Shetland will play host to one of the most spectacular sailing events in the world as the 2023 Tall Ships Races' docks in Lerwick.

The ships arrive in Shetland on Wednesday (July 26) for the end of the 'Cruise in Company' leg of the race, the only non-competitive sail of the five legs which will see the fleet race around northern Europe between Britain, Norway and the Netherlands. 

As well as the ships, Lerwick will host a full festival around the event with headline acts including Barrowland sell-out acts Tidelines, renowned trad band Peat & Diesel, and family entertainment taking place across four days of a festival from Wednesday 26 - Saturday 29 July. 

The event is completely sold out with over 10,000 people expected to be making their way to the island.

And thousands more will be able to watch it, free on a live stream broadcast on The Herald website.

The Herald's Tall Ships live stream will be showing exclusive behind the scenes footage and the race itself.

Read more: Tall Ships Shetland: The Herald to broadcast this year's race

Tall Ships Races' run every summer, organised by charity Sail Training International to give young people the chance to learn the ropes and enjoy an international experience meeting friends from countries across the world. 

This year marks the third time Lerwick has hosted Tall Ships, having hosted the event in 1999 and again in 2011. Ports must place bids to host the event and the music festival that comes along with it. 

Before the ships arrive in Shetland, the festival will have already ticked off Den Helder in the Netherlands, Hartlepool in the north of England and Fredrikstad in Norway. Once the festivities have ended in Lerwick, the ships will set off for one last leg of the race to cross the finish line in the port of Arendal in Norway. 

Read more: Tall Ship Races in Shetland - Everything you need to know

Project manager of Shetland Tall Ships, Emma Miller, said: "It will be spectacular to see the town’s harbour full of historic sailing vessels, bringing the community together and giving everyone cause to celebrate. Hosting such a prominent international event is hugely important for Shetland, and for the hundreds of young sail trainees who gain such a valuable life experience by joining these ships on their race voyages."

You can watch the full event on the live stream in this story.