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Wildlife Adventures – The Shetland Isles

  • Experience the landscapes and fascinating wildlife of Scotland’s most northerly islands.
  • Be amazed by the prolific birdlife at Sumburgh and the heritage of the Vikings at Jarlshof.
  • Hike to the dramatic coastline of Muckle Flugga, the most northerly point in the UK.
  • Enjoy a boat trip to view the bird colonies at Noss National Nature Reserve where we’ll be deafened by the noise of 20,000 gannets, 25,000 guillemots, 3,000 kittiwakes, 1,200 puffins and hundreds of razorbills, shags and skuas!
  • 6 nights accommodation in a country house hotel
  • Breakfast and packed lunches throughout the trip, from Day 2 through to packed lunch on Day 7 (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • A boat trip to the Noss National Nature Reserve to view the prolific birdlife
  • Entrance fees to the Jarlshof centre
  • The services of an experienced and knowledgeable guide / driver throughout
  • All transport throughout the trip, starting from the ferry terminal on Day 1 and finishing there or at Sumburgh Airport.
  • All ferry transfers while on Shetland

Green Graded Wildlife Holidays 1-3

All of our wildlife trips are graded Green and involve straightforward hiking with no major ascents, as well as other activities which are pitched at novice level. You can expect to be active for around 5 hours each day so you will need a reasonable level of fitness. Please note that there may be some early starts and late nights as we seek to maximise our chances of finding wildlife, although you can always opt out of activities if you prefer an early night or long lie in the morning!

So to help you decide if you are fit enough for this kind of trip, ask yourself:

  1. Are you generally active and, for example, happy to hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascent, with rough ground in places?
  2. Are you up for a challenge and trying new activities such as sea kayaking or boat trips?
  3. Are you looking for a wildlife trip which involves more than simply sitting in a hide?


Accommodation on this trip is at the wonderful Busta House Hotel, well regarded as the best hotel in the Shetland Isles. Located on the shore of sheltered Busta Voe on mainland Shetland, Busta House blends history, romance and intimacy with an attention to detail which makes for a perfect stay. The house was built during the 16th, 17th & 18th century and is steeped in history – it is even said to have a resident ghost!

At Busta House food plays a major role in your experience – especially Shetland produce. Shetland hill lamb, free range pork from Unst, fresh seafood from all around the islands – Muckle Roe mussels, halibut from Bressay, Yell Sound scallops, organic salmon from Unst.

Although evening meals are not included in the trip cost, we will dine at Busta House several times during the week, where you can choose from its excellent restaurant or its extensive bar menu.

On this trip we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.


There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will look into this for you. A single room supplement of £225 is charged if a single room is available – please see booking form terms and conditions.

Due to the small size of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.

  • You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Holmsgarth Ferry Terminal at 8:30am on Day 1 of your trip. If staying in Shetland the night before we recommend finding accommodation in Lerwick.
  • Shetland is reached by an overnight ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick (operated by Northlink Ferries). Alternatively, Flybe operate flights to Sumburgh Airport from Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
  • Upon booking the trip, please confirm whether you will travelling to Shetland by ferry or plane. If you are flying to Shetland, please arrive the day before the trip starts to ensure a prompt start for the group on Day 1.
  • For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website:

Trip Details

Join us on an unforgettable journey to the Shetland Isles, a little-visited archipelago of more than 100 exposed islands lying far north of the Scottish mainland, as close to Norway as they are to Scotland.

People have worked the land and sea around Shetland for 5000 years, leaving a mysterious legacy of ruined forts, ancient houses and standing stones.

The islands are also rich in wildlife. Huge colonies of seabirds cling to plunging cliffs. Sea life such as cetaceans and seals play in the rolling waves. On land rare flora twitch in the sea breeze while underwater vast kelp forests roll in the tide.

