Easter weekend activities & competition to celebrate the start of the 2024 season

Published: 18 March, 2024

Enjoy a family day out over the Easter weekend as Sumburgh Head lighthouse, visitor centre and nature reserve officially opens for the season on Saturday 30 March.

Come along and join in the celebrations as the site opens its doors again for 2024. The foghorn will be sounded to mark the occasion and members of the public are invited to win a competition (now closed) to help the Lightkeeper start the Foghorn Engines and sound the Foghorn.

All ticket holders can listen to a Lightsome Tour at 11.00am and hear about the Story of Shetland’s First Stevenson Lighthouse. This will be followed by the customary blast of the foghorn with the help of Retained Lightkeeper Brian Johnson at 12 noon. The lucky competition winner will help Brian to open the final valve to sound the foghorn whilst the three runners up will each be given the chance to help start one of the engines.

Children can embark on an Easter Treasure Trail (from Saturday to Monday) and visitors can contribute to a starting season list for wildlife sightings.

Jane Outram, Sumburgh Head site manager said: “We are excited to be opening for 2024 at the start of the Easter holidays and can’t wait to welcome everyone back for what will no doubt be another busy season. We have already heard of sightings of puffins on the waters around the Isle of May and we anticipate that they’ll be heading to Shetland soon.

“Regular visitors will notice a few changes – we’re delighted to have a new display, The Keepers’ Corner, which shares an insight into what everyday life would have been like for the various keepers manning the lighthouse over the years.

“The newly named ‘Observatory’ space, which was formerly the café, is a fantastic place to soak up the stunning views of the surrounding cliffs, seabird colonies, waters and marine life.  Visitors will still be able to enjoy a cuppa and a home bake whilst speaking to our experts about marine mammals, seabirds, the geology, archaeology and the history of Sumburgh Head.”

Alison Moncrieff, chair of Shetland Amenity Trust, which manages the site added: “We would like to thank everyone who has continued to support this world class visitor attraction in Shetland.  2023 was our busiest season to date and our small team has worked incredibly hard to develop a really rich offering of specialist tours and activities. These cover a broad range of interests that go beyond lighthouse life and the sea birds that folk typically associate Sumburgh Head with, and include subjects such as the world wars, biodiversity and archaeology on site.  We look forward to sharing more about what we have lined up for the year and welcoming everyone again for 2024.”

A ticket includes access to all the site facilities for the season, including the Marine Life Centre, Radar Hut, Smiddy, Keepers’ Corner and the Engine Room.

Enter competition here - competition is now closed

Opening times: The Visitor Centre will be open five days a week, Thursday – Monday, 10.00am – 5.00pm.