There’s plenty of choice for beach-lovers. The Bay of Skaill, next to Skara Brae, is a dazzling sweep of white sand. Waulkmill, on the mainland’s south coast, is an expansive shallow beach, especially at low tide. Or hike to ravishing Rackwick Bay, which lies near Britain’s tallest rock stack, the Old Man of Hoy.
St Ninian’s Isle beach is a photogenic, natural sand causeway, tethering the mainland to a tiny isle where a hoard of Pictish silverware was discovered beneath a church in 1958; replicas are displayed in the Shetland Museum, Lerwick. Other lovely strands include Meal, Spiggie and Skaw, Britain’s most northerly beach.