In the company of your highly knowledgeable guide you will gain privileged insight into the unique history and natural world of Shetland as you explore the varied landscapes of these isles on day hikes to their wildest and most dramatic places. Here, you will experience the incredible wealth of birdlife, marine life and wild flowers that in the wild places of these intriguing islands.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Meet in Lerwick, Walking in the Shetland Isles

This morning you will meet your guide at the ferry terminal in Lerwick. The trip starts shortly after the arrival of the overnight ferry from Aberdeen, or you may choose to fly to Shetland and stay in Lerwick the night before. We drive north to the little island of Muckle Roe where we enjoy a stunning coastal walk to North and South Ham. Afterward we settle in to our accommodation. Tonight before dinner your guide will then formally welcome everyone to Shetland and deliver a full trip briefing. (D)

Day 2 – Jarlshof and Bird Watching on Shetland

We visit Jarlshof pre-historic site and walk to Sumburgh Head RSPB Reserve for some birdwatching. We enjoy a wonderful coastal walk with excellent views of sea bird colonies including gannets, auks and bonxies. Whales can also be spotted offshore sometimes. If time permits, we will explore the Ness of Burgi Stone Age Fort. (B, L)

Day 3 – Coastal Walk on Shetland

One of the best coastal walks in Shetland is found just a short drive north of our hotel at the superb headland of Eshaness. Here we will explore the fascinating coastal scenery around the Villains of Ure, the Grind of the Navir and the Holes of Scraada. (B, L)

Day 4 – Walking on the islands of Yell and Unst

Today we travel by ferry to the islands of Yell and Unst in north east Shetland. On Unst we will walk to Herma Ness, which is one of the largest breeding colonies of Bonxie in the world. This is a superb and wild spot to gaze out across the sea to the sensationally placed lighthouse on the island of Muckle Flugga, and the tiny rock of Out Stack, the most northerly point of land in the United Kingdom. (B, L)

Day 5 – Bird-watching cruise to Noss & Bressay

The cliffs of Noss and Bressay are a haven for seabirds. In one of the world’s prime locations for bird-watching, the Noss National Nature Reserve is home to 20,000 Gannets, 25,000 Guillemots, 3,000 Kittiwakes, 1,200 Puffins and hundreds of Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Shags and Skuas. We’ll enjoy a cruise round the spectacular cliffs in what is sure to be a highlight of this trip. (B, L)

Day 6 – Walking up Ronas Hill: Shetland’s highest peak

Today we head north from our hotel and cross the narrow isthmus of Mavis Grind to Northmavine – a northern peninsula of Shetland. Here we walk through an Arctic landscape to the summit of Ronas Hill, Shetland’s highest peak at 450 metres. (B, L, D)

Day 7 – Coastal Walk on St Ninian’s Isle

This morning we drive to southern Shetland and walk across a beautiful sandy tombolo that connects to St. Ninian’s Isle for great views out to the island of Foula. Afterwards we head back into Lerwick for a short walk around The Knab before the trip ends again at the ferry terminal. (B, L)

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Prices and Dates

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2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Trip Status
13th Apr - 19th Apr 2019
8 place(s) left
27th Apr - 3rd May 2019
8 place(s) left
11th May - 17th May 2019
2 place(s) left
22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2019
7 place(s) left
29th Jun - 5th Jul 2019
8 place(s) left
13th Jul - 19th Jul 2019
4 place(s) left
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Trip Reviews

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Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

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Rated 4.91 out of 5 based on 53 review(s) of Wildlife Adventures – The Shetland Isles

5 star 48

4 star 5

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Marjolein van Veldhuizen 20/06/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

The Shetland trip was our third with Wilderness Scotland and another wonderful experience also due to the smooth organisation and the great guide. We are already looking into our next trip. Can't wait!

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by Ian Caldwell 15/06/2018

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

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by Ann Maclean 14/06/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Experience of a life time!!! Want to do another trip as soon as possible, and hopefully with Kristy!

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by Gavin Bateman 12/06/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Been on six and this was the best yet.

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Price from: £1,725

Next trip: 13th April

Duration: 6 night(s)

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Region: Orkney and Shetland Isles

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 2

53 review(s)

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