THE world’s last seagoing paddle steamer is setting course for Cornwall.

Waverley is set to visit Penzance, Falmouth, Fowey, Plymouth and Dartmouth for her first visit to the area since the late 90s, and her first ever visit in Fowey between August 28 and September 2.

The historic steamship will dock in Plymouth and offer an evening cruise as part of the Cattewatter 150 celebrations on Friday, August 29.

Waverley has been awarded the status of National Flagship of the Year by National Historic Ships ( )

Captain Richard Allan, harbour master and CEO, Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, said: “Following a successful trial last October, we're delighted that PS Waverley will be returning to Plymouth in August and be part of our harbour's anniversary year and special Cattewater 150 celebrations.

“This iconic vessel will be berthed on the Barbican landing stage during her visit, enabling her passengers easy access onto and off as they enjoy sailings in Plymouth Sound, the Tamar and the wider South Devon coast."

The pinnacle of Waverley’s visit will be meeting the last remaining steam powered river paddle steamer, Kingswear Castle, on the river Dart on the afternoon of Saturday, August 31.

Paul Semple, the general manager for Waverley, describes the visit as the highlight of its 2024 sailing season.

Paul said: “We are thrilled to be bringing Waverley to meet Kingswear Castle for the first time on the Dart. Given Kingswear Castle is celebrating her centenary this year it is fantastic to be able to bring together the only two operational paddle steamers in the UK for the first time on the River Dart.

“I’m certain the meeting of these two wonderful steamships will capture the public imagination and will be an event not to be missed by locals, and indeed enthusiasts from across the UK, it will certainly be the highlight of Waverley’s 2024 sailing season.

“I hope many in Cornwall and Devon will step aboard and experience Waverley as a living and working steam heritage attraction which is of national and international significance.”

The 1924 built Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle cruises the River Dart in Devon each summer ( )

This year Waverley holds the prestigious status of being crowned National Flagship by National Historic Ships UK. The award recognises the breadth and geographic coverage of Waverley’s sailings in addition to the extended sailing programme planned for 2024 which includes her visit to the South West.

Waverley's magnificent triple expansion steam engine ( )

This year also marks the 50th anniversary since Waverley was gifted for £1 to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society to preserve her for future generations.

Since 1975 the steamer has been operated on a not-for-profit basis to ensure her continued survival.

The ship boasts open promenade decks, a self-service dining saloon, period lounges, a gift shop and an open engine room.

Passengers aboard Waverley are able to watch the engineers at work as they operate the impressive triple expansion steam engine and view the ship’s paddle wheels.