Historic pleasure cruiser is up and down the channel from Ilfracombe in the coming weeks.

* CLICK HERE to enter our Balmoral competition

A packed timetable of summer sailings and coastal cruises is on offer from Ilfracombe on board the MV Balmoral.

This year Ilfracombe is the historic vessel’s principle port of call and will see 17 days of sailing.

There are trips to Lundy Island, coastal cruises, excursions to Bideford and passage to Swansea and Penarth in South Wales.

Paul Doubler, spokesman for Balmoral said: “North Devon and Ilfracombe especially has always been the ‘Mecca destination’ for pleasure steamers for hundreds of years. Balmoral continues that great tradition.

“Helping to boost the local economy and being a great assist to the local tourist industry. It is hoped that the sun shines and that the ship will have a very successful season.”

The ship was built in 1949 can carry 500 passengers and is also expected to bring several thousand visitors to Ilfracombe from Wales as well as Bristol and Clevedon.

Cruising continues this Saturday (August 6) with a crossing to Penarth and on Sunday there is an Exmoor coastal cruise taking in Porlock Bay.

On Tuesday, August 16 there is a special cruise and return to Bideford from Ilfracombe.

On Monday, September 5 people can join the Balmoral for her journey down to Padstow in North Cornwall, returning to Ilfracombe by coach.

The ship is operated by White Funnel Ltd, a company owned by MV Balmoral Fund Ltd charitable trust.

For full details of Balmoral’s excursion timetable and to book tickets go to www.whitefunnel.co.uk or call 0117 325 6200.

WIN TICKETS – Answer this question: What year was Balmoral built?

First prize a family ticket for two children, two adults, second prize a pair of adult tickets, for sailings of your choice.

Enter via www.northdevongazette.co.uk or post your answer, name, address and contact number, to: Balmoral competition, North Devon Gazette, Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB. Closing date August 17.

Click here to return to our homepage for more North Devon news.