THE world's last seagoing paddle steamer which has sailed through Somerset's waters has been awarded the prestigious status of National 
Flagship of the Year by National Historic Ships UK.

The Waverley paddle steamer has a extended sailing programme planned for 2024, with a record beating 70 ports and piers included within this year's cruising itinerary.

This includes trips to Ilfracombe in North Devon from Swansea, Porthcawl, Penarth, Portishead, Clevedon, Weston-Super-Mare and Minehead. 

Throughout the season, the steamer will fly a special Flagship Pennant to denote its national status, and it is due to receive an engraved brass plaque.

Sir Timothy Laurence, husband of Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and Patron of Paddle Steamer Waverley, said: “I am delighted that Waverley has been awarded the title of National Flagship 2024.

"This reflects not only the very positive impression she has created around the UK in recent years but also the economic benefit she generates wherever she goes.

"My congratulations to the Waverley team for this well-deserved award.”

The steamer's sailing programme kicks off on Friday, May 17, with a weekend of 
sailings on the Clyde Coast before it sets course for Oban and the Inner Hebrides.

At the end of May, Waverley will head south for the Bristol Channel.

A highlight of the 2024 season will be Waverley’s return to the 
South West and River Dart in late August. It is there that it will exchange whistles with Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle as the last two operational paddle steamers in the UK meet for the first time in over a decade.

The 2024 schedule


The Waverley website outlines its 2024 schedule: "Waverley will operate from Friday, May 17 until Sunday, October 20 in several areas of the UK. The season outline is as follows:

  • Glasgow & Clyde Coast – Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19;
  • Oban & Inner Hebrides – Monday, May 20 – Monday, May 27;
  • Warrenpoint – Tuesday, May 28 & Wednesday, May 29;
  • Fishguard – Thursday, May 30 – SOLD OUT;
  • Bristol Channel – Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 23;
  • North Wales & The Mersey – Monday, June 24 – Wednesday, June 26;
  • Glasgow & Clyde Coast – Friday, June 28 to Sunday, August 25;
  • South West including Plymouth – Thursday, August 29 – Monday, September 2;
  • South Coast & Isle of Wight – Wednesday, September 4 – Wednesday, September 25;
  • London & Thames Estuary – Friday, September 27 – Sunday, October 13.
  • Final Sailings of the 2024 season (Glasgow & Clyde Coast) – Saturday, October 19 & Sunday, October 20."