Buy a train & ferry ticket from London to Belfast online...

Buy train tickets

small bullet point   Buy tickets between Belfast & London or any station in Britain at www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk.  No booking fee.

small bullet point  Booking opens 9-12 weeks ahead but you can even buy cheap tickets at short notice.

small bullet point  For Belfast, select 'Belfast Port NI' for travel via Cairnryan or Birkenhead, or 'Belfast Central' for journeys via Dublin & Holyhead.

small bullet point  For London, select 'London (Any)'.

small bullet point  Set departure time to 07:00 to see all morning departures from London & South to Belfast.

small bullet point  To specify a particular route, click More options & enter Cairnryan or Holyhead or Birkenhead 12 Quays in the Go via box.

small bullet point  Ticket delivery:  Collect tickets free of charge at any main British station including London Euston or they can be posted anywhere for a fee.

Important:  Tickets cannot be collected in Belfast, they must be collected in Britain for free or sent by post to an address in Britain or Northern Ireland for £2 or to any address worldwide for £7.50. 

Overseas credit cards welcome.  If you're booking from the USA, Canada, Australia...

You will understand the routes & fares better if you take the time to read this & this first!

Ticket collection machines

Collecting your ticket:  You collect tickets from the machines at London Euston or any main British station (the machine type may vary, and there are no machines in Northern Ireland).  Use click 'collect tickets' on the touch screen then insert your credit card, enter booking reference, out come the tickets.  Alternatively, tickets can be sent to any address worldwide.

Or book by phone on 08709 000 773

London to Belfast for £56 any day...

Sssshh, it's a secret!  You can buy a combined train+ferry SailRail ticket between Belfast & any station in Britain in either direction via Cairnryan or Holyhead, see the route map below.  It's the traditional way, through the countryside by train and across the Irish Sea by ferry, the environmentally-friendly alternative to a flight.  Bring a bottle of wine with you on the train (try that on Ryanair), sit back with a good book & enjoy the ride.  This page explains routes, timetables, fares & how to buy tickets.

small bullet point  Which route to choose?

small bullet point  Option 1:  London to Belfast via Holyhead/Dublin

small bullet point  Option 2:  London to Belfast via Cairnryan

small bullet point  Option 3:  London to Belfast via Liverpool

small bullet point  Belfast to Londonderry

small bullet point  Belfast to the Giant's Causeway

small bullet point  Belfast to Dublin by train

small bullet point  Suggested hotels in Belfast

Train & ferry all on one ticket

£29 train & ferry ticket from London to DublinOne ticket covers both train & ferry, with no baggage fees, airport taxes or costly airport transfers.  Children under under 5 free, under 16's half price.  The price from any rail station in Britain is the same or less:

Birmingham - Belfast £48

Belfast - Manchester £48

Edinburgh - Belfast  £33

Belfast - Newcastle  £48

 

Buy tickets online at www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk

Which route to choose?

For a journey between any rail station in Britain and Belfast in either direction, simply check times & prices at www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk - it'll work out the best route.  For more details click on the links below.  For a time-effective overnight journey between Belfast & London with comfortable cabin on the overnight Belfast-Liverpool Stena Line ferry, try the route via Liverpool.

Route map   Click for detailed map

Britain to Ireland train & ferry route map


 

London to Belfast via Dublin...

Watch the video guide

  Virgin Trains' Pendolino from London to Holyhead
 

Leave central London on Avanti West Coast 9.10am Irish Mail to Holyhead (08:15 on Sundays). It's a scenic journey along the North Wales coast...

 

Standard class seats on the train to Holyhead

 

The 125mph Voyager train is modern & air-conditioned, better than any plane or coach, with T-Mobile WiFi, power sockets for laptops & mobiles and a buffet car serving drinks & snacks. The journey takes 3h40, time to get some work done or catch up on your reading...

 

The Irish Ferries Ulysses  Photo courtesy of Irish Ferries

...At Holyhead, you board the luxurious 50,000 ton ferry Ulysses for the sea crossing to Dublin. 

 

On board Irish Ferries ship 'Ulysses' from Holyhead to Dublin

...the Ulysses is perhaps the most luxurious ferry on the Irish Sea.  The crossing takes 3h15, arriving Dublin Ferryport at 17:25.

