What to expect on a Waverley paddle steamer trip

waverley at sunset

Paddle Steamer Waverley returns to Glasgow for the summer

The Paddle Steamer Waverley will return to Glasgow and the Clyde Coast for the 2024 Summer season from Friday 28th June.  If you have wanted to go on the Waverley and don’t know what to expect, join us on a recent trip ‘doon the water’.

waverley docked at river clydeBrief history of the Paddle Steamer Waverley

The Waverley is a well-loved part of Glasgow’s history.   Many residents will speak of trips down the coast on board this stunning ship.

The PS Waverley is named after Sir Walter Scott’s first novel and was built for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) to replace the original PS Waverley that was lost evacuating troops from Dunkirk.

She is the last seagoing passenger carrying paddle steamer in the world and carried passengers from Craigendoran to Arrochar for Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd (CalMac) until 1973.

Did you know? She was purchased for £1 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and restored to her 1947 appearance after a public appeal.

Special deals on offer for a trip on the Waverley

Settling back home for the summer until 25th August, Paddle Steamer Waverley is  offering some special deals to bring some fun to the summer.

‘Kids go for £1’ on all Glasgow and Clyde Coast Sailings.

For 2024 Child fares (5-16) on all Glasgow & Clyde Coast sailings will be a mere £1 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Waverley being gifted to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for £1. Children under 5 go FREE on all sailings (no advance booking is required for under 5s unless your trip includes a coach).

‘Seniors Bring a Friend for FREE’ offer is available on selected sailings / dates. Buy one Senior ticket and get a second FREE. Both passengers must be aged 60 or over. Advance booking only.

What to expect on a full day trip

We joined the Waverley at its mooring beside Glasgow Science Centre.  It is easy to reach by car and public transport.

waverley exterior sign

How to get to the Waverley Glasgow departure point

Bike: Glasgow Science Centre is close to National Cycle Route 7.

Bus: a short walk from  Stagecoach X19 (Govan Road / Pacific Quay), First Bus No 90 (Paisley Road West), McGill’s Bus 23 and 26 (Pacific Drive).

Sightseeing Bus: alight at stop 16 of the Sightseeing Bus‘s Yellow Tour at Glasgow Science Centre. If you are on the Red Tour the closest stop is at the SEC (stop 11).

Subway: the nearest station is Cessnock, a 10 minute walk away (if using Google Maps then walking through Festival Park is a faster route than what they suggest).

Railway: Exhibition Centre train station is served by regular services running from Glasgow Central and Partick stations. Follow signs through the covered walkway from the station to the SEC, and then on to crossing the river using either Bells Bridge or the Millennium Bridge. It takes about 10 minutes.

looking toward squinty bridge

The Waverley will sail from Glasgow and over 15 calling points around the Clyde Coast from Friday 28th June to Sunday 25th August.

Click the image for 2024 Timetable

Click the link for more details and to book your tickets:

On the boat

First stop, breakfast!  As you enter the Waverley you will see the tearoom to your left.  The tearoom sells tea, coffee, biscuits and sandwiches (plus cans of beer should you wish).

waverley paddle steamer tearoom

Looking for something hot?  Then wander down to the dining saloon for their hot rolls.

waverley interior sign

breakfast on the waverley paddle steamer

Here is the full menu for downstairs.  As you can see we decided that treblers were required, with a cheeky beer and prosecco as well to live it up!

dining saloon menu the waverley

And we’re off down the River Clyde, under the Erskine Bridge and out to Greenock for our first stop.

erskine bridge from waverley

greenock from the waverley

What is there to do whilst on the Waverley?

If sitting watching the scenery passing by doesn’t chill you out enough, then wander inside to the two bars.  The main bar downstairs had a band playing on our trip.  The dance floor, funnily enough, got busier further into the journey! There is also a smaller bar on the floor below this, which is accessed by a set of stairs at the entrance to the dining saloon.

music on the waverley

There is the engine room to visit.  There’s no need to book a spot, just wander along and be amazed at how close you can get to the action.

engine room waverley

Surrounding the engine rooms are posters with the history of the Waverley, with lots of historical photos to look at.

shop on the waverley 2

Looking for a souvenier?  Then a visit to the shop is a must.  Here you can find fridge magnets, pencils, coasters, water bottles and even bottles of Waverley gin and whisky!  There are also bars of chocolate for emergency snacking!

