village on Mainland, Shetland Islands, Scotland

Sumburgh is a small village near the southern tip of Mainland in the Shetland Islands. Its main attraction is Jarlshof, continuously inhabited for 4000 years. For convenience other visitor sights and amenities in the bottom ten miles of Mainland are also described here, up as far as Sandwick which is the access for Mousa Broch.

Beach next to the A970 near Sumburgh

Get inEdit

By plane: See Shetland#By plane for flight connections.

1 Sumburgh Airport (LSI IATA). This the main airport serving Shetland. Car hire is available.    

By bus: Bus #6 runs to & from Lerwick daily every 90 min - 2 hours, stopping at the airport, Jarlshof and hotel, adult single fare £2.90.

By boat: a ferry sails between Fair Isle and 2 Grutness. May to Sept it sails once on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, taking 2 hr 40 min; a day trip is not possible. Every two weeks, one sailing is from Lerwick instead of Grutness.

Get aroundEdit

The airport, hotel and Jarlshof are a short walk apart. You need a car to reach the further sights.

The main road crosses the airport perimeter and is briefly closed when commercial flights are landing or taking off.


  • 1 Jarlshof, Sumburgh ZE3 9JN, +44 1950 460112. Apr-Sept daily 09:30-17:30. A prehistoric site with over 4000 years of human habitation. It has structures from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Viking and Medieval eras. Not routinely open in winter but enquire at the hotel to see if access is possible. Adult £6, conc £4.80, child £3.60.    
  • 2 Sumburgh Head. Apr-Sep: daily 11:00-17:30. Oct-Mar: access by prior arrangement only (call +44 1595 694688). Lighthouse, visitor centre and Nature Reserve. Season ticket (valid from Apr-Sep): £6 adults, £4 concessions.    
  • 3 Old Scatness (Near the airport). mid-May - Aug. An Iron Age Broch and Village, discovered when the main road was built in the Seventies.    
  • 4 Quendale Watermill, Dunrossness, ZE2 9JD (4 miles north of airport), +44 1950 460969 (when open), +44 1950 460550 (at all other times). Mid-April - mid-Oct daily 10:00-17:00.
  • 5 Crofthouse Museum, Boddam, Dunrossness ZE2 9JG (5 miles north of Sumburgh, in lane off main road), +44 1595 695057. May-Sept Tu-Su 10:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00. Small museum in restored traditional croft house. Free (donation).
  • 6 Spiggie Loch and the smaller Brow Loch just south are freshwater lochs with an RSPB reserve.
  • 7 Mousa is an uninhabited island on the east coast ten miles north of Sumburgh, with a broch - an Iron Age tower, the best preserved in Britain. You clamber in along a passage through the thick stone wall. In summer a boat runs to Mousa from Leebitton, near Sandwick off the main road to Lerwick.


See Shetland ponies.


Souvenirs are available at Jarlshof and the hotel.


Sumburgh Hotel's West Voe restaurant.


Sumburgh Hotel has a small public bar independent of the dining room. They have local beers available in bottles.



Good mobile signal here because of the airport.

Go nextEdit

  • Go north by road to Lerwick and the rest of Mainland Shetland.
  • Take the ferry to Fair Isle, but you'll have to sail back here.
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