Steam Experience, SILVER & GOLDEN Tickets

These experiences are limited to 4 places at a time to maximise the time you have with our all-voluteer crew members and for hands-on experience with the engines! 

Dates & Prices

SILVER Ticket – 1 day experience aboard Shieldhall - £299.00 per person

GOLDEN Ticket – 2 day experience aboard Shieldhall - £499.00 per person.

  • Friday 29th May and Saturday 30th May 2020 - SOLD OUT!
  • Wednesday 10th June and Thursday 11th June 2020 - 1 ticket left - Click here
  • Friday 17th July & Saturday 18th July 2020 - SOLD OUT!

Please note that you need to be available for both days. 

About the experience

There is great news for steam enthusiasts who would like to get some "hands on" experience on a wide variety of steam engines. On board Shieldhall, there are twenty engines ranging from one to eight hundred horsepower, single cylinder to twin Triple Expansion, all powered by two Scotch boilers.

You will EXPERIENCE the following ... 

  • Safe Practice regimes aboard.
  • The production and utilisation of steam by Shieldhall's boilers and engines.
  • The final stage of steam-raising on the day before a sailing (GOLDEN Ticket only)
  • Pre-sailing day checks on the steering engine (GOLDEN Ticket only)
  • Preparation of auxiliaries and main engines for sailing.
  • Time at sea with opportunities to operate boilers and engines under supervision.
  • A spell at the wheel on the Bridge.

The Experiences have been designed for recreational purposes, to give interested parties an insight into conservation in action on a 1950s steamship that is today listed in the National Historic Ships Register. 

The 1-day SILVER Steam Experience is offered on certain Shieldhall sailing days.

The 2-day GOLDEN Steam Experience includes the full day before a sailing day and then the sailing, 

to include the steam-raising and other preparations as well as time with all our steam engines in action on the day!

Enquiries & Bookings

Please click on the links above to purchase your tickets. If you have any questions, please contact our Ticket Manager by emailing

Frequently asked questions

What is included in the price?

Included in the price is time spent in the machinery spaces raising steam and assisting in preparing the ship for - and taking her out to - sea, under supervision. Each student will be presented with a certificate on completion of the course. A one year membership of the Solent Steam Packet, the charity that operates the Shieldhall, is also included.

The course is designed to offer the student a unique experience, with students involved in preparing Shieldhall for sea, manouvering away from the berth and on to passage and then return to berth. The experience will then include shutting the boilers and machinery down. 

The student will be given instruction and be encouraged to be as hands on as possible, operating valves, lighting boiler fires, controlling boiler water levels, starting and stopping pumping systems, answering engine telegraphs and manouvering main engine.

When carrying out any of the above the student will always be accompanied by a mentor, one of the qualified engineering team.

The student will be encouraged to ask questions and hopefully glean as much from the experience as possible.

The SILVER Steam Experience Courses takes place on Shieldhall sailing days.

The two day GOLDEN Steam Experience Courses also take place on Shieldhall sailing dates but in addition include a FULL day onboard preparing Shieldhall and raising steam the day before. The GOLDEN ticket allows you to spend more time, hands on and gives greater exposure to our steam engines!

How competent do I need to be to complete this course?

The course is open to anyone aged over 17. Competence is not a requisite as the student will not be asked to do anything without guidance. A willingness to 'give it a go' and a will to enjoy the experience is all that we ask!

The machinery spaces can get quite warm and humid at times. But this is all part of the experience!

Where can I meet the ship?

Joining instructions will be provided giving details of expected time to be aboard and whereabouts. Shieldhall is based in Southampton and will be sailing out of Southampton on the steam experience days.

What are the timings for the days?

Timings will be provided with joining instructions. These will differ slightly according to the timing of the afternoon cruise. The team will typically meet on the Shieldhall between (7.30am – 8.30am? tbc) with the day finishing approx. 2 hours (? Tbc) after the completion of any public cruise.

What is provided to me on the day?

We are able to provide boiler suits, but are quite happy for students to use their own if they are cotton and not polycotton. Tea and coffee are also available. Shower facilities are available, if required.

What do I need to bring with me on the day?

You should provide your own food. A microwave oven is available. This avoids having to cater for any specialist dietary needs. You should also provide adequate safety footwear, with non-slip soles and steel toe caps. THIS IS IMPORTANT . IF YOU DO NOT HAVE CORRECT FOOTWEAR AND OVERALLS YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE PART. Bump caps are left to individual’s choice.

On sailing days, food is available to purchase in the saloon.

How much time will I spend at sea?

Time spent at sea will be shown in the joining instructions, but students can get a good idea from our published sailing programme.

Can you assist me with accommodation?

Accommodation is normally left to the student to arrange to suit their specific needs, but check out: which links to local hotels, self-catering and b&bs.

Can friends and family join for the afternoon cruise?

Subject to availability, friends and colleagues are welcome to purchase tickets at the membership rate (published price less 10%). They should contact the Ticket Manager on 0844 357 2329 or email