Lerwick, Shetland's capital, takes its name from the Old Norse Leirvík meaning muddy bay. Sheltered by Bressay, the natural harbour attracts a wide range of visiting craft. The town has a lot to offer visitors and will introduce you to Shetland's unique identity.
enlarge Lerwick became important relatively late in Shetland's history, building on the trade from the Dutch herring industry, only becoming capital in the 17th century.
At Freefield, Hay's Dock was the centre of Shetland's fishing industry and the largest ship built in Lerwick, the barque North Briton, took to the water here in 1836. The dock is now home to the Shetland Museum and Archives.
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 the town has continued to expand to become a thriving and welcoming place of around 7,600 people serving all the 23,000 inhabitants of Shetland. There is a wide range of accommodation, a choice of eateries, pubs and clubs. Lerwick is also an excellent place to sample Shetland's internationally-celebrated musical heritage. The islands are best known for their traditional music, but there's a wealth of talent embracing a wide range of styles.
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For more information about Lerwick, download our free Lerwick brochure [.pdf approx. 1,5Mb]