Bristol Channel 2024 Timetable Released

Waverley’s much anticipated 2024 Bristol Channel timetable has been published. This year’s sailing programme builds on the exceptional success of 2023 with an extended season on the Channel from Friday 31st May to Sunday 23rd June.

In a surprise announcement Waverley will make her grand return to Bideford offering two sailings on Friday 31st May and Wednesday 19th June – this will be her first visit to the north Devon town since the 1980s.

Paul Brown, Harbour Master of the Port of Bideford, said “We are delighted to be welcoming Paddle Steamer Waverley back to Bideford for two port visits in May and June this year.  Her visits will create an enormous amount of interest and we look forward to showing the beautiful river Torridge as well as our wonderful town to the passengers.”

This year marks the 45th anniversary since Waverley first visited the Bristol Channel and South Wales back in 1979, sailing in the wake of the famous White Funnel Fleet of pleasure steamers which operated until the 60s. Nowadays only Waverley offers pleasure steamer trips to the popular North Devon resort of Ilfracombe, around the Holm Islands and along the Welsh Heritage Coast.

This year’s sailing programme also features Tenby (Thursday 6th June) and Milford Haven (Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd June) following the exceptional demand for tickets and interest generated last year.

Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “I’m thrilled to hear that the Waverley will be returning to North Somerset this summer, sailing from Clevedon, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare.

People loved cruising on the paddle steamer last year, and I’m sure this year’s outings will prove similarly popular. I hope our local community and visitors from further afield alike will climb aboard and enjoy our beautiful landscapes from a fresh perspective. All we need now is for the Balmoral steamer to get back in service. Please do donate if you can, to help keep these wonderful boats afloat.”

To launch her sailings on the Bristol Channel there are several special offers to take advantage of with Kids For £1 and the popular “Seniors Bring a Friend FREE” offer on selected cruises, and NHS workers can claim a 15% discount when booking in advance at waverleyexcursions.co.uk.

During the programme of cruises Waverley will offer the traditional pleasure trips from Penarth, Portishead, Clevedon, Weston, Porthcawl, Swansea and Minehead to visit Ilfracombe giving passengers several hours ashore to explore. There will also the opportunity to sail out to Lundy Island.

This year Waverley has partnered with THREE heritage railways to offer the “Ultimate Steam Day Out” where passengers can combine a trip on a paddle steamer with the ride behind a steam locomotive – passengers can choose from trips on the Brecon Mountain Railway, Lynton & Barnstaple Railway and the West Somerset Railway.

Waverley will be offering a very special themed pleasure cruise starting and returning to Clevedon, in collaboration with the SS Great Britain Trust on Tuesday 11th June. As well as enjoying a cruise in the channel, curators and heritage experts will be on hand to share the remarkable similarities between Waverley and Paddle Steamer Great Western, the Bristol ocean liner which was the earlier sister of the SS Great Britain, and first ocean-going paddle steamer ever built. There will be an exclusive prize draw as well as displays showcasing the impact these ships had on Bristol and the world.

Advance booking is recommended for Bristol Channel sailings. Book online or call the Booking Office on 0141 243 2224.