THE world’s last seagoing paddle steamer made a triumphant return to Clacton as part of the vessel’s diamond jubilee celebrations.

Waverley docked at the town’s pier for the first time in four years and was met by a large crowd of on-lookers to welcome her back.

More than 200 passengers joined the ship for its journey up to Tower Bridge on Sunday having set out from Harwich earlier in the day.

Nigel Brown, communications manager at Clacton Pier, said: “It was a truly special occasion, and you never know how long Waverley will be able to continue to make these journeys.

“The pier started out as a docking point for ships in 1871 and it is so much a part of the attraction’s history.

“For those who missed her there are further sailings through until October 6 and you will not be disappointed if you take a trip on this historic vessel.”

Waverley returns to Clacton on Wednesday, September 28, to cruise the River Blackwater, and the next day it picks up passengers from the town to go to London.

It calls in at Clacton on Sunday, October 2, and again on Wednesday, October 5 as part of a cruise along the River Stour and on Thursday, October 6, it is the final journey of the season from Clacton to Tower Bridge.

The last time the ship docked at Clacton was in October 2018. It was then withdrawn from service in May 2019 after its operators needed to raise £2.3 million to replace its boilers.

A successful appeal secured the money for replacements and Waverley was due back in 2020 but the pandemic and staffing issues ended those plans.

Tim Wardley, chairman of the National Piers Society, said: “It was terrific to see Waverley back at Clacton after her absence with a large and enthusiastic crowd waiting to board for the cruise to London. 

“My thanks to the pier staff for their efforts and to owners Billy and Elliot Ball for funding the works needed to the landing stage as a valuable contribution to Waverley's return.”

For further information and to book a cruise go to, phone 01412 432 224, or pay on board.