Lerwick: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 60°09′18″N 1°08′42″W / 60.155°N 1.145°W / 60.155; -1.145

Lerwick is located in Scotland

 Lerwick shown within Scotland
Population 7,070 [1]
OS grid reference HU474414
Council area Shetland
Lieutenancy area Shetland
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SHETLAND
Postcode district ZE1
Dialling code 01595
Police Northern
Fire Highlands and Islands
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Orkney and Shetland
Scottish Parliament Shetland
Website http://www.shetland.org
List of places: UK • Scotland •
For the aircraft, see Saro Lerwick.

Lerwick is the capital and main port of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, located more than 100 miles (160 km) off the north coast of mainland Great Britain on the east coast of the Shetland Mainland. Lerwick is about 210 miles (340 km) north of Aberdeen, 230 miles (370 km) west of Bergen in Norway and 230 miles (370 km) south east of Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.

Lerwick, Shetland's only burgh, had a population of 7070 residents in 2006[1] and is the most northerly town in Scotland (there are other large settlements more northerly in Shetland, most notable the village of Brae).

One of the UK's coastal weather stations is located at Lerwick.



Lerwick in relation to the rest of the Shetland Islands.

Lerwick is a name with roots in Old Norse and its local descendant, Norn, which was spoken in Shetland until the mid-19th century. The name "Lerwick" means bay of clay. The corresponding Norwegian name is Leirvik, leir meaning clay and vik meaning "bay" or "inlet".

Evidence of human settlements in the Lerwick area date back 3000 years, centred around the Clickimin Broch.

The first settlement to be known as Lerwick was founded in the seventeenth century as a herring and white fish seaport to trade with the Dutch fishing fleet. This settlement was on the mainland (west) side of Bressay Sound, a natural harbour with south and north entrances between the Shetland mainland and the island of Bressay.

This collection of wooden huts was burned to the ground twice; in the 17th century by residents of the then capital town Scalloway who disapproved of the immoral and drunken activities of the assembled fishermen and sailors, and again in 1702 by the French fleet.

Fort Charlotte was built in the mid 17th Century on Lerwick’s waterfront and permanent stone built buildings began to be erected around 'the fort' and along the shoreline. The principal concentration of buildings was in the ‘lanes’ area; a steep hillside stretching from the shoreline to Hillhead at the top.

As Lerwick became more prosperous through sea trade and the fishing industry during the 19th century, the town expanded to the west of Hillhead. Lerwick Town Hall was built during this period of expansion.

The next period of significant expansion was during the North Sea oil boom of the 1970s when large housing developments were built to the north (Staneyhill) and south (Nederdale and Sandveien) of the main town.

Industry and economy

Lerwick is a busy fishing and ferry port. The harbour also services vessels supporting the offshore oil industry.

Notable buildings

Significant buildings in Lerwick include Fort Charlotte, Lerwick Town Hall, the Böd of Gremista, Shetland Museum and Archives and Clickimin Broch.


There are several churches in Lerwick, including:


Lerwick is served by the Tingwall Airport located a few miles away.

Northlink Ferries operate a daily overnight ferry service between Lerwick and Aberdeen, regularly calling in to Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands.

The Shetland Islands Council operate a ro-ro ferry service to Out Skerries and Bressay from a terminal in the centre of the town, and the Good Sheppard, Fair Isle's supply boat, regularly calls in to Lerwick's Hay's Dock.

Schools and education

Lerwick has three schools; Bell's Brae Primary School, Sound Primary School and Anderson High School.

Shetland College, a constituent partner institution of the UHI Millennium Institute, is also based in the town, offering degree-level education (among other further education courses) to locals who unsurprisingly find it difficult to study further afield (the next closest university-level institution is the University of Aberdeen, a twelve-hour boat journey away).

Hospitals and healthcare

The Gilbert Bain Hospital provides secondary care services to all of Shetland. The Lerwick Health Centre is situated across the South Road from the hospital.


Local independent radio station SIBC broadcasts daily from a studio in Market Street. BBC Radio Shetland, a BBC Radio Scotland regional opt out, has its studios in Pitt Lane. The Shetland Times, a weekly local newspaper, has its premises in Gremista on the northern outskirts of Lerwick. Millgaet Media Group, a multi-media production company that includes Shetland Television, is based at the North Ness Business Park.


Lerwick has strong ties with Scandinavian countries, particularly Norway (Lerwick has a friendship agreement with Måløy in Norway), and this is reflected in the street names of Lerwick (e.g. King Harald Street, King Haakon Street).


Lerwick is the focus of most events in Shetland, including the largest of the annual Up Helly-Aa fire festivals.



See also

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Lerwick is the largest town and capital of the Shetland Islands.

Get in

The main transport links to Lerwick, and Shetland as a whole are to and from the Scottish Mainland.

  • By Air

British Airways [1] provide the only scheduled passenger air service to the Scottish Mainland. This operates from Sumburgh Airport which is located 30 miles south of Lerwick. Flights operate to Aberdeen,Edinburgh,Glasgow, Kirkwall and Wick.

Wideroe [2] provide a summer service to Norway.

  • By Sea

Northlink Ferries [3] provide a daily passenger and vehicle service to Aberdeen which also calls in at Kirkwall in Orkney up to twice a week depending on the time of year.

  • Car Hire

There are a number of car hire firms. They all have offices in Lerwick and all can also arrange for vehicles to be collected either at the ferry terminal or airport.

