The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has announced a string of celebrations throughout 2017 to mark the iconic Scillonian III passenger ferry’s 40th birthday this spring.

May 2017 is the 40th anniversary of Scillonian III, the Group’s longest-serving passenger ship to date. This milestone is being celebrated with a host of events, including a firework display over Penzance harbour, events on board the ship, public history exhibitions and ticket giveaways, to involve the wider communities of both the Isles of Scilly and West Cornwall.

In May, a pop-up exhibition will be held in Market Place with Pop-up Penzance, showing memorabilia including photographs and souvenirs from the Scillonian’s 40-year history, and display boards explaining more about the ship.The exhibition will run from May 15th – 24th, and will be free for the public to visit.

A party will be held on board the Scillonian whilst she is berthed in Penzance on May 24th for staff, guests and VIPs, concluding with a firework display over Penzance harbour at approximately 9.15pm for everyone in the town to enjoy.

During the party, a specially created film will be screened showcasing the Scillonian’s history and featuring interviews with past Masters and staff past and present.

In June, the celebrations will travel across to Scilly, where a lunch reception will be hosted on board the ship whilst she is docked at the quayside on St Mary’s.

The memorabilia exhibition will also be available on board the ship during this event for people to see and soak up the ship’s fascinating history.

Sharon Sandercock, Marketing and Communications Manager of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “This is a very special year for Scillonian III, and we wanted to celebrate her milestone anniversary with our local communities, both in West Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly. The public exhibitions will celebrate the history of the ship, with a selection of original materials on display and some never before seen photographs and drawings.

“We hope regular passengers of the ship, and even those who have yet to experience this spectacular journey to the islands, will join us to celebrate the anniversary.”

Scillonian III was officially launched by HRH The Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles, on May 17th, 1977, before making her first voyage on May 25th, 1977.

Since then, Scillonian III has made more than 9,000 return journeys to the Isles of Scilly, travelled more than 648,000 nautical miles and carried more than 1,458,000 passengers, including visiting Royals, past Prime Ministers, and a myriad celebrities.

The ship may be 40 years old this year but she’s in great shape and belies her years, thanks to ongoing investment from the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group. Most recently, the Group funded a major £2million upgrade in 2013 to install upgraded lighting, seating, catering, disability facilities and bathroom facilities, ensuring the popular ferry remains ultra-modern and comfortable for the many passengers taking the journey to Scilly.

The Scillonian III has now started its 40th year of service for the 2017 season, with regular trips to the Isles of Scilly.

For more information about the Scillonian, visit and keep up to date with events and giveaways by following Isles of Scilly Travel on social media.