Fort Charlotte in the centre of Lerwick, Shetland, is a five-sided artillery fort, with bastions on each corner.The first incarnation of the fort was built between 1652-1653 during the First Anglo-Dutch War. Little is known of the original structure and no trace of it has been found.

The second structure was built on the same site by Robert Mylne under the orders of Charles II at the start of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1665 at a cost of £28,000. It held off a Dutch fleet in 1667 which thought it was far more heavily manned and gunned than it actually was. In fact, the walls were unfinished and there were few guns. At the end of the war it was slighted when the government decided not to station a garrison in Lerwick, and it was unmanned when the Dutch burnt it in 1673 during the Third Anglo-Dutch War.

It was rebuilt in its current form in 1781 and named after the wife of George III but has never seen service during hostilities since then. It housed a garrison during the Napoleonic Wars and was later a base for the Royal Naval Reserve. From 1837-75 it was used as the town jail and courthouse and later a custom house and a coastguard station.

Due to land reclamation and subsequently erected docks and buildings in front of the fort, it no longer dominates the shoreline and buildings in close proximity means the overall shape can only be seen from the air.Today Fort Charlotte is managed by Historic Scotland, and is the base for Shetland's Territorial Army. Visitors must call to get the keys to visit.

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Founded: 1652-1653
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

John Smart (10 months ago)
What a lovely place. Great views of Lerwick and over the water to Bressay. A nice place on a lovely day.
Neil Roberts (2 years ago)
Just came across it as I was cycling from the harbour. Nice views
Toni Dunbar (2 years ago)
Children loved playing on the grass and seeing the cannons.
Paul Raymond (2 years ago)
Nice place to visit. Sadly the weather was against us with pouring rain on the day I visited with family. Beautiful views from a height but sadly hindered due to the low cloud. UPDATE. Been back a couple of times since original post. Beautiful views to the North, East and South. Well worth a visit whatever the weather. The last time I visited was glorious sunshine... And bumped in Sandy (from TV drama Shetland.)
Kenneth MacLeod (2 years ago)
Gives you a great viewpoint to look out over Lerwick
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