 

In the Club Class Martello Lounge on the ferry Ulysses to Dublin

On board the ferry, it costs £16 (€18) to upgrade to club class in the Martello Lounge on 11 deck, with complimentary red & white wine, tea & coffee, cheese & crackers, olives, smoked salmon canapés, muffins & fruit juice.  The lounge is directly above the ship's bridge, giving a superb forward view of the Irish coast approaching...

 

Dublin-Belfast Exterprise, 2nd class seats.

...Transfer from Dublin Ferryport to Dublin Connolly station & board the 19:00 Enterprise Express to Belfast.  Dublin to Belfast is just 2 hours by train.

 

Dublin-Belfast Exterprise, 2nd class seats.

...Spacious seating, a buffet car for tea, coffee & hot meals, and great Irish scenery.  You arrive Belfast Lanyon Place at 21:10.  4 countries in 1 day!

 

Belfast City Hall and wheel

Welcome to Belfast!  No planes, no airports, no fuss.

 

 Book

 online

 here...

  London to 

  Belfast from

  £60 via Holyhead.

London to Belfast via Dublin

The route via Holyhead gives you the chance to see Dublin on the way, although if you want to stop off there for any more than an hour or two you'll need to buy separate London-Dublin and Dublin-Belfast tickets as you cannot break your journey on a SailRail ticket.  The Holyhead route takes about the same time as the Cairnryan route, and costs about the same, so just see which timetable suits you best, this one or one via Cairnryan.  By all means go out one way and back the other.

London ► Belfast

Belfast ► London

What's the journey like?

How much does it cost?

 SailRail fares via Holyhead

Advance

Single

 London (or any South East station) Belfast

£60

£65.50

 Any UK station in zone A Belfast

£53

£59

 Any UK station in zone B Belfast

£55.50

£61

 Any UK station in zone C Belfast

£55.50

£61

 Any UK station in zone D Belfast

£58

£63

 Any UK station in zone E Belfast

£60

£65.50

Which British station is in which zone?

You can buy a train+ferry ticket from any mainland UK railway station to Belfast, Londonderry, or any Northern Irish railway station via Holyhead.

 Zone A:    

Gwynedd North, Clwyd

 Zone B: 

Greater Manchester, Liverpool & Merseyside, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire

 Zone C: 

Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Hereford & Worcester, Gloucestershire, Powys, Gwynedd South.

 Zone D: 

Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Avon, Gwent, South Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan, West Glamorgan, Dyfed, Somerset.

 Zone E: 

London, anywhere in Scotland, Tyne & Wear, Durham, Cleveland, Northumberland, Greater London, Surrey, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall.

How to buy tickets...

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London to Belfast via Cairnryan

The traditional, historic route to Belfast has always been via the Scottish port of Stranraer.  It takes about the same time as the Holyhead & Dublin route, and shows you a lot of wonderful Scottish scenery on the way.  Until 2011, you took a train from Glasgow to Stranraer in southwest Scotland and walked straight onto the Stena Line ferry to Belfast in Northern Ireland.  In 2011 Stena Line moved their port from historic, rail-connected, integrated Stranraer to a new port at Cairnryan with a 1h15 coach connection to Ayr for trains to & from Glasgow and the rest of the country.  See the journey in pictures & watch the video guide...

Timetable northbound

 London & Glasgow ► Belfast  by train+ferry

 By 125mph train..

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London Euston depart

05:31

06:05

-

 Glasgow Central arrive

10:38

10:59

-

 By ScotRail train

 Glasgow Central depart

11:30

11:30

11:30

 Ayr arrive

12:20

12:20

12:20

 By Stena Line connecting bus

 Ayr depart

12:35

12:35

12:35

 Cairnryan port arrive

13:50

13:50

13:50

 By Stena Line ferry

 Cairnryan depart

15:30

15:30

15:30

 Belfast Stena Line arr.

17:45

17:45

17:45

How to read these timetables...  Each column is a service you can take, and you read downwards.  You change trains at each of the grey bars.

