Time to call it a day for Local Hoteliers

Marjorie Williamson and her husband Gordon have run the Herrislea House Hotel for the past 21 years, but now their minds are turning to the future.

The 9 bedroom property sits at the end of the idyllic Tingwall Valley, on the mainland of the Shetland Islands. It’s an area that’s surrounded by nature and history, but it also benefits from an influx of young families – attracted by its blend of rural life and proximity to the main town of Lerwick.

The guesthouse attracts visitors from all over the world, with great access to nearby golf courses, fishing lochs, and the other great outdoor activities that Shetland has to offer.


Marjorie and Gordon bought Herrislea House in 1997. It was a burned out shell of a building at the time – following a fire – but after an 11 month refurbishment they transformed it in to the comfortable and cosy Country House that remains today. Gordon had no hotel or catering experience at the time – he says he’d never pulled a pint until the day that they opened! However the couple don’t regret taking the plunge, and are pleased with the reputation the Herrislea has acquired throughout their time in charge.

“It’s been a lot of good times” says Marjorie. “Of course, there are times when we’ve had to work hard – but during that time we’ve made a lot of friends that will be friends for life.”

The couple also run another business, operating supply boats, which saw them build and launch a 5th vessel in February. With increasing demands on their time, the Williamsons want to hand over the Herrislea House to someone new – with enough sense to see the various opportunities up for grabs.


BK Marine’s new workboat – BK Marjorie

Gordon describes the guesthouse as “good to go” – with the current trade and reputation of the Herrislea ready to be passed on.

“It certainly has potential” he says. “It’s a fine central location, out in the county, and the tourist trade is improving all the time – we see as many tourists now as we’ve ever seen!”

The building is in an excellent state of repair – with 9 en-suite letting rooms, staff accommodation, plus a lounge and restaurant area. A brand new commercial kitchen presents a wide range of catering options – with the chance to revive the popular themed restaurant nights of the past.

There are so many new homes around the hotel, and young families staying in the area, that the potential now is much greater than it was says Marjorie.

In particular, the Williamsons are keen to hand their precious Herrislea over to someone with ideas and enthusiasm. In the heart of a growing and vibrant village – they think that a young family would be especially suited to taking on the hotel, and becoming part of the community here.


“21 years is plenty for us” says Gordon. “I think we’ll move on and let someone that’s young and enthusiastic have a go at it. If we don’t concentrate on the one business, we’ll fall between them both.”

Marjorie also sees the popular online booking agent ‘Air BnB‘ as a great opportunity. The Herrislea House Hotel is already taking bookings via the website. 

“I see not only tourists, but also business trade using Air BnB more and more” she says. “I think that it would be ideal for someone with a family – and if they wanted to operate an Air BnB that would certainly be the easy way forward. I do see there’s huge potential in that.”

Gordon and Marjorie have had good times at Herrislea, with fond memories of the place and the people – both those who have been guests over the years, and the many staff who have supported them. This isn’t only the chance to buy their business but it’s a chance to buy their lifestyle as well.

If you’d like more information concerning the sale of Herrislea House please contact Estate Agents Arthur and Simpson by phoning 01595 747 045 or email property@arthurandsimpson.com.

Visit http://www.arthurandsimpson.com for the sales particulars.

You can also listen to an interview with Marjorie and Gordon,


and watch this online video.


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