Unst | Paul Turner

Island intro

Unst is the northernmost inhabited island in Britain. Unst is home to a vibrant and welcoming community, golden beaches and a wealth of Norse heritage. And it’s little wonder why, with nationally-important nature reserves, golden beaches, a wealth of Norse heritage, and award-winning events.

Ask an Islander

We asked locals on Unst to tell us why their island is special. Here’s what they said:

Unst is a fantastic island to visit, with lots to see and do. There are many highlights, including Hermaness Nature Reserve, UnstFest and the island’s Viking heritage.

Overlooking Muckle Flugga, Britain’s most northerly point, Hermaness National Nature Reserve is a clifftop haven for thousands of breeding seabirds including fulmar, gulls, shag, gannet, puffin and kittiwake. This striking walk over open moorland and sheer cliffs is awe-inspiring and restorative.

UnstFest is an award-winning, week-long festival in July that celebrates all things ‘Unst’ with a huge variety of activities, events, walks, workshops and entertainment for all ages.

The island is home to the remains of at least 60 longhouses, this represents the highest density of rural Viking sites anywhere, including in Scandinavia!

Other highlights on the island include Bobby’s Bus Shelter, the Keen of Hamar and the island’s Up Helly Aa celebrations.

Bobby’s Bus Shelter is no ordinary bus shelter, having been decorated, furnished and equipped over a number of years now – each year a new theme is installed and there’s a visitor’s book waiting to be signed!

The Keen of Hamar Nature Reserve may look like a stony waste ground at first glance but look closer to be rewarded with a delicate carpet of tiny and often very rare plants, including Edmondstone’s chickweed, a plant endemic to Unst. Unst boasts two Up Helly Aa fire festivals each year, at Uyeasound and at Norwick, complete with torchlit procession and galley-burning, before partying the night away in the local hall. There’s a lot to love about heading north!

Getting Here

You will need to travel to Mainland Shetland and Yell to reach Unst.  Find out more about getting to Mainland Shetland by clicking the link.

Once you are on Mainland Shetland, take the ferry operated by Shetland Ferries from Toft to Ulsta on Yell. Bus connections (Service 24Y) are available from here to Gutcher where Shetland Ferries operates a service to Unst.

Find out more about Shetland’s buses.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Unst and explore more of our amazing islands?

Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to:

  • discover your perfect island match,
  • find out about the experiences each island has to offer,
  • collect passport stamps for the islands you visit,
  • find information on accommodation, travel and island amenities.

Get Your Passport

You can find lots more information about things to see and do on the island, see some amazing island photography and collect your island stamp by downloading our app.

Download the app

App in phone

Download the Scottish Island Passport app to collect your island stamps! The app also provides lots more information on each island including recommendations from locals about things to see and do, info on how to get around, more stunning photos and useful offline maps.

  • Unlock Stamps - Collect them all! Stamp your passport when you visit each island - with an individual stamp designed to represent a unique aspect of island heritage.
  • Experiences - Discover the best experiences each island has to offer – from local boat trips to exciting traditional festivals, there is something for everyone.
  • Maps - Navigate the islands with useful offline maps, handy for areas where internet connectivity is weak.
  • Travel Jounals - Create an in-location travel journal with pictures from your island adventures, to look back on your trip.
  • Favourites - keep track of your most loved islands with the favourites feature. Available to access from your account on both the app and web.