Towns & Villages

    Lerwick, Shetland’s capital, has a strong fishing heritage and is famous for its annual winter fire festival, Up-Helly-Aa.

    Lerwick is Shetland’s only town and has a population of around 7,500, which is about a third of the total number of people in Shetland. The town is centred around its busy harbour while Hay’s Dock was once the centre of Shetland’s fishing industry and boatbuilding and is now home to the splendid Shetland Museum and Archives. There is a great range of shops, restaurants, pubs and hotels in Lerwick as well as a thriving traditional live music scene.

    Other places of interest include Clickimin Broch, an outstanding example of Bronze Age and Iron Age architecture, and Fort Charlotte, built in the 17th century. The Bod of Gremista meanwhile is an 18th century fishing booth, while the Lodberries are old merchants' houses with their own piers.

    Up-Helly-Aa, Britain's biggest and most spectacular fire festival, takes place in Lerwick on the last Tuesday of January and features a torch-lit parade of 1000 people, the burning of a replica Viking longship and all-night dancing and partying.

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