Getting to Shetland

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  • Sumburgh Airport, Mainland, Shetland
    Sumburgh Airport, Mainland, Shetland
  • An aerial view of the coastline on West Mainland from the window of a small aeroplane on a scheduled flight to Isle of Foula
    The coastline on West Mainland from the window of a small aeroplane on a scheduled flight to Isle of Foula, Shetland

Shetland may be the most northerly point of the British Isles, but a range of transport options make it easily accessible.

By land and sea

By road

If you wish to take your car to Shetland, drive to Aberdeen where you can take your vehicle on the ferry.

You can find up-to-date traffic information from Traffic Scotland.

By train

Travel by train to Aberdeen, where you can get a ferry to Shetland from the nearby harbour. More information on train timetables can be found on the ScotRail or National Rail websites.

By bus

There are a number of bus services which go to Aberdeen, where you can get the ferry to Shetland. Visit the Traveline website for more information.

By ferry

Get the ferry from Aberdeen via the Serco NorthLink ferry, which leaves every evening, and start your break as soon as you step aboard the cruise-style ship. The ferry takes around 12 hours to travel between Aberdeen and Lerwick, generally arriving at 7.30am. Early risers might be greeted by the sight of Fair Isle in the distance, before passing by Sumburgh Head and docking in Lerwick Harbour.

Due to its location, Shetland is also a popular cruise ship destination, with visits throughout the islands all year. Popular ports to visit include Lerwick, Fair Isle and Scalloway.

By air

There are regular Flybe flights to Sumburgh Airport, which is operated by Loganair and is 25 miles south of Lerwick. Direct flights to Shetland are available from Aberdeen (1 hr), Edinburgh (1 hr 30 mins), Glasgow (1 hr 30 mins), Inverness (1 hr 5 mins) and Kirkwall in Orkney (35 mins).

From the end of March 2014, connecting flights from Norwich and Cardiff will be available via Edinburgh Airport and will be operated by Loganair.

Sumburgh is regularly serviced by bus providers and taxis, while there are also car rental opportunities. There is a VisitScotland Information Centre in the airport, offering advice and brochures on accommodation, travel and attractions across the isles.

There are several options for flying to Shetland - the best way to find the most competitive fares for flying around Scotland is to search on comparison sites such as SkyScanner, Travel Supermarket and Cheapflights.