Culture in Shetland

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  • Mareel © Phatsheep Photography courtesy of Shetland Arts
    Mareel © Phatsheep Photography courtesy of Shetland Arts
  • Scalloway Museum
    Scalloway Museum
  • Shetland Folk Festival
    Shetland Folk Festival
  • Shetland Museum and Archives, Lerwick
    Shetland Museum and Archives, Lerwick
  • The night time procession of Up Helly Aa in Lerwick
    The night time procession of Up Helly Aa in Lerwick

From Vikings to Scots, Shetland’s culture stems from diverse roots which makes it truly remarkable. Discover the incredible array of attractions scattered across the isles which speaks of the region’s fascinating creativity.

Shetland’s culture and creativity is greatly refected through various forms of arts. Experience today’s islands culture of traditional music, literature, woollen and craftwork which greatly demonstrate the islands' unique traditions, but still give the region a cosmopolitan feel.

Delve into Shetland’s thriving creative scene by attending the fantastic range of arts and culture events. Shetand is proud of its traditions and the islanders always find something to celebrate. For folk music visit the Shetland Folk Festival, for Europe’s largest fire festival, Up Helly Aa, head to Lerwick in January, or why not visit Mareel, an art venue and creative industries centre in Lerwick?

Since the Viking times onwards, Shetland’s culture and history have figured in literature and oral traditions remains strong too. The art of storytelling can be still experienced thanks to the Shetland Storytelling Society which regales audience at many local festivals and events across the isles and beyond.

Visit the many excellent galleries such as the Bonhoga Gallery in Shetland and admire a diverse array of artworks. From paintings and drawings inspired by the islands’ captivating landscape to ceramics and unique pieces created from timber and glass, there’s a vast collection of artworks waiting to be discovered, and which are also available for purchase at the many arts and crafts shops.

Museums are another great source of information to discover the islands’ captivating past. Learn everything about Shetland’s history from its earliest geological origins to the present day at the Scalloway Museum and the Shetland Museum and Archives, and discover how islanders once lived at the Unst Heritage Centre.

There is a great number of various archeological sites scattered throughout the islands which are the remaining of the Viking culture. From the prehistoric settlement of Jarlshof in Sumburgh to Iron Age brochs and Viking boats, step back in time and explore the region’s fascinating history and culture.