Scalloway (Old Norse:Skálavágr – "bay with the large house(s)") has a particularly rich history, with evidence of occupation as early as the Bronze Age, if not earlier. At Upper Scalloway a Bronze Age broch was found, alongside a mediaeval burial ground when new housing developments started in the area in 1989.
The Vikings used Scalloway as a harbour during their migrations to Shetland from the 9th century onward and were thought to have come by ship to Scalloway on route to their parliament, or Ting, at Tingwall, up the valley from Scalloway.
As the ancient capital of Shetland, the Sheriff Court for all the islands was located in Scalloway castle, with such macabre claims to fame as the witch trials of the 17th century.
In the 19th century the fishing industry grew rapidly, and several successful merchants built large homes in the area. Scalloway currently has 21 listed buildings.
During the Second World War Scalloway had national and international significance as the base of the Shetland Bus resistance operations between Shetland and Norway. Shetland Bus was the nickname of a clandestine special operations group that made a permanent link between Shetland, Scotland, and German-occupied Norway from 1941 until the Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany ended on 8 May 1945. From mid-1942 the official name of the group was "Norwegian Naval Independent Unit" (NNIU). In October 1943 it became an official part of the Royal Norwegian Navy, and was renamed the "Royal Norwegian Naval Special Unit" (RNNSU). The unit was operated initially by a large number of small fishing boats, and later augmented by three fast and well-armed submarine chasers – Vigra, Hessa and Hitra.
During the 1950s, Scalloway increasingly became a thriving centre of commerce with many retailers and other service providers operating on and around the Main Street.
Since the 1970s Scalloway has become a modern port providing a safe harbour for the local fishing fleet, oil-related vessels and visiting yachts.
Today Scalloway still hosts many marine related facilities - including the Harbour, 2 small boat marinas , the NAFC Marine Centre, marine engineering, net mending and a working shipyard.
There is a regular bus service between Scalloway and Lerwick. The main stops within the village are at Port Arthur, the Scalloway Hall and Blydoit, although the bus will typically stop if flagged from the roadside. There is also a less frequent route to Trondra and Burra. A full timetable is available here: http://travel.shetland.org/
The major attraction for most tourists are the remains of Scalloway Castle, the former living quarters of Earl Patrick Stewart. The Scalloway Museum is sited next to the Castle. A memorial to those involved in The Shetland Bus is located on the village's Main Street, opposite the Church of Scotland
The success of the 'Shetland Bus' operation resulted in a move from its original base at Lunna to Scalloway so that Norwegian vessels could be repaired and serviced there. A granite plaque on the west gable of the shipyard commemorates a visit by the Crown Prince of Norway on the 14th of October 1942, to which is affixed a brass plaque reading "In memory of Leif Andreas "Shetland" Larsen and all concerned with the Shetland Bus".
The village has its own leisure centre, with 16m swimming pool, jacuzzi, and steam room. There is a games hall available for hire, suitable for sports such as badminton or indoor football. There is a free-to-use football pitch and multicourt at the Fraser Park; tennis equipment can be provided on request. There is also a children's playpark here, in addition to smaller parks at Sycamore Avenue and Port Arthur. Scalloway youth cafe project located at the youth centre on Main Street, offers young people over the age of 10 the use of a games hall, music room, snooker/pool room, Darts, arts and crafts and a Café area which sells milkshakes and other food and soft drinks at a low cost. Scalloway Gym located at Norway House, is Shetlands biggest and best gym - with cardio, boxing, strongman and a huge selections of free weights.
Scalloway has two independent shops, both of which are open until 10pm. The Scalloway Meat Company is a small supermarket and butcher; it also has an additional upstairs store, typically open until 5pm, which sells various items including clothing, toys and home goods. The Checkout is a smaller newsagents and grocers. Both shops are licensed to sell alcohol between 10am and 10pm. The village also has a pharmacy on Main Street, open until 5pm. This store also acts as the village's post office. Blydoit Fish Shop sells fresh seafood. It is across the road from the local veterinary practice. Sharp Image Hair and Beauty Salon is a unisex hair and beauty salon opposite the local hall and next door to Scalloway Motors - an independent service centre for both cars and motorcycles. The Shearing Shed, on Main Street, has both a ladies hair salon and a separate gents barber. The Scalloway Hotel has an AA Rosette awarded restaurant. The hotel also provides bar meals, teas and coffees. The Cornerstone Cafe Restaurant is open 7 days a week and offers breakfast and lunch and snacks during the day as well as evening meals at the weekend. Da Haaf Restaurant (located in the NAFC Marine Centre) also opens daily during the week with evening meals at the weekend. It has beautiful views over Scalloway and Trondra. The Kiln Bar & Cafe serves cooked breakfasts and typical bar meals such as fish and chips. Visitors can also buy takeaway Chinese food from the Hai Yang Chinese Take Away, opposite the Scalloway Castle. There are two members clubs in Scalloway, the Royal British Legion, opposite the village's public hall; and the Scalloway Boating Club at Port Arthur. Both clubs have modern facilities, including WiFi and large screen TVs. Scalloway Boating Club also offers shower and washing facilities to visiting sailors.