A historic ferry is set to make its first trip to and from Swanage in years – and it could soon be offering trips to Brownsea Island too.
The Dorset Belle, which last docked at Swanage nearly eight years ago, is expecting to begin passenger cruises from Saturday 26th September 2020.
Setting off at 10 am from Bournemouth, she will arrive at Swanage Pier to pick up passengers for an 11 am departure back to Bournemouth.
After a stop for a few hours, she will set off for the return journey at 3.30 pm to have passengers back in Swanage for 4.30 pm.
More exciting trips
But the boat may be offering even more exciting trips in the near future.
Island Cruises, which runs the boat, told Swanage.News that the Dorset Belle could be doing voyages to and from Brownsea Island as early as April 2021.
However, the plans will depend on the state of the Covid-19 pandemic at the time.
Passengers on the Dorset Belle are required to wear a face covering while moving around in the boat, and the number of passengers allowed on board is reduced from 142 to 60 to allow for social distancing.
The Dorset Belle
The Dorset Belle was built in 1974 as one of three – the other two being the Poole Belle and the Bournemouth Belle.
Over the years, the three boats shared trips along the coastline from Swanage, but in 2012 the Dorset Belle moved to Cardiff.
She is now back in Dorset and resurrecting the tradition of pleasure trips to Bournemouth and in the surrounding area.
City Cruises gearing up for the festive season
The Dorset Belle isn’t the only boat offering trips from Swanage Pier.
City Cruises still has one month left of their summer season, during which there will be daily cruises to and from Poole Quay and Swanage Pier.
After October, they will be running services on a reduced timetable during the winter season.
A spokesperson said:
“We have one month left of our summer season, and we are looking forward to ending it on a high, after returning back to an overwhelmingly wonderful half a season.
“We are currently gearing up for the festive season, and cannot wait to unveil all we have planned, potentially including a festive trail with photo opportunities, and a floating grotto where you can meet Santa.”
City Cruises is following social distancing measures and implementing the government guidelines.