Sumburgh Head opens for the season this Easter weekend with a programme of family activities

Published: 30 March, 2021

This is a significant year for Sumburgh Head as it marks the 200th anniversary of the Lighthouse. The team has been working away behind the scenes to deliver a programme of events to celebrate this very special anniversary and provide an engaging experience for the whole family.

The Easter weekend will kick off this Saturday with the customary blasting of the foghorn with the help of Retained Lighthouse Keeper Brian Johnson at 11am. An Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt will be available from Saturday – Monday and families will be able to explore the site, find clues and receive a peerie goodie bag.

Katja Stübiger of Katja’s Cakes will also be there, as she launches her new ‘Unken Kaffee’ café, serving delicious coffees and Belgian hot chocolate, homemade cakes and light lunches. After the Easter weekend the café will be open Thursday – Sunday from 10.00am – 5.00pm.

This is an exciting time of year at Sumburgh Head as the cliffs will soon be teeming with birdlife. Visitors are encouraged to keep an eye out for Puffins which could be back during the first week of April. Guillemots returned at the end of last year, and there have already been sightings of Razorbills on the water.

Thursday 8 April marks the anniversary of the Sumburgh Head Radar Station (AES1) thwarting a surprise attack on the British Home Fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney. Bookable military tours will take place outside on the day telling the ‘Sumburgh at War’ story and taking in some of the external features, like the military hut bases, that relate to the Radar Station.

Jane Outram, who manages the site on behalf of the Shetland Amenity Trust, said: “We are delighted to be opening to the public this Easter weekend and have put together a series of visitor led and outdoors activities so that we can maintain social distancing.

“This year marks the bicentenary of the lighthouse and we’re looking forward to sharing more activities and events over the coming months. Whilst the restrictions don’t allow for large social gatherings, we know that Sumburgh Head lighthouse, visitor centre and nature reserve will provide a fantastic opportunity for folk to come along and enjoy a great day out.

“We’re thrilled that we have a permanent café in place once more offering what, in our opinion, is the best coffee, cake and views in Shetland. Katja’s ‘Unken Wagen’ was extremely popular in previous seasons and we know that she looks forward to welcoming her loyal customers to the ‘Unken Kaffee’ at the Lighthouse, and we hear her best-selling Mandarin cake will be on the menu!”

Throughout the coming months an extensive programme is lined up, which will include Lighthouse tours, Wartime tours and trails, guided walks taking in the construction of the Lighthouse, a book launch, a Q&A with Retained Lighthouse Keeper Brian Johnson, family activities and wildlife events.

The care of the site at Sumburgh Head is entirely funded by ticket sales and donations, and receives no public funding. The public are encouraged to buy a family ticket  which will gain them access to all aspects of the site throughout the season, including free entry to many of the bicentenary tours and talks.

Tickets can be booked via the online or purchased at the Ticket Office on arrival at the site. Military tours can be booked from next week.