You take a 125 mph Avanti West Coast Pendolino train from London to Glasgow.  In November 2011, Stena Line stopped using Stranraer and switched to Cairnryan, so you now need to take a train from Glasgow to Ayr, then a special Stena Line connecting coach from Ayr to Cairnryan to connect with the Cairnryan-Belfast ferry.  Times may vary on Saturdays & Sundays due to engineering work, so always check train & ferry times for your date of travel using www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk or www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Belfast Port Stena Line terminal is at the far end of West Bank Road, see map showing Stena Line terminal.  A taxi from central Belfast costs around £12.  Translink's Metro 96 bus links Belfast Upper Queen Street with the Westbank Road Stena Line terminal for £2.00, see www.translink.co.uk click 'Routes & timetables', 'Metro' and search for Metro 96.  The bus is connects with most ferry arrivals and departures, but not the 07:30 departure on Sundays, so you'll need a taxi for that.  Note that Stena Line has two terminals in Belfast, one for Cairnryan and one for Liverpool, the Cairnryan terminal is slightly further from Belfast city centre than the Liverpool one.

Edinburgh to Belfast?  Edinburgh to Glasgow takes 51 minutes with a train every 15 minutes, then use the Glasgow-Belfast timetable here.  Simply book Edinburgh - Belfast Port at www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk.

Timetable southbound

 Belfast ► Glasgow & London  by train+ferry

 By Stena Line ferry

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Belfast Stena Line depart

11:30

11:30

11:30

 Cairnryan port arrive

13:52

13:52

13:52

 By Stena Line connecting bus

 Cairnryan port depart

14:15

14:15

14:15

 Ayr arrive

15:30

15:30

15:30

 By ScotRail train

 Ayr depart

15:35

15:35

15:35

 Glasgow Central arrive

16:36

16:36

16:36

 By 125 mph Avanti West Coast pendolino

 Glasgow Central depart

17:30

17:40

17:38

 London Euston arrive

22:27

22:45

22:53

From any other station in Britain to or from Belfast, simply use www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk to find train+ferry times for your date of travel.  The Glasgow-Cairnryan-Belfast timetable is also shown on the Stena Line website at www.stenaline.co.uk, select Rail & Sail and use the journey planner.

How much does it cost?

 SailRail fares via Cairnryan

 via Stena Line Cairnryan-Belfast

One-way

fare

 London to or from Belfast

£56

 UK zone A (e.g. Glasgow) ► Belfast  

£33

 UK zone B (e.g. Edinburgh) ► Belfast

£33

 UK zone C (e.g. Fife) ► Belfast

£37

 UK zone D (e.g. Perth) ► Belfast

£37

 UK zone E (e.g. Inverness) ► Belfast

£44

 UK zone F (e.g. Aberdeen) ► Belfast

£44

 UK zone G (e.g. Cumbria) ► Belfast

£41

 UK zone H (e.g. Manchester) ► Belfast

£48

 UK zone J (e.g. Leeds) ► Belfast

£48

 UK zone K (e.g. Birmingham) ► Belfast

£48

 UK zone L (e.g. Oxford) ► Belfast

£56

 UK zone M (e.g. Plymouth) ► Belfast

£56

These are Advance fares, you must book by 18:00 the day before travel, only valid on the specific trains booked.  Only Advance fares exist on this route now.

From Edinburgh, Glasgow & some other stations there are also flexible Anytime fares which can be bought on the day, at the same price as these Advance fares.

Return fares are simply two one-ways.

Check fares at the Stena Line website by selecting Rail & Sail and then using the journey planner.

 Which station is in which zone?

 UK zone A:    

Any station in the Glasgow area, Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway

 UK zone B: 

Any station in the Edinburgh area, Lothian, Borders

 UK zone C: 

Any station in Fife.

 UK zone D: 

Tayside

 UK zone E: 

Inverness & Highlands

 UK zone F: 

Grampian

 UK zone G: 

Any station in Cumbria

 UK zone H: 

Any station in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside.

 UK zone J: 

Any station in Yorkshire, Humberside, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire.

 UK zone K:

Any station in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Gloucestershire, Hereford & Worcester, Derbyshire, Gwynedd, Clwyd

 UK zone L: 

Any station in Greater London, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire, Avon, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, South Wales.

