West Burra | Colin Nutt

Island Intro

West Burra in Shetland has beautiful scenery, strong community spirit and even an amazing ‘honesty’ cake fridge!

Ask an Islander

We asked locals on West Burra to tell us why their island is special. Lauren told us:

“There are so many great things about living here,” she says. “But I think my favourite is just being able to step outside my door into the amazing scenery. It’s the perfect place to have the horse and the dogs, and I never tire of exploring it.”

What about food? Lauren tells us that despite having no restaurants, the island is not short of inspiring food! “There aren’t any restaurants in Burra, but it’s always worth a visit to Marina’s Kitchen Cabinet at Papil to see what delights she has on offer. It’s one of Shetland’s many excellent ‘honesty’ cake fridges. You can pick up goodies from traybakes (I recommend the Crunchie one) to a traditional hufsie loaf [known as a brönie in Burra], sticky toffee pudding or a cream sponge! Just pop in, pick up what you fancy and leave your money in the jar.”

|We also get regular fish and chip nights at the local hall. One of the best things about island life is how excellent and fresh the fish is, and the nights usually raise funds for a local cause, so it’s a great excuse for a takeaway with no guilt attached!”

We asked Lauren about her favourite walk in Burra, and she was happy to share an insight with us. “There are so many good walks in Burra it’s hard to pick just one! As with anywhere in Shetland, you’re never far from a spectacular coastal view. Of course, my favourite ‘walks’ are often on horseback, so I’m particularly fond of the beach at Minn – there’s nowhere better for a canter along the sand or a paddle. If you’re on foot you can stroll along the beach, or extend your walk and head right around the headland at Kettla Ness for some spectacular views. It has the extra advantage of being right nearby the cake cabinet for some refreshments on the way home!”

What about the island’s hidden gems? “It’s always worth stopping by Easthouse, a restored traditional thatched crofthouse owned by the Burra History Group. It’s a beautiful building and a fabulous photo spot. The group often have exhibitions about the history of Burra and the surrounding area. The members are a fountain of local knowledge and always great for a yarn! Another hidden gem is the visual arts organisation Gaada. Established at the auld methodist kirk, they run various workshops and host opportunities for local artists. They’ve recently set up a mini-exhibition space on a board outside their premises to showcase some of the work of artists they’ve been supporting. It’s lovely to wander by and see something new going on on a regular basis.”

And what about your favourite time of year on the island? “I love all times of year in Burra – the dramatic stormy winters and clear cold night skies of winter can be just as beautiful as the brilliant sunny days of summer. But there’s something really special about midsummer this far north. The days draw out to almost midnight and you have extra time to get out and explore. There’s something beautiful about the light late at night and I use the excuse to get out for a late-night ride on the beach – nothing beats a good blast down the sand at midnight!”

Getting Here

West Burra is joined to Mainland Shetland via a series of bridges linking the Mainland with the islands of Trondra and West Burra. Find out more about getting to Mainland Shetland.

A local bus (Service 5) from Scalloway travels through Trondra to West Burra. The bus connects with Service 4 from Lerwick at Blydoit.

Explore More

Want to find out more about West Burra 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.

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