Shetlands make list of world's best tourism regions

A group of British islands noted for wildlife and remoteness have been included in a list of the 10 best regions in the world for tourism by travel guide Lonely Planet.

The Shetland Islands, north of Scotland, are described as possibly "the last untamed corner of the UK" in Lonely Planet's Best In Travel 2011 publication.

The islanders are seen as "a fiercely independent and self-reliant bunch" living in an area where it is easy to spot whales, otters, seals and puffins.

Shetland capital Lerwick is described as a "must-include port of call for cruise ships" and where a new film and music centre opens next year.

Visitors are urged to try local delicacies including seawater oatcakes, Shetland black potatoes and rhubarb with mackerel or herring.

Another British set of islands, the Orkneys, features in the 10 best things to climb section, with the Old Man of Hoy's 450ft-high sea stack an invitation to "gather your grappling hooks".

The publication also listed the Isle of Man TT motorbike race as one of the 10 world tourism best things to do.

The guide said: "A haven for tax dodgers and outdoorsy types most of the year, the remote oddball Isle of Man transforms itself in May and June for the Tourist Trophy."

Lonely Planet also rated Edinburgh and its partner-swinging ceilidh dance as one of the 10 best places for dance fever. The Scottish capital has "dance classes and ceilidhs for all levels of experience".

Edinburgh is also listed as one of the top 10 cities for artistic inspiration, with mention of such literary legends as Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns.

"Scotland's literary output is phenomenal and most of its notable writers have been influenced by the capital," said the guide.

Also in the artistic inspiration top 10 is London, with the guide saying: "You could plot a long, long literary pilgrimage around London, a city immortalised by writers from Charles Dickens to John Betjeman."

Among the 10 greatest "comeback cities" is Glasgow, where "the once-grim River Clyde, heart of the city's post-Second World War slump, has morphed into its cultural focal point with museums replacing derelict docklands".

The 10 world's greatest bookshops' list includes Daunt Books of London, with its Marylebone branch "the original and best".

Whitby in Yorkshire and also London feature in the top 10 vampire-spotting places in the world.

The guide said Whitby had become a popular spot for vampire fanciers inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula novel which describes how the most famous vampire of all came ashore at Whitby following a shipwreck.

London makes the top 10 thanks to its Dracula tour which includes a trip to Highgate Cemetery in north London.

The Battle of Hastings and the International Living History Fair in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire are in the top 10 historical re-enactments.

Hastings, fought in 1066 and now restaged each year, is seen as the "most-remembered armed conflict in British history", while those attending the fair at Leamington Spa will be "amazed at the breadth of the products on sale".

Lonely Planet spokesman Tom Hall said: "This year's picks for Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011 reflect the passion for discovery that our readers have.

"It's no surprise then that we've singled out a little-known but beautiful and rewarding corner of the UK as a must-see next year. The Shetland Islands have a huge amount to offer wildlife-watchers, outdoor enthusiasts and history and culture buffs."