The ancient fishing port of Lerwick, is the cultural and administrative hub of the Shetland Islands, the most northerly islands in Britain. The town itself dates from the 17th century, when it began to grow as a trading port for Dutch herring fishermen. Local merchants built Lodberries (houses with their own piers) to serve incoming fishing boats direct from their own properties, which still stand along the harbour front.
Overlooking the harbour is Fort Charlotte, built in 1665 and later rebuilt in 1781. The Fort provides panoramic views over the harbour, which, though not in use today, was once a prison and a Royal Navy reserve base.
Admire the exterior of the Lerwick Town Hall, a charming Victorian building that was completed in 1884, due to the wealth the herring industry brought.
A visit to the Shetland Museum and Archives, opened in 2007, provides an interesting insight into island life, past and present. View the various displays of archaeology, folk life, social and maritime history, as well as exhibitions of contemporary art.
You’ll also explore the intriguing ‘closses’ (narrow lanes), which run from the harbour area to the top of the hill, home to many secret tales from the lives of the town’s inhabitants. One of Shetland’s most famous sons, Arthur Anderson, founder of the Peninsular and Oriental shipping corporation (P&O), is also intimately connected with the town.
This excursion will operate on foot. The walk includes several steep lanes and some cobbled terrain. Flat, walking shoes are essential.