frequently asked questions


Our holidays...are just that - holidays! Relaxed, easy going and not operated at a frenetic pace. For 2019, we've created a unique blend of itineraries to bring you the very best of Shetland. We continue to run our highly popular week-long holidays dedicated to wildlife, walking and photography. We have two bird-migration holidays that are based here in Shetland and incredible trips to Orkney and Mull / Iona. For those with a little less time we bring you our three-day Shetland Experience holiday and a series of outstanding wildlife adventure cruises. Our overseas portfolio also features some superb trips to the best wildlife-watching regions of France, Spain, Finland, Norway, Hungary and Romania.

What are your groups like? In our experience, successful wildlife watching is impossible in large groups so we restrict our holidays to 6 - 12 travellers, with 8 being the norm. In offering small-group holidays, we're able to give a high level of personal attention and ensure that we all enjoy good and prolonged views of birds, mammals and other wildlife. Please refer to each holiday for details of maximum group sizes. Our age range of travellers is diverse, but all share an enjoyment of wildlife and the great outdoors. We welcome everyone from the complete beginner to the expert - as our guides are great advocates of increasing everyone's knowledge! Although far from strenuous, some of our holidays do involve a fair degree of walking and thus a reasonable level of fitness. If you have any questions about the level of ability required for any of our holidays, please call our office. Please note that we operate a NO SMOKING policy in our vehicles and aboard boats and would also ask smokers to refrain in the company of other travellers.

...and your guides? In our effort to offer the very best wildlife holidays, we provide the very best guides - it's that simple! We choose our guides for their incomparable knowledge combined with their enthusiasm and consideration for our travellers. All of our guides have an intimate affinity with Shetland, know the logistics of our holidays inside out and have worked in their respective fields for many years. How many wildlife holiday companies can provide local guides who have written the definitive work on Shetland's natural history or offer guides who are actually involved in managing our internationally important national nature reserves? We can!

How do we spend our time? Most mornings we offer an optional pre-breakfast walk for early risers. This could include a 'sweep' for migrant birds in May, or a walk for photographers to capture the wonderfully crisp early morning light. We understand that you're on holiday - so don't be afraid to ask for a lie-in! Breakfast is typically between 7.30 and 8.30, depending on our daily schedule, to take advantage of morning wildlife activity. Lunch is usually taken at a small hotel, but on days of glorious weather we picnic al fresco, amid wonderful scenery and wildlife. We continue with activities and return to our hotel or guest house late in the afternoon, in time to freshen up before dinner. We call through the wildlife checklist and enjoy an after-dinner drink or arrange an optional evening excursion for an hour or so - we regularly witness incredible sunsets and in previous years, listening for Spotted Crake, Corncrake and Quail has kept us up late!

What does the cost include? All of our holidays are fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, transport within Shetland (including all boat trips) and guide fees. Please refer to each individual holiday for any extras that may be included in the cost.

So what's not included? Travel to and from Shetland (see below), alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, items of a personal nature, etc.

How do I get to Shetland? Shetland's main air links with the rest of Britain and Europe are through Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness, which all have direct connections from major UK airports. A passenger and vehicle ferry sails daily from Aberdeen year-round. An early evening departure from Aberdeen will see you in Lerwick the following morning at 7.30am. As we're extremely familiar with travel to and from Shetland, please contact our office with any travel questions.

What accommodation do you use? We use a variety of accommodation ranging from country house hotels at Sumburgh and Baltasound to delightful guest houses on Fetlar, Yell and Fair Isle. We feel that patronising more remote establishments promotes eco-tourism within peripheral areas, involves local folk with our business and adds to the flavour of the holiday! Please refer to each individual holiday itinerary for accommodation details.

How about the food? Filling breakfasts, tasty picnic/indoor lunches and delicious evening meals using local produce where possible. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets are all catered for - but please let us know when you book. Complimentary hot drinks and bottled water are carried onboard our minibus

...and the weather? As we're only 6° south of the Arctic Circle, expect and dress for temperatures of between 8° and 20°C (45° to 60°F), with changeable weather. It's often sunny but we also have sudden squalls. A suggested packing list will be included in our pre-departure information.

I hear you offer a frequent traveller discount! We have many loyal repeat customers who holiday with Shetland Wildlife. As a way of saying 'thanks' for your loyalty and for supporting quality eco-tourism, we are pleased to offer repeat travellers who have previously booked a trip of at least seven days duration, a 5% discount off the cost (not including single supplements or any private extensions) of your next holiday with Shetland Wildlife that is operated here in Shetland.

Need more help? No problem! Call or e mail our office with ANY questions about ANY of our holidays! We'll be delighted to hear from you!