A blend of Scotland and Norway, Shetland has a unique culture with an abundance of wildlife and stunning scenery.
The scenery is quite extensive for such a small area and is easily accessible by road. The sunsets are spectacular and the Northern Lights and Simmer Dim can be seen in the long summer evenings.
The islands have been visited since the Neolithic times the Nousa Broch is over 2,000 years old. The Viking and the Norse influence is visible today in the Shetland dialect and place names. The festival of Up Helly Aa (a Viking fire festival) is celebrated in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January.
A great place for an activity holiday for all the family – enjoy mountain biking, trout fishing, scuba diving and golf.
The most dramatic views entering Orkney can by seen from the ferry ride from Scrabster to Stromness as it sails past the red stone sea-stack of the Old Man of Hoy and the cliffs of St John’s Head the highest vertical cliff in the UK.
There are great ferry links from the main island to the other islands. Orkney offers a variety of activities from golfing, walking, sailing, cycling and fishing. There is approx 600 miles of coastline to explore with plenty of opportunities for water sportsenthusiasts.
Part of Orkney is a world heritage site because of the number of prehistoric sites such as Maeshowe and stone circles at Stennes and Brodgar.
Modern Orkney has many jewellery manufacturers and lots of artists and crafts people working there whose studios and workshops open to the public.
The Outer Hebrides
Also known as the Western Isles they stretch for 130 miles and have a mix of landscapes from golden sands, to heather backed mountains and peat bogs.
Only a handful of the hundreds of islands that form the Hebrides are inhabited.
The northernmost island in the Hebrides is Lewis and Harris. Formed of one island they are considered separate as they have different cultures, traditions and heritage. Stornoway the main town of Lewis is a fishing port and the centre of island life. Harris is the home of Harris Tweed.
The Hebrides has a Gaelic culture the language of which is spoken by the islanders. The islands make an ideal holiday for walkers and cyclists, while the beaches are great for surfers with high quality fishing. Dine on some of the best sea food from the clean waters in the Hebrides.