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Shetland Lodging during Orkney Show Week

We've been planning our Scotland trip for 2 weeks in August, and will be visiting the Shetland & Orkney islands from Thursday 8/7 thru Monday 8/11. We'd like more than 3 days and 4 nights, but that's what our schedule affords, and we already booked an arriving plane ride, connecting ferry, and departing plane ride. We'd seen nothing about this in Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Fodor's etc. but just discovered the first week of August is the Orkney Agricultural Show, a BIG event that draws thousands of people to the area. Pro: there are even more things to do and see than we'd anticipated, Con: securing lodging may be tougher than we anticipated!

We just scored the last room in Kirkwall, and the 2 of us planned to use B&B's pretty much everywhere, and have also booked places at the beginning and end of our trip (in/near Edinburgh), but now we need to nail a place for one night in Shetland. Shetland may or may not be affected directly by The Show, but the one-night thing may be a problem during August. We plan to rent a car for our brief time in Shetland, so can hopefully reach a place that has an affordable room. A camping Bod is not under consideration. Does anyone have any suggestions or referrals? Thanks so much.

Posted by
1276 posts

The ferry between the Orkneys and Shetland is about 7 to 8 hours so the show should not be much of an issue in Shetland. I have not been to Shetland yet so can't advise, but remember its geographic position makes its tourist season fairly short. If I was looking I'd look somewhere around the capital, Lerwick.

Posted by
4858 posts

Thanks. We've started with Lerwick-area lodging but it appears many B&B's require a 2-night minimum stay in August. We've been turned down so far and continue looking for a place that will meet our needs and theirs . . .

Posted by
1276 posts

I've had a quick look on visitscotland.com and around the dates got two in Shetland, one on Unst the other on Mainland. In the case of both Orkney and Shetland 'Mainland' refers to the principal island, not the island of Great Britain. If it is on Mainland in Shetland, it is probably your best choice.

Posted by
388 posts

Unfortunately we don't have any recommendations for places to stay in either the Shetlands or the Orkneys since we don't research them. You might try a Lonely Planet guidebook.

Posted by
4858 posts

Hey, MC, thanks for the visitscotland.com tip - it took some effort but we're reserved a night at a 1-room B&B in the northwest corner of Shetland Mainland. I wonder if all Shetland kids want an American Pony growing up, as we all wanted (and I got, for a while) a Shetland Pony?