Sumburgh Head Bird Cliffs and Hoswick

Travel to the island’s southernmost point, Sumburgh Head, a RSPB Reserve where the cliffs attract thousands of seabirds. There, you can visit the historic village of Hoswick.

  • Fascinating history
  • Stunning scenery
  • Dramatic cliffs
  • Suitable for all abilities
  • Difficulty level

    Level 2: Easy

  • Duration

    4.5 hours

  • Max. passengers


  • Booking Code


  • From

    $ 159

  • Notices

    Warm, waterproof clothing recommended

Depart through Shetland’s capital, Lerwick, as you begin your trip to the island’s southernmost point. On the drive south, weather permitting, pause to admire the view of the magnificent Mousa Broch, the tallest and best-preserved of all brochs in the world. Continue down the west coast, hopefully see some seals at Rerwick, and pass St. Ninian’s Isle, where the famous Pictish silver hoard, dating from the 9th century, was found in 1958.

Continue southward to the RSPB Reserve at Sumburgh Head, where you will see Shetland’s first lighthouse, built in 1821 by Robert Stevenson. The cliffs around Sumburgh Head are on the southernmost tip of Mainland Shetland and attract thousands of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, shags, and fulmars. Gannets are regularly seen offshore, too. The seabird breeding season, from May to mid-August, is the only time you can see this spectacular show at Sumburgh Head. Each species of seabird has its special nesting place on the cliffs. Our guide is knowledgeable about Shetland’s bird life and will add context to the visit.

The seas here are home to an array of animals and you may be lucky enough to see harbor porpoises (neesicks), white beaked dolphins, and whales (killer, minke, and sometimes even humpback whales). Common seals often haul themselves out onto the rocks.

Our tour continues a short distance to the small historic village of Hoswick, complete with a visit to Hoswick Visitor Centre. Better understand the history and culture of Shetland from its informative and interpretive displays. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to purchase an original Shetland garment from the wide variety on sale in the knitwear shop!

After a short while here, we will return to Lerwick while our guide explains more about these islands. Keep your eyes peeled for Shetland’s famous ponies on the way back.

Practical information:

  • Remarks/requirements: Warm, waterproof clothing recommended.

  • Included: Hot drink and home bake at Hoswick Visitor Centre.

  • Language: English.

  • Walking information: Sumburgh Head includes a half-mile walk up a steep path to the lighthouse. Hoswick is at guests’ discretion.

  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes.