One of the busiest hubs, Lerwick harbor welcomes up to 25,000 cruise passengers to Shetland a year. It has long been a port-of-call for cruise ships which have arrived in record numbers over the last decade. With nearly 50 ships in a single season, Lerwick is one of Scotland's top cruise ship destinations.
Cruise ships up to 205 meters in length can berth alongside at the Port. Larger ships anchor in Bressay Sound, with passengers just five minutes by launch from a floating pontoon in a sheltered dock close to the town center. The small 1.7 meter tidal range facilitates transfer.
In Spring 2007 a fantastic new museum complex opened on the Lerwick waterfront. It is situated at a restored historic dock just a few minutes walk from the new floating pontoon system and ship berths. A new welcome ashore pavilion, introduced in 2010, provides a dedicated facility for passengers to receive orientation and information.
A shuttle bus to and from the Town center (1 km) for ships berthed at Holmsgarth and basic orientation information and advice on independent activities is available to guests not taking part in pre-arranged shore excursions.
Webcams of the port and town.
Cruise calendar for this port and where you will be docked or anchored.
Watch a destination video.
Lerwick is a fascinating place at any time of year. In summer, its waterfront is brightened by yachts and cruise liners from ports around the North Atlantic. In winter, the harbor is a refuge for all kinds of craft and the twists and turns of Commercial Street defeat the wildest weather. The town had the humblest of beginnings as a scattering of huts along the shore occupied during the Dutch fishing season, but grew apace from the seventeenth century.
Above the winding shoreline track which became Commercial Street, development was tightly packed into a patchwork of narrow lanes. In the 19th century, new docks to accommodate the fishing fleet were created to the north of the town. At Freefield, Hay's dock was the center of Shetland's fishing industry and the largest ship built in Lerwick, the barque `North Briton', took to the water here in 1836.
By the late 19th century, the more prosperous citizens were moving from the old part of town to flatter land west of the Hillhead and continued to expand to become a thriving and welcoming place of around 7,600 people serving all the 23,000 inhabitants of Shetland.
There's a wide range of accommodation, a choice of good places to eat, pubs and clubs to suit most tastes and some of the most advanced indoor leisure facilities in Britain. Lerwick is also an excellent place to sample Shetland's internationally celebrated musical heritage. The islands are best known for their fiddle music, but there's a wealth of talent embracing a wide range of styles.
Stone flagged Commercial Street, the heart of the town, is the first Cruise Port for most visitors. Winding between tall stone buildings it gives a unique character to one of the finest small town centers in Britain and the hub of much of Shetland's social and business life.
Above Commercial Street, 'The Lanes' have been rescued from earlier dereliction and sheltered, wooded private gardens are bright with fuchsia and flowering currant. As today's street signs acknowledge, the Lanes were originally "Lops" and "Mosses", but were renamed by the Commissioners of Police in 1845 to reflect personalities or themes of that time, hence Pitt, Reform and Fox Lanes.
A little way southwest of the Fort is Lerwick's Town Hall, a beautifully preserved building with Scots Baronial and Gothic influences designed by Alexander Ross and completed in 1883 by local builder John M. Aitken, at a cost of £3,240. Armorial work recalls many of the town's cultural and trading links. Rich stained glass best seen in late afternoon or evening sunlight depicts characters from Shetland's history. A guidebook is available. Across the road from the Town Hall, prominent crow-stepped gables lend the more restrained County Buildings a particularly Scottish flavor. They house the sheriff court, police station and cells.
On Lower Hillhead, the Shetland Museum tells the islands' story from prehistory to the present, with a good collection of archaeological finds and fascinating detail on crafting and fishing. The Library's `Shetland Room' reflects the proliferation of writing about Shetland.
Arthur Anderson was born in 1792 in the Böd of Gremista, now a museum celebrating his life. As a youth, he helped with the curing and drying of fish and in 1808 joined the Royal Navy. He later joined a London partnership running ships to Spain and Portugal which was to become the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O). A philanthropist, Anderson provided funds for the establishment of the Anderson Institute (now Anderson High School).
It is easily walked and there is lots of beautiful village and countryside to see.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
Most shops are also open on Sundays.
The currency throughout the UK is the pound (£). You may also hear the slang term quid for pounds. Scottish bank notes are frowned upon in other parts of the UK, so change the notes before leaving Scotland.
Cash machines (ATM) or less formally 'holes in the wall' are very widely available and usually dispense £10 and £20 notes.
Visa, Mastercard and Maestro, are accepted by most shops and restaurants.
English is spoken throughout the country, but sometimes with heavy accents!
Most cafe's and restaurants offer free WiFi.
The local emergency telephone number is 999, however the EU-wide 112 can also be used.
Shopping hours are in general:
Small stores 6 or 7 days a week (10am - 6pm)
Larger stores in general stay open til' 9PM
Hyper marts often 24/7
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