Groups welcome on board SS Shieldhall as Southampton Steamship releases details of 2023 sailing programme

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Groups welcome on board SS Shieldhall as Southampton Steamship releases details of 2023 sailing programme

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

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, though 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%, whilst 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. Groups are very welcome on board, with a  10% discount for parties of 10 or more on all excursion tickets booked. Shieldhall also offers a series of all-day packages on its 2hr, 3hr and 3 1/2 hr sailings, incorporating a visit to one of Southampton’s Museums, a guided walk with a local guide and an afternoon cruise on Shieldhall. Themed packages ‘In the Footsteps of . . . ‘ cover The Titanic, The Spitfire, The Mayflower and Southampton’s Towers and Vaults, and cost from £38.50  per person (with the 2hr cruise, group price).

Some highlights from Shieldhall’s 2023 sailing programme:

New for 2023, Shieldhall will set sail on each Friday 16 June, 28 July and 11 August, ahead of further trips on Saturday and Sunday. It’s the perfect way to start a weekend, with a relaxing trip down Southampton Water to the Solent. Also new for 2023 is a Jurassic Coast sailing from Poole Quay on Tuesday 29 August, 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 staged – on Shieldhall’s opening weekend, Saturday 17 June and again on Sunday 13 August. In addition to the naval ships, the trips give an exciting opportunity to view the dramatic 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. And of course, photographers will also want to capture the magnificent motion of Shieldhall’s triple expansion steam engines down below – it’s access to all areas on Shieldhall!

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. Perennial favourites RU40 are back on board performing the greatest hits of UB40 complete with their take on the wonderful ‘Shieldhall Song’ (complete with crew interaction!) on Saturday 26 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:


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