Shieldhall Steamship: Experiencing the Golden Age With a Difference

Esther Tendai Burt

My name is Esther. I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. I came to the UK, London to be specific in the year 2000. In 2005, I graduated as a psychiatric nurse at South Bank University. I moved down to Southampton in 2006. I did Journalism in 2011 and founded my own publication called DIY Girl magazine. Fast forward, I am now a full-time travel blogger.

Shieldhall Steamship: Experiencing the Golden Age With a Difference

Shieldhall Steamship: Experiencing the Golden Age With a Difference

Chilling in Shieldhall Steamship

Chilling in Shieldhall Steamship

The Shieldhall Steamship enables its passengers to experience the golden age with a difference. Shieldhall is the largest working steamship in Britain, mainly layed up in Southampton at berth 110. Shieldhall serves as a sea-going tribute to Britain’s maritime heritage. Cruising on the 30th of June was an honour of American Independence Day.


The Shieldhall Stompers Jazz Band lively entertained passengers presenting a lavish token throughout the whole journey. Shieldhall is a flagship of the National Historic Fleet and the most significant operational steamship of her type in Britain.


History Behind

Glasgow Corporation commissioned the Shieldhall in 1955 as a ship used to dump treated sewage sludge at sea. She also has a secondary role as a passage ship taking groups of people out to sea on day trips. In 1977. Southern Water bought and started operating out of Southampton. In 1985, the Shieldhall steamship withdrew from service. Fortunately, the Solent Steam Packet Limited rescued and purchased the steamship in 1988. Solent Steam Packet is the charity that continues to operate her to this day.


Alive and Steaming

Experiencing the golden age with Shieldhall steamship enables passengers to enjoy yesterday’s cruising style, the same way as decades ago. Passengers are free to see the impressive engine with its original steam engines at work. Passengers can explore the bridge, as part of the cruise deal. Also displayed are Traditional instruments and gleaming brass work.


Passengers are free to admire the steam-assisted steering gear. The steering gear is similar to the one that used in the Titanic.

Steam-assisted gear

Steam-assisted gear

Talking to ship Captain, is also possible.


Amazing Views

The commentary impacts wealthy and helpful information that makes the journey worth it. A lovely day out with Shieldhall steamship spoils passengers with up-close views of magnificent liners including container ships in Port. Frequently seen is Red Funnel. The Red Funnel is a daily ferry for both people and vehicles between Southampton and the Isle of Wight.


Some cruise liners on the sea etc

Some cruise liners on the sea etc

Sailing back, Shieldhall passed close to departing cruise ships such as Crown Princess, Queen Victoria and Celebrity Silhouette. Shieldhall steamship offered an experience of the golden age, making it a day to remember. The ships sounded their whistle and played their signature organs. Whistles made was their common way to signal a greeting to each other.


Friendly Crew

One is not just a passenger on board Shieldhall. The crew is amiable and readily available to assist with whatever help required. Shieldhall caters for both young and old generation proving a friendly atmosphere on board.


Passengers can enjoy some deck games or relax in the Saloon full of a wide range of refreshments, including tea/coffee. Also readily available to purchase is real ales, range of Titanic Ales, and wine. Ice cream with both hot and cold food is also on the menu.


Children will also have loads of fun with their interactive Shieldhall Passport. Interested children can go around collecting stickers from various stations on board to match/fill in their Shildhall Passport book. Such a treat make it a delightful trip for the little ones too.


Cruising Programme

Shiledhall cruises from different locations for various destinations. Cruising enthusiasts can look forward to trips to view the Fastnet Race and the Needles. Famous Cowes Fireworks Cruises and popular One-Way Trips to Poole are part of some packages. Bournemouth is also a popular destination. Watch out for Bournemouth Air Festival on Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September 2019.


Back in Southampton, highlight down in your diary Saturday 14th September. Shieldhall will be cruising to mark Heritage Open Days weekend. Passengers will be able to learn about Southampton’s historic role as a port from the medieval era to the present day. Also to look out for is the Southampton Boat Show Cruise on Sunday 15th September. For Shieldhall’s detailed 2019 programme, Click Here.


Becoming a Member

Single membership is as little as £25 per annum. Joint/family membership is only £35 with a lifetime membership of only £1,000. Feel free to check out their full Price List.


Shieldhall membership comes with loads of benefits. For starters, the Shieldhall membership is open to all ages. There is no discriminating in any form, shape or age. Members also get a 10% discount off most excursion tickets, for just being part of the Society. Members are entitled to a Shieldhall Steamship Society magazine. The magazine comes with no extra charges.


It’s easy to become a member. All you have to do is download their Application Form and follow instructions. However, if you happen to have further questions, do feel free to email


Silver and Golden Tickets

Newly introduced are Silver and Golden tickets. These tickets provide an opportunity for individuals who would love hands-on experience with the engines. In a nutshell, interested students are equipped to prepare the Shieldhall steamship for the sea. They will manoeuvre away from the berth, on to passage and then return. The experience will also include tasks like shutting the boilers and machinery down.


Four places at a time are limited to Both the Silver and Golden experiences. The Silver Steam Experience Course is a one-day course, and it takes place on Shieldhall sailing days. The Golden Steam Experience also takes place on Shieldhall sailing days. The main difference is that the Golden Experience is over two-day. The experience allows students to spend more time hands-on, giving them greater exposure to Shieldhall steam engines. For more details, Click Here.



A dedicated team of volunteers run the Shieldhall steamship. The same ethos bind all passionate volunteers; that is to keep the heritage vessel alive and steaming. All positions aboard are voluntary, no matter how challenging or skilful some areas are. The Society encourages volunteers to be full subscribers of the Shieldhall Society.


Volunteer Roles

There are many positions to choose from if interested to become part of Shieldhall team. Volunteers are always welcome as every suitable skill is most valued. Types of roles are as follows:

Enthusiastic volunteers carry out all the work. And Shieldhall is always looking for more people to continue looking after the heritage steamship.


Dedicated volunteers can also have an opportunity to sail unlimitedly. Volunteers would also be providing a service that is most valued, at the same time treasured by many. Being on board Shieldhall Steamship, re-ignites memories. Some people revisited the era when steamships were brand new. A Learning Volunteer/Ship’s Guide Volunteer pack can be accessed Here.


If you have never been on board this legendary steamship, I strongly suggest you book now. You will have the time of your life I had an excellent experience cruising around the Solent waters. You can choose from a wide range selection of destination around the south coast.


If cruising is not for you, you can purchase tickets as a gift for friends or family. However, if you have used Shieldhall before, please do share your experience below. You are also more welcome to post pictures taken via my social media links of your choice.


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