driving north to Baltasound, our lunch stop. After lunch (not included) we continue northwards again, (about as far north as it is possible to travel by coach in the British Isles) and enjoy the marvellous views from Saxavord Hill. Our return route takes us via East Yell and Burravoe. We return to our hotel in evening where dinner is served. 

Day 4 

After breakfast this morning we will transfer to Lerwick where you are free to explore at your leisure. Alternatively, join our optional excursion, a full day visit to the outer island of Foula. Weather permitting, our private charter boat takes us 25 miles out into the ocean, to the western side of Foula where spectacular cliffs rise to over 1200 feet above the sea and are home to a huge seabird population. We will sail past the detached cliff formations that over the centuries have been sculpted by the sea into great arches, with thousands of skuas, fulmars and kittiwakes circling overhead, before landing on the narrow eastern coastal strip where the crofting townships are situated. We have around three hours ashore here, and we will be met by one of the resident wardens who will give us an insight into both the wildlife and the human dimension on this remote but very special island which leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.  Back at Lerwick we will re-join our ship, which sails at 1900hrs for Aberdeen. Dinner is served on board.

Day 5 

After breakfast on board we will disembark in Aberdeen at around 0900hrs.  We will then return to the original pick up points.

Included in the price

  • 2 nights’ dinner, bed and full breakfast at a comfortable hotel in Shetland. All rooms have private facilities
  • 2 nights’ accommodation in 2-berth cabins on Serco Northlink Ferries MV Hrossey/Hjaltland with dinner and full breakfast. All cabins have private facilities
  • Comfortable coaching throughout
  • Two full day guided coach tours of mainland Shetland and the islands of Yell and Unst, including all ferries and entrance to Jarlshof and Mousa broch
  • Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager


Not included (per person)
  • Single room/cabin supplement                       £200.00
  • Outside Cabin supplement                             £25.00
  • Insurance                                                     £18.50 (under 65); £37.00 (65-74); £55.50 (75-90)
  • Optional full day excursion to Foula (Please note this trip is limited to a maximum of 12 persons)
  • Rail/air travel and overnight accommodation in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth or Aberdeen available on request

Departure points and times:


Depart Return
Glasgow (Millennium Hotel, George Square) 1015 1300
Edinburgh (Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Road) 1130 1200
Dunfermline (outside Carnegie College) 1145 1145
Kinross (Kinross Services) 1200 1130
Perth (Bus stop on Canal Street, Tay Street end) 1215 1100
Dundee (outside Discovery Point) 1330 1030
Arbroath (Railway Station) 1350 1010
Montrose (Railway Station) 1410 0950
Aberdeen (Skene Street, opposite Denburn Car Park) 1500 0900


Please note pick-up points are subject to minimum numbers and all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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A superb holiday - thanks Trish the Tour Manager was very helpful and knowledgeable - the free day was a great idea.

Mr and Mrs Somerville

Pauline our Tour Manager was a wee star, her personality and knowledge make the Highlands come alive.

Mrs Wilson

The staff at our hotel on Islay were young and keen, very pleasant and helpful indeed.

Mr and Mrs Turner
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