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About Saxa Vord Resort - The Gateway to Unst

Saxa Vord Reborn

Saxa Vord currently offers a choice of warm, bright, comfortable and welcoming self catering holiday houses and hostel, with the option of eating and relaxing in the restaurant and lounge bar.

Saxa Vord's size, shape and composition, together with its location on Unst, one of the North Atlantic's most fascinating and diverse islands, makes it ideally suited to its new role as the centre for natural and cultural heritage in Scotland.

Saxa Vord, Harolds Wick and Balta Isle from the hill

Interior design reflects the North Atlantic culture of the island, as does the food, which is based on the finest local produce from land and sea.

You will also find that the relaxed sociability of Saxa Vord’s past lives on as it draws together likeminded people from all walks of life and from all corners of the Globe to enjoy some of Europe’s most iconic natural & cultural heritage. New friendships are forged from shared interests and experiences and Saxa Vord is the place to make them.

There is so much to see and do that your days can be as busy – or as quiet – as you want. You can explore by car, bicycle, boat or on foot; on your own or with a guide; on Unst itself or island-hopping your way round Shetland. Wherever you go and whatever you do, surprises await you round every corner.

Simmer Dim beer - to keep you 
going on those long, long summer days!And don’t forget the incredibly long daylight hours in midsummer, a time when it never gets properly dark – known in Shetland as “the Simmer Dim”. You will be able to achieve an amazing amount between dawn and dusk…or you can just sit on a rocky headland or cliff and gaze out to sea.

As to the evenings, well here again you have choice. You can enjoy wonderful dinners in our restaurant, you can cook for yourself if self catering or in the bunkhouse, or you can dine out. You can sit quietly and read or play games, or you can join in the chat with fellow guests and locals in the bar – while drinking Saxa Vord’s own Valhalla beer. In addition to mainstream holiday accommodation, Saxa Vord is the perfect base for larger parties: archaeologists working on Viking Unst digs, visiting parties of geologists and botanists, and so on.

Saxa Vord – The Past

Saxa Vord is Norse for Saxa’s Hill, Saxa, (or Saxi on Unst), being one of the giants of Norse mythology, and the first Vikings undoubtedly felt that they were in giant country. Wild and magnificent, the hill’s location on the most northerly point of Britain’s most northerly inhabited island, and the spectacular North Atlantic views that it affords, gives the place a magic all of its own.

Looking across to the hill of Saxa Vord and its old radar dome.Atop the hill, standing sentinel on this most northerly outpost, sits the radar dome that guarded our Northern Approaches, tracking the Russian planes that constantly probed Britain’s defences during the Cold War, while beneath it nestles the accommodation that was home to the RAF personnel and their families – RAF Saxa Vord.

Rebuilt in 1989 as a self contained community, Saxa Vord was a home-from-home for people brought up in the towns and cities of the south. Warm, bright, comfortable and welcoming, the buildings were designed to withstand the worst the weather could throw at them and were laid out to suit the close-knit community that they served.

Today the Cold War is over, the radar dome lies empty, the military has moved out and life has returned to normal on Unst. Saxa Vord, however, remains.

The Saxa Vord Business Community

Saxa Vord is fast becoming the tourism hub of Unst and Shetland's North Isles and it is bringing new opportunities to a number of associated businesses: businesses whose opportunities for expansion are limited by the size, shape and condition of their existing premisses.

  • Shetland Distillery Company. Where the award winning Shetland Reel Gin is produced. It is an excellent traditional-style gin with a unique Shetland twist provided by the inclusion of apple mint, which is grown and harvested on Unst by Unst Market Garden. Produced only in Shetland by Shetland's only distillery, Shetland Reel Gin is now available throughout the UK and beyond. But availability is limited, and demand is high, so be quick!
  • Valhalla Brewery. The Valhalla Brewery has now reopened in Saxa Vords former motor transport buildings. The move has enable its founder and owner, Sonny Priest, to make more beer more efficiently, opening up new markets in Britain and Overseas in the process. It has also made the journey from brewery to Saxa Vord's bar even shorter, good news for our many guests!
  • Foord's Chocolates. Unst is renowned throughout Shetland as the home of Foord's Chocolates, a small, family concern run by Aaron and Cassie Foord. November 2007 saw the Foords move their operation from Quoys to Saxa Vord, a move that, as with the Valhalla Brewery, will enable them to make more chocolates more efficiently.
  • Unst Cycle Hire. Bikes are available for hire on site at ‘Unst Cycle Hire’ with adult day rates as little as £7.50 per day.  Please contact cycleunst@btinternet.com or phone 01957 711254 for further details.  Advance booking is highly recommended particularly in our busy summer months June-August.