  • Buses

A number of firms operate bus services in Shetland. The local council maintains timetable information [4]

  • Ferries

A Number of the islands are connected to each other and the Shetland Mainland by small ferries operated by Shetland Islands Council. Information on these can again be found on their website [5]. Most of these ferries are Roll-on Roll-Off type that can carry vehicles and passengers

  • Taxis

There are many taxi firms in Lerwick and all taxis are licensed by the local council. There is a taxi rank located on Victoria Pier which is in the centre of town.

  • Lerwick Town Hall
  • Fort Charlotte
  • Clickimin Broch
  • Boat Trip to Noss
  • Shetland Museum
  • Isleburgh Exhibition
  • Commercial Street
  • "South End"


The annual Lerwick Up Helly Aa [6] is held on the last Tuesday in January. It is a fire festival celebrating the influence of the Vikings on Scotland, culminating in the burning of a Viking galley.

  • Clickimin Leasure Complex - Shetland's largest leasure centre has a fantastic swimming pool and is a great place for other sporting activities as well, a great place for the whole family. It is resonably priced. Located next to the Clickimin Loch, it is well signposted.


Lerwick is renound for having one of the best town centres in Scotland with a great variety of local shops.

  • Anderson & Co - Various clothing items, located on Commercial street
  • High Level Music - Music, located on Commercial street
  • Shetland Fudge Company - Very nice fudge handmade in Shetland, shop located on Commercial street
  • The Wine Shop - Various different wines from around the world, located on Commercial street
  • Tourist Centre - Touristy items and souveniers for visitors to take away as well as information staff who are happy to give you any information you need about Shetland, located at Market Cross
  • The Toll Cross Shopping Centre - Scotlands most northernly indoor shopping centre has a great variety of local shops and is a perfect place to go if the weather turns bad, located on North Road
  • Harry's Department Store - Big department store selling a variety of items, located on the Esplanade
  • Westside Pine - Sells a variety of items made from pine wood, located on the Esplanade
  • Rod and Line - Fishing supplies shop, located on Harbour Street
  • The Peerie Shop Cafe - Located on the Esplanade, North Central Lerwick


Lerwick has a few pubs and bars. Some are pubs on their own and some are hotel bars that are open to and frequented by non residents:

  • Thule

Not the most salubrious of bars but generally always busy at the weekend. Boilersuits and work boots are perfectly acceptable dress!

  • The Lounge

This centrally located bar is popular with locals and visitors. There are two parts to it; the downstairs is the "public bar" which is very basic, Upstairs the "lounge" bar is much nicer and far more comfortable. Quite often has impromptu live traditional music.

  • The Douglas Arms(Marlex)

Another bar that is really two bars in one. The public bar is again very basic. The Lounge bar half is far more cosy with dark wood tables and a fireplace.

  • Captain Flints

A pirate theme bar right in the centre of Lerwick. Can be very busy at times

  • Mooneys Wake

Irish Theme bar.

  • The Wheel Bar

There are two bars here. The "public bar" is located downstairs and has a pool table and the "lounge bar" has a big dance floor. Visit their website - www.wheelbar.co.uk for pictures and information about this pub

  • The Ferry Inn
  • Da Noost
  • The Queens Hotel
  • The Grand Hotel
  • Baroc

One of the nightclubs in Lerwick.

  • Lerwick Youth Hostel
  • Scalloway, Shetland's ancient capital and second largest town and also home to Scalloway castle, is only a 6 mile drive away.
  • Catch the ferry over to Bressay where you can see the Noss nature reserve, a great place to see puffins and even killer wales, as well as several other wild animals such as otters.
  • Drive west over to the Burra & Tronda Isles where you will find beautiful surroundings, the nice little fishing village of Hamnavoe, the Bridge End outdoor centre and popular beaches. All these islands are connected by birdges so you won't have to get a ferry.
  • Explore the rest of Shetland. Each area is unique and individual in its own way, as well as wonderful scenary, which you can find all over in Shetland.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LERWICK, a municipal and police burgh of Shetland, Scotland, the most northerly town in the British Isles. Pop. (1901) 4281. It is situated on Brassay Sound, a fine natural harbour, on the east coast of the island called Mainland, 115 m. N.E. of Kirkwall, in Orkney, and 340 m. from Leith by steamer. The town dates from the beginning of the r 7th century, and the older part consists of a flagged causeway called Commercial Street, running for 1 m. parallel with the sea (in which the gable ends of several of the quaint-looking houses stand), and so narrow in places as not to allow of two vehicles passing each other. At right angles to this street lanes ascend the hill-side to Hillhead, where the more modern structures and villas have been built. At the north end stands Fort Charlotte, erected by Cromwell, repaired in 1665 by Charles II. and altered in 1781 by George III., after whose queen it was named. It is now used as a depot for the Naval Reserve, for whom a large drill hall was added. The Anderson Institute, at the south end, was constructed as a secondary school in 1862 by Arthur Anderson, a native, who also presented the Widows' Asylum in the same quarter, an institution intended by preference for widows of Shetland sailors. The town-hall, built in 1881, contains several stainedglass windows, two of which were the gift of citizens of Amsterdam and Hamburg, in gratitude for services rendered by the islanders to fishermen and seamen of those ports. Lerwick's main industries are connected with the fisheries, of which it is an important centre. Docks, wharves, piers, curing stations and warehouses have been provided or enlarged to cope with the growth of the trade, and an esplanade has been constructed along the front. The town is also the chief distributing agency for the islands, and carries on some business in knitted woollen goods. One mile west of Lerwick is Clickimin Loch, separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land. On an islet in the lake stands a ruined "broth" or round tower.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A town, and the administrative centre of, the Shetland Islands.


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