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Shetland Amenity Trust’s heritage sites open for this year’s Up Helly Aa

Published: 10 January 2024

Tours of Old Scatness Broch and Iron Age Village are cancelled Wed 31 January due to the severe weather warning.
Sumburgh Head will remain closed too with the hope that it will open on Thursday and Friday.

The fiery season will soon be back and Shetland Amenity Trust is putting together a series of events as well as offering extended opening times to its main sites to appeal to locals and visitors alike.

The museum is the place to visit for all Up Helly Aa enthusiasts and will be hosting tours and a visit from the Jarl Squad.

Members of the public are invited to watch as the 2024 Lerwick Jarl Squad make their official visit to Shetland Museum & Archives on Tuesday 30 January at 3.30pm, and have the chance to see them perform their UHA song, chat to the squad and perhaps even get the chance to try on a helmet or hold a shield. The event, which will take place inside the museum is free of charge but will be in high demand with just 100 tickets available - please note tickets to this event have now SOLD OUT.

Additional photo opportunities include getting a close-up of the Junior UHA galley which will be positioned outside the museum at Hay’s Dock from 11:45 – 14:45 on the Tuesday.

For those curious to find out how the Up Helly Aa festival started and learn how it has evolved into the format that we recognise today, ‘Origins of Up Helly Aa’ tours will take place from Sunday 28 – Wednesday 31 January.
Book your 'Origins of Up Helly Aa' tour at the Shetland Museum here.

The museum will also be running a Peerie Vikings drop in event on Friday 26 January, where pre-schoolers will have the chance to release their inner viking, make paper helmets, shields and torches.

Further afield, Old Scatness Broch and Iron Age Village will be opening its doors on Wednesday 31 January offering people a rare chance to visit out of season - as usually the site is tucked up for the winter months. There will be three guided tours throughout the day uncovering the myth and legend of this heritage site.

Book your Old Scatness Broch tour here.

Visitors will be able to soak up the dramatic wintry views at Sumburgh Head too with the lighthouse visitor centre and nature reserve open for three days (Wednesday 31 Jan – Friday 2 February, 10am – 4pm).

Alison Moncrieff, Chair of Shetland Amenity Trust said: “We are delighted that Shetland Amenity Trust’s sites will be open again for the days around Up Helly Aa. It’s a special time of year in Shetland’s winter calendar and is a great opportunity for folk to visit our sites out of season. Our expert teams look forward to welcoming you and will be on hand to deliver tours, answer questions and share information on Shetland’s incredible heritage.”

Shetland Museum UHA foyer tickets for the Jarl squad visit, and the Origins of UHA and guided tours of Old Scatness Broch will be released on Tuesday 16 January at 3.00pm on the Shetland Museum Box Office.