ICONIC paddle steamer The Waverley will return to Penarth this summer as part of its cruise of the Bristol Channel.

The world’s largest seagoing paddle steamer returns this June after successfully being re-introduced to the Bristol Channel in 2023, after a five-year absence.

The Waverley will give locals and visitors to step aboard for a nostalgic trip on the famous ship from Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, June 23.

Captain Dominic McCall said: “Following the outstanding support we have received on returning Waverley to the channel in 2023, we have no planned a more extensive programme of sailings for this year.

“I look forward to setting sail from several Welsh ports and piers to give everyone that steps aboard a great day out.

South Wales Argus: The sold-out Holm Island cruise was the most popular last year. Picture: NewsquestThe sold-out Holm Island cruise was the most popular last year. Picture: Newsquest (Image: newsquest)“It was heartwarming to see the enjoyment of passengers as we cruised the channel to visit locations such as Minehead, Ilfracombe and Lundy Island last season and I look forward to returning this summer.”

The paddle steamer will provide a diverse range of cruises departing from Penarth, Porthcawl, Swansea, Tenby, and Milford Haven.

After the Waverley was taken out of service in 2019, it underwent a £2.3 million refurbishment to fit new steam boilers. The famous ship is currently docked in Glasgow while undergoing maintenance and refurbishment work, before moving to dry dock in April.

This winter, £700,000 will be spent directly on the ship to carry out some internal refurbishment works, to keep it operational.

Waverley excursions general manager Paul Semple will deliver a presentation followed by a Q&A session ahead of the release of the 2024 Bristol Channel sailing programme.

South Wales Argus: Inside the famous Waverly. Picture: NewsquestInside the famous Waverly. Picture: Newsquest (Image: newsquest)He said: “I am delighted to confirm that the Bristol Channel will once again hear the beat of the paddles when the Waverley returns in June.

“We are currently planning the most exciting programme of sailings for several decades as we look to expand Waverly’s areas of operation across the UK.

“I look forward to sharing our plans for the upcoming season in Cardiff on February 17, where I will also be able to share the inside story of what it takes to operate such a unique and famous ship.”

The presentation will take place at the Holiday Inn on Castle Street at 2.15pm in Cardiff which is open for all to attend.

The final 2024 sailing programme for the Bristol Channel will be released when bookings open in early March.