And now for something completely different: a gathering of steam-powered boats in a variety of colours and sizes...

Steam powered craft on the River Wey in Guildford

On Saturday 14 July, the magnificent Steam Boat Association returns to the Wharf to share their enthusiasm for their beautiful craft.  When you arrive, watch out for the smell of Welsh coal in the air, listen for the whistles and bells and let your mind imagine a perfect time in the past when boating for pleasure was what life was about...

Here's what the Steam Boat Association say about the event:

‘This is a joint National Trust and Steamboat Association event and it’s now in its sixth year,’ says boat owner and co-organiser Mark Rudall. ‘The Trust makes the boaters very welcome and our aim is to provide an extra focus to visitors. Steamboats are pretty rare – around 450 in the world – and they have atmosphere: the fragrances of steam power and the sounds of our whistles are always popular. National Trust volunteers will be providing attractions for all the family,  but the site, right in the middle of Guildford’ is a real delight in itself.

‘Many people don’t realise that the Trust is responsible for the Wey & Godalming Navigations which were once hugely important for Guildford, providing  a vital commercial  artery between the towns of Guildford and Goldalming and the Thames – and London.

‘We are expecting around fifteen steamboats from the dainty 14’ gem, ‘Melissa’ through to the 42’ steel-built ‘Surta’,’ says Mark.

‘I will be there with ‘Mazeppa’  -she’s just under 19’ and like many owners I’m always ready to chat to visitors and show them these fascinating craft, which are, after all, a part of our  heritage as a country dependent on waterways.’

Puffing-a-Wey is on Saturday, but there will be boats on site on the Sunday as well.

When and where?

Find them at Dapdune Wharf, Guildford, 11-5, normal admission charges apply plus £2.50 for children's activities.