Lerwick is the only town in Shetland and the capital of the islands. It began to build up as a town from the 1600s but it was only in the 1800s that it became the capital of the islands. Scalloway was the capital before that.
Lerwick is a charming little town and has much to see and do. These are just a few suggestions but just ask if there is anything else you would like to see or do.
Shetland Museum and Archives
Shetland Museum and Archives is located in the historic Hay’s Dock area of Lerwick. It is a multi-purpose building and was opened in June 2007 by Queen Sonja of Norway and Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The Museum takes you back to the very beginning of Shetland’s history and leads you through to our more modern history. Other highlights include Da Gadderie with changing exhibitions, the boat hall and the boat shed. There is a gift shop available on the ground floor.
The Town Hall was built in 1882 and officially opened in 1883. There are various stained-glass windows in the Town Hall that tells you all about our history. The main hall is used for weddings and various other functions. Our local councillors use the council chambers to hold their meetings.
Fort Charlotte is a five-sided, artillery fort, which was named after the wife of George III There has been some form of fort here since mid-1600s but the present fort was built in 1781. It has had a varied history over the years and served many purposes. You also get a stunning panorama of Lerwick’s harbour from here.
Jimmy Perez’s House and Lodberries
The Lodberries are a group of houses that were built out from the shore to make it easier to trade with passing boats. There are interesting stories about the exchange of goods in this area, including smugglers' tunnels.
The name has been used for the area and one house in particular is well known. If you are familiar with the TV series “Shetland”, you will recognise one of the houses as belonging to the character Jimmy Perez.
Clickimin Broch is a 2,000-year-old Iron Age tower that overlooks the Clickimin Loch (lake). This impressive round structure gives us evidence of thousands of years of settlement in the area. There are other structures around the broch, dating from other periods. Please let us know if you would like to add this on to your tour.
Up Helly Aa Exhibition
Up Helly Aa is our annual Viking fire festival that takes place on the last Tuesday of January each year. It takes a lot of preparation from October to January, building the galley (Viking longship) and making the torches for burning. This is done in the Galley Shed. However, over the summer months, it is open as a visitor attraction showing you what Up Helly Aa has looked like over the years. It also gives you a better understanding of how much work goes into preparing and making ready for this incredible fiery event.
Shetland Textile Museum
Shetland Textile Museum is housed in the Böd of Gremista, which is also a tourist attraction. The Böd of Gremista dates back to 1780 and was the birthplace of Arthur Anderson, co-founder of the Peninsula and Oriental Shipping Company (P&O).
It was restored and now hosts several exhibits promoting and protecting Shetland’s textile heritage. There are over 300 items in the collection showcasing Fair Isle and Lace knitting, both of which Shetland is famous for all over the world. There is a small shop where knitted goods and knitting items can be purchased.View our Lerwick Walking Tour for small groups