This was the first time we’ve ever been on the Waverley, the worlds last seagoing paddle steamer, and wow! What a day out!

We left from the dock at the Glasgow Science Centre & booked to go Rothesay. My dad talks about how he used to go with his family to Rothesay for their summer holidays when he was a boy, and it was lovely to follow in their footsteps.

We knew we were going to be on board for a while, so when we arrived we picked a seat at the back of the ship and settled in for the journey.

We went for a look around and the kids found little Waverley puzzle booklets which then kept them occupied for a while. It had a scavenger hunt in it so we went a wander round the ship to find all the bits of the hunt. We checked out the engine room, which is totally open in the middle of the ship. You can see all the bits of engine moving and turning the wheels on the outside of the ship. We all thought this was really cool and ended up going back a few times to see it.

The outward and return journeys were both 3 hours long, so the kids brought a book and notepad each to keep them occupied on the journey. But most of the time were entertained by what was around us. Firstly coming out of Glasgow you pass the Riverside Museum and the Tall Ship. Then we passed the Titan Crane.

Then the Erskine Bridge, Dumbarton Castle and then you’re out amongst the beautiful scenery of Argyll & the Clyde Estuary. And on the way home we saw all of that in reverse, plus we were treated to the most stunning sunset coming back along the River Clyde.

The weather was so perfect that we ended up staying outside for almost the entire journey. There are quite a few covered and indoor spaces on the ship though if it’s a bit colder, or if the weather isn’t as perfect as we got it!

The Facilities On Board

The Waverley has a couple of bars and a canteen for food. The main bar had a live band playing, and the downstairs smaller bar was a bit more chilled. In the morning the canteen served up breakfast rolls and there was a dinner service on the way back in the evening. You can also take your own coolers etc for anything you need to bring. We brought a bunch of snacks and drinks for the kids (same as any other day out!) and just bought things like tea and a wee treat on the ship.

A random question I have been asked a few times is if there are toilets on board the ship. Yes, there are. Plenty of them! Not sure what the people who stay on board the entire day would do if there wasn’t…

There is also a little gift shop on board selling sweets, souvenirs etc.

There is a lot of outside seating on board, all along the main deck and on the upper deck of the ship. I would advise arriving early because we arrived 20 minutes before the ship was due to leave and had to squeeze ourselves into a tiny space because almost all of the seats were already taken. Lesson learned! If it had been rainy or if everyone on board had wanted to be inside I think we’d have struggled to get a seat. And 3 hours is a long time for everyone to be standing so just bear that in mind.

The Day Out

When we arrived in Rothesay we spent about 4 hours exploring. We had lunch, saw the castle, played on the beach & had a turn in the arcade before it was time to head home. If you want more info on what we did in Rothesay you can read about it here.

The sailing left at 9.30am and we returned to the Science Centre at 8.45pm so this was a FULL daytrip. They do have different times and different sailings all throughout the summer though, some of which are shorter days out, leaving from different places.

The Cost

Kids age 5-10 sail for £1 this season. Under 5’s go free. The Waverley sails all over the place and for adults each journey is priced individually, so you’re best to check the Waverley’s own website for more info. Check it out here at Waverley Excursions.

The Verdict

Our trip on the Waverley from Glasgow to Rothesay was one of my favourite days out in the past few years. The daytrip was perfect, and travelling on the ship was great fun. Highlights were seeing the engine room and seeing all the sights along the River Clyde from Glasgow out to the Clyde Estuary. Being on the Waverley also felt like we were part of a little bit of history.