Have you ever wondered about the northernmost point of the United Kingdom? That would be the Shetland Islands! This gathering of small islands is known for its incredible views, green fields, brisk waters, and wonderful food! It also has an incredible history that is still felt today through its Viking roots! So, let’s get to know this beautiful area better together with some fun facts about the Shetland Islands.
1. Where are the Shetland Islands?
The Shetland Islands are situated in Scotland. They are actually part of a grand archipelago that can be found between the Faroe Islands, Orkney, and Norway. Shetland is also the most northern region of the United Kingdom.
2. An archaeologist’s dream!
Believe it or not, there are around 8,000 different archaeological sites and monuments across the Shetland Islands! Humans have long lived in the area, so if you’re a history buff, you really couldn’t find anywhere better for a holiday!
3. Vikings once called them home.
The Shetland Islands are particularly well-known for their Viking history! They were colonized by our horned ancestors back in the 9th century. You can still feel their influence across the islands!
4. Scotland’s got a claim to the area.
The Scottish claimed ownership of the Shetland Islands back in the 14th Century. They have proudly kept the lands ever since!
5. Culturally rich!
For a small area, the Shetland Islands have a variety of different cultures mixing together! They are known for their incredible myths and wonderful folk music. You may even come across a trow or two (the Shetland version of elves).
6. What’s the link to Denmark?
Denmark also played a big role in the Shetland Islands’ history! In fact, the islands were only returned to the Scottish back when Princess Margaret of Denmark brought the rights to them with her when she married James III of Scotland.
7. There’s actually plenty to see and do out here.
Given their small size, it may seem as though there is not a lot to do on the Shetland Islands. However, this is not the case! In fact, the Shetland Islands play host to festivals such as Shetland Wool Week, Shetland Folk Festival, and more!
8. Food is wonderful here.
If you are ever vacationing on the Shetland Islands, be sure to bring your appetite! Tourists often praise the best mussels in Britain found there, or even the incredibly tender home-grown, free-running lamb.
9. There are scores of islands across the Shetland area.
As an archipelago, there are about 100 islands that form the Shetland Islands! While they are all accessible by boat, there are only 16 of the islands that are currently inhabited. If you want some alone time, though, you know where to go!
10. The biggest island is…
The largest island in the Shetland Islands is aptly named Mainland – it’s aptly named because most of the Shetland Island inhabitants live there. It currently has just over 18,000 inhabitants!
11. What animals live in the Shetland Islands?
The Shetland Islands are also a great place for animal lovers! There you will find all kinds of fish, exotic birds (such as the red-necked phalarope), otters, and of course ponies.
12. Speaking of ponies!
As you can imagine, the world-famous Shetland ponies do indeed come from the Shetland islands! These tiny horses measure between 28 and 42 inches high and are surprisingly strong, despite their stature.
FAQs about The Shetland Islands
How long is the ferry from Scotland to the Shetland Islands?
The most commonly used ferry between Scotland and the Shetland Islands is the Aberdeen Lerwick ferry route. It takes about 12 hours and 30 minutes to complete the journey.
How many people live in the Shetland Islands?
There are currently nearly 23000 people living in the Shetland Islands. They are spread out over 374 square miles.
Are the Shetland Islands worth visiting?
Yes, the Shetland Islands are definitely worth visiting! They have a rich history and culture and are visually stunning!
Do you know any fun facts about The Shetlands? Share them in the comments below!