The town has a long and interesting history. Records begin around 1625 when the town began to develop and the area was used as a trading point by Dutch fishermen. It has continued to develop as a trading, social and cultural hub with a wonderful variety of small independent businesses offering goods and services.
Accommodation, food and drink are all available from a range of hospitable cafes, bars, restaurants and takeaways with fresh local produce a feature on the menu at many places.
A helpful list of town centre businesses is included on the Living Lerwick Business Directory, along with details of events and activities taking place within the area.
Along the waterfront from the town centre, Lerwick’s ‘Cultural Quarter’ sits on the water’s edge at Hay’s Dock – Lerwick’s oldest working dock. Shetland Museum and Archives and arts venue and cinema, Mareel, are both situated here and open to the public. They both hosted events and activities during the Tall Ships Races event in July 2023.
Other points of interest in Lerwick town centre include Fort Charlotte – a defensive fort originally built in the mid-17th century; Lerwick Town Hall – Shetland’s main Civic building, dating from 1883 with stunning stained glass windows; and the Lodberrie – a house built half into the sea which has found fame in recent years as the on-screen home of TV’s Jimmy Perez in the ‘Shetland’ series. This is found next to Bains Beach – a beautiful white sandy beach nestled beside the Queen’s Hotel.
As an international port town; access to a range of services and facilities is available, in some cases 24 hours per day. This includes:
- Health Centre and Hospital Services
- Dental Care
- Post Office and Currency Exchange
- Banking Services
- Marine Repairs and Maintenance Services
- Public Transport
- Supermarkets and other Retail Services
- Photo Printing
- Fuel Deliveries
- Waste Water Collections