By this point we needed a boost, so we headed back up to the tearoom for an excellent cup of Yorkshire tea, a coffee and some sweet treats.

tea and biscuits on the waverley

On this trip, we stopped at Greenock, Rothesay, Largs and Millport (Keppel) with a sail around the Kyles of Bute before returning to each pick up point (in a different order). We wanted to take it easy and relax on the boat so we stayed onboard for the duration but you can alight at any one of the stops and be picked back up on its return.

Onto the sights and we saw dolphins at two points on our trip but unfortunately they were too quick to photograph so here is a ripple in the water…

just missed a dolphin
just missed a dolphin
cloch lighthouse
Cloch lighthouse

beautiful blue water

toward lighthouse
Toward lighthouse

land ahoy

Later on, in the afternoon, Isle of Cumbrae Distillers, who produce a special gin for the ship, joined at Millport to serve free samples of their gin in the more intimate lower bar.  Find out all about them here.

waverley gin isle of cumbrae distillery

A refreshing and tropical gin, with a portion of the money raised going to the Waverley charity.

After all that excitement, it was time for more food! Here is a copy of the daily specials from the dining saloon on our visit.

dining menu the waverley

Macaroni cheese had to be ordered! That and fish and chips.  We were impressed with the quality, especially with the numbers served.

the waverley evening dinner

dining saloon on the waverley

port hole waverley

passengers on the waverley

We picked up returning passengers at Rothesay, Millport and Largs then sailed homeward via Greenock.  What a day!

returning to Glasgow at dusk

setting sun and passengers

waverley at sunset 2

Video from our day on the Waverley


@foodieexplorers On the Waverley, doon the watter. The world’s oldest seagoing paddle steamer have started their summer sailings. Trips available nationwide. #summer #fyp #scotland #paddlesteamer #boating #travel ♬ Walking Around – Instrumental Version – Eldar Kedem

waverley at sunsetQuestions?

Do I receive tickets if I book online?

Passengers will receive an order confirmation email from info@waverleyexcursions.co.uk and will receive tickets in the following way:

7 days or less until sailing – Tickets are collected at the Purser’s office on board Waverley when you sail.

8 or more days until sailing – Tickets will be sent by post.

If you reside out with the UK, tickets are be collected on board Waverley on the day of the sailing at the Purser’s office.

Can I purchase a ticket on board Waverley when I sail?

Yes, tickets can be purchased on board Waverley at the Purser’s Office but some sailings may sell out in advance.

The Sailing Updates section will give the latest availability for tickets.

Is there a booking fee?

No booking fee charge. If you wish to amend your ticket such as sailing date, there is an admin fee of £5 per ticket.

When should I be at my departure point?

Ensure that you are at the ship 10 minutes prior to the departure time. Boarding closes 5 minutes before departure on outward and return journeys.

What disabled / wheelchair facilities do you have on-board?

For safety purposes the gangways leading onto the ship are ridged and therefore wheelchair passengers, if they can’t walk across, they will have to be carried.

The Crew are happy to assist less-agile passengers.

Waverley is a historic passenger ship and there are relatively steep stairs leading between the different decks.

Due to safe manual handling regulations and the nature of the gangways they are unable to carry electric wheelchairs or motor scooters and there is a safe handling limit of 14 stone (90kg). Please see the Accessibility Information webpage for further information and details on each port / pier.

Waverley has a toilet for the disabled on the promenade deck – accessed with a Radar Key.

Are single fares available?

Some single trips are advertised and can be booked in advance such as Glasgow to Greenock or Greenock to Largs. Other single fares can be purchased on board subject to availability.

Are bikes allowed on board?

There is a standard charge of £10 to bring your bike on board for single or return journeys.

Are dogs allowed on board?

On selected sailings well-behaved dogs are welcome.  The maximum time that a dog can be on board is around 3.5 hours. Dogs must be booked in advance, a flat fare of £5 is charged. Dogs should remain on a lead when aboard.

Assistance animals are welcome on-board Waverley, book in advance.

Is smoking permitted on board?

Smoking and vaping or using e-cigarettes is only permitted on the open Promenade Deck. 

Can you take your own food and drink on board the Waverley?

As part of their Conditions of Carriage, no alcohol is permitted to be carried on board. Bag searches may take place and passengers who have alcohol in their possession will be refused permission to board the ship – no refund of fare will be given.

You can bring packed lunches on board, however you are not permitted to eat these in the ship’s Dining Saloon.




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.