 UK zone M:

Any station in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset.

How to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

Bay of 4 seats on a Virgin Trains pendolino from London to Liverpool   A Virgin Trains 'pendolino' between London and Liverpool or Lancaster

Take a 125mph Avanti West Coast Pendolino from London Euston to Glasgow Central in 4h20...

Cumbrian mountains seen from the train

The train skirts the Lake District, passing through the Cumbrian hills and into Scotland...

Glasgow Central station   Glasgow Central station concourse

Glasgow's beautifully restored Central Station.  The best place for a beer between trains is in Champagne Central (above right) on the 1st floor of the Grand Central Hotel.

The Scotrail train to Ayr   On board the ScotRail train

Hop on an air-conditioned ScotRail local train to Ayr...

Stena Line transfer bus outside Ayr station   Stena Line transfer bus at Cairnryan ferry terminal

...where the train is met by the Stena Line transfer bus to the ferry terminal at Cairnryan.  The bus follows the scenic coast road for much of the way.

Ferry terminal at Cairnryan   Stena Line ferry at Cairnryan

Boarding the ferry at Cairnryan is easy, via the passenger gangway.  Your bags are checked in, so you can use the ferry's bars, restaurant, and Stena Plus lounge unencumbered...

Cairnryan to Belfast by Stena Line ferry

Crossing the Irish Sea from Scotland to Ireland...

Lounge on board the ferry to Belfast   Stena Plus lounge on the ferry to Belfast

On board the ferry there are bars, a restaurant, cinema & free WiFi.  It's so much more relaxed than air travel...

 

It's well worth paying the extra to use the Stena Plus lounge with complimentary red & white wine, tea, coffee & snacks and a great forward view.  Highly recommended...

The ferry arrives at Belfast Port   Belfast Stena Line terminal

Arrived at Belfast Port...

 

Belfast Stena Line Terminal...

Video guideBelfast to Glasgow & London via Cairnryan...

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London to Belfast via Liverpool

Overnight in comfort with private cabin with shower & toilet...

Stena Line offer a time-effective overnight ferry from Liverpool (in fact, Birkenhead) to Belfast with comfy en suite cabins making an eco-friendly business trip or weekend away feasible without the pain of the plane, see the photos below & watch the video guide here.  There's also a leisurely daytime service.

Timetable northbound

 London & Liverpool ► Belfast

 

Day boat

Night boat

 By train - change at Liverpool Lime St.

Tues-Sat 

Sunday

Monday

Tues-Sat

Sunday

 London Euston depart

05:27

-

17:33

18:33

17:23

 Birkenhead Hamilton Square arrive

09:05

-

20:10

21:10

21:02

 By ferry...

Tues-Sun 

 

Daily

   

 Birkenhead Twelve Quays depart

10:30

10:30

22:00

22:30

22:30

 Belfast Stena Line VT2 terminal arrive

18:30

18:30

06:30

06:30

06:30

Timetable southbound

 Belfast ► Liverpool & London

 

Day boat

Night boat

 By ferry...

Tues-Sat 

Sunday 

Monday

Tues-Fri

Saturday

Sunday

 Belfast Stena VT2 terminal depart

10:30

10:30

22:00

22:30

22:30

22:30

 Birkenhead Twelve Quays arrive

18:30

18:30

06:30

06:30

06:30

06:30

 By train - change at Liverpool Lime St.

Tues-Sat 

Sunday 

Tuesday

Wed-Sat

Sunday

Monday

 Birkenhead Hamilton Square depart

19:26

20:06

07:31

07:31

08:11

07:31

 London Euston arrive

22:09

23:54

09:56

09:56

11:37

09:56

How much does it cost?    How to buy tickets   See map showing ferry terminal, Hamilton Square & Lime Street stations

If you're coming from Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds or anywhere else, simply look up train times to Birkenhead Hamilton Square at www.nationalrail.co.uk, with an arrival at least 90 minutes or so before the ferry sails.

You can double-check ferry times at www.stenaline.co.uk.  Train times are guides only, even the ones shown on the Stena Line site are a guide only, always check them for your date of travel at www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk.  You usually need to change at Liverpool Lime Street for Birkenhead Hamