We visited Lerwick in the Shetland Isles for the Viking festival of Up Helly Aa. So this review will have 2 parts. First the hotel itself followed by some advice on how to survive Up Helly Aa.
The hotel is relatively modern, comfortable and well run. It is situated just as one enters Lerwick so is easy to find, yet still close to all amenities in the town. The rooms are a tad small, ours had a four poster which made manoevering around when my wife was sorting her hair a bit tricky. The view from our window,over Breiwick Bay, was spectacular especially during stormy weather. Moreover there is something comforting about going to sleep with the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks below. The food was excellent. However I have a thing about wasting food and I found the American portion sizes unnecessary forcing me to leave some on my plate. These criticisms are minor and I would certainly return to the Lerwick Hotel.
Up Helly Aa is well documented on other sites and is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January. What is less documented is that it lasts all day starting at 9am, there was also an excellent concert of Shetland music (Shetland has a rich, enviable history of music) in the Mareel Hall in the afternoon. There is a junior and senior event each complete with the boat being burned in the evening. Starting about 9pm the "halls" open. For a £25 ticket you are included in an all night ceilidh with free food. There is a twist though. There are about 30 "squads" composed entirely of men who visit each "hall" and put on a performance. These would put Britain's Got Talent to shame. Things finish about 9am on the Wednesday (not surpirsingly a public holiday in Shetland). The mistake we made was to book from Sunday to Wednesday - to get the most from Up Helly Aa don't book your flight out until the Thursday!!!
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- Also Known As:
- The Hotel Lerwick
- The Lerwick Hotel Shetland Islands