Fiddles (Image credit:


Shetlanders love to celebrate the passing of time and the coming of the seasons with festivals and events.

Up Helly Aa (Image credit:

Up Helly Aa

Up Helly Aa and other festivals

The Lerwick Festival Up Helly Aa is the best known of many fire festivals held in Winter time Shetland. They usually mark the end of the Yule period, and celebrate the islands’ past with Viking processions and longship burning. This is a great spectacle, including fancy dress, burning torches and lots of jollity.

The WordPlay festival in September attracts readers and writers for readings and discussions, while the Film Festival, ScreenPlay, runs simultaneously at the Mareel on Lerwick’s waterfront. Or try visiting the islands to attend the Shetland Food Festival with its tastings and special menus, and accompanying Christmas craft fair - or even come to the Wool Week!
The Summer sees a multitude of smaller sports competitions, agricultural shows, the Nature Festival, Lerwick’s Midsummer Carnival, the Classic Motor Show, sailing races, the Round Britain Race, the Shetland-Bergen Race and even the Big Bannock in Northmavine (including must-see garden cultivator racing)…

Folk Festival Fiddlers (Image credit:

Folk Festival Fiddlers

Music Festivals

Each May the Shetland Folk Festival is held. Its roots in Shetland fiddle playing are obvious but it also features the folk music of the rest of the world! Visiting musicians even stay with locals, adding to the safe and invigorating family atmosphere. Also Shetland hosts the Guitar Festival, and later in the year come the September Blues Festival and the October Accordion and Fiddle Festival – a great weekend of skilled musicians and enthusiastic dancers!

Where to stay

Do remember that, around the time of the festivals, the available accommodation on the Shetland Islands will get quickly booked up, so ensure you book soon with us, for a superb holiday of a lifetime.

Accommodation in the Shetland Islands

  • Sumburgh
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    Per person B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 205 reviews
    Rating from 205 reviews
    A superb nineteenth century country house hotel offering modern and comfortable accommodation just five minutes from the airport on beautiful Shetland. Families welcome. 32 rooms.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 205 reviews
    Rating from 205 reviews
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