Steamship Shieldhall releases details on 2023 sailing programme

The volunteers at Steamship Shieldhall in Southampton have released details of the ship’s 2023 sailing progamme.

Commencing on Friday 16 June, with a final sailing on Sunday 17 September, there are a variety of 2hr, 3hr, 3 1/2hr, 4hr and all day sailings to choose from, including some returning favourite cruises and some all-new trips.

Shieldhall’s number of sailings is comparable with 2022, although with a reduced number of sailing weekends, to help save with Shieldhall’s ‘steam-up’ costs.

During 2022 Shieldhall’s fuel costs increased by more than 100 per cent, while there have been other increases to operating costs and the general cost of living.

Mindful of this, new for the programme in 2023 are three Friday evening sailings. There is currently an Early Bird on membership – take out membership at 50% off up until the end of January, and receive a 10% discount on all excursion tickets booked.

Some highlights from Shieldhall’s 2023 sailing programme:

Shieldhall will set sail on each of Friday’s 16 June, 28 July and 11 August, ahead of further trips on the Saturday and Sunday.

A Jurassic Coast departs Poole Quay on Tuesday 29 August, offering an opportunity to view a World Heritage Site at close quarters.

Shieldhall will also pass very close to Cowes on her Saturday 12 August trip – promising it will be the closest Shieldhall has ever sailed to the north shore of the Isle of Wight.

Following a sell-out trip to Portsmouth Harbour in 2022 (where Shieldhall saw both aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales in port), the 2023 programme will see two trips into Portsmouth Harbour– on Shieldhall’s opening weekend, Saturday 17 June and again on Sunday 13 August.

In addition to the naval ships, the trips give an opportunity to view the skyline of Portsmouth, including Southsea; Clarence Pier; Spice Island and the Spinnaker Tower, from the water.

One of the beauties of steam propulsion is that Shieldhall does not tend to vibrate or roll, and as such makes a great viewing platform, perfect for photography.

For 2023, Shieldhall will steam to the Solent to watch the spectacle of the Round the Island Race on Sat 1 July; the Fastnet Race on Sat 22 July and the racing at Cowes Week on Sat 29 July.

Then, on Fri 1, Sat 2 and Sun 3 September Shieldhall will be in the very best position to see the impressive sights of the Bournemouth Air Festival.

Shieldhall’s music cruises remain very popular, with the Selsey Shantymen welcomed back for a performance on Sunday 25 June, and Southampton’s own ‘Salty Sea Dogs’ on Sunday 27 August. And not forgetting Shieldhall’s own in-house jazz band, The Stompers, who will provide entertainment on her positional cruise to Poole on Bank Holiday Monday 28 August.

Shieldhall Chairman John Rose noted: ‘We’re delighted to publish our trips for 2023, and, in very difficult economic circumstances, to be able to offer a full summer programme.

“In addition to our published sailing programme, Shieldhall is available for charters and alongside functions. We are indebted to our members and supporters as we look to keep our piece of British maritime heritage alive and steaming’.

To view Shieldhall’s  complete 2023 sailing programme, please visit:

Volunteer Graham Martin, Chief Engineer, cleaning areas in the engine room of Southampton’s Steamship Shieldhall as the team put Shieldhall to bed for the winter. The steamship marked her 65th birthday this summer, but was unable to celebrate as planned due to the pandemic. However, behind-the-scenes work on Shieldhall means that SouthamptonÕs heritage steamship is in excellent condition, with volunteers looking forward to a full 2021 sailing programme. Shieldhall last sailed in September 2019, and plans to sail again with passengers on board in May 2021. The ship provides a working example of steamship machinery both above and below deck, typical of the cargo and passenger ships that plied the oceans of the world from the 1870s until the mid 1960s, by which time they were all but extinct.

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