THE largest working steamship in Britain will set sail for its summer season next week. 

Volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes preparing Steamship Shieldhall for her first cruises of the season over the weekend of May 28 and 29 and they can’t wait to welcome guests back on board!

Saturday, May 28 sees the first of Shieldhall’s popular Steam to the Solent cruises from 3.30pm to 7pm to coincide with the departure of the mighty cruise ships which will be passed at close quarters.

The following day, the Aphrodites Singers will perform songs from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day and Vera Lynn, as Shieldhall heads back to the 30s, 40s and 50s.

The long Platinum Jubilee Weekend allows Shieldhall the opportunity to steam up for three consecutive days between June 3 and 5,  celebrating the Best of British! There will be a talk on Southampton’s links with RMS Titanic, a performance from Selsey Shantymen and an ‘All Things Steam’ cruise, an opportunity to highlight the steam engines of all shapes and sizes to be found on Shieldhall, with additional miniature steam engines to admire alongside.

On all cruises, guests have the opportunity of visiting Shieldhall’s impressive Engine and Boiler Rooms; to meet the Captain on the Bridge; walk the teak decks and listen to an informed commentary on the sights and sounds of Southampton Water and the Solent. A wide range of refreshments is available onboard.

Shieldhall has recently received £200,000 from the Cultural Assets Fund (CAF) to allow the excessive bio-fouling of barnacles and mussels to be removed from Shieldhall’s hull. They came about as a result of it being at a standstill for so long during the Covid crisis. The maintenance work will take place in Falmouth in June. 

A member of the National Historic Fleet, SS Shieldhall serves as a seagoing tribute to Britain’s maritime heritage.

To book for a cruise this summer, visit or call 0844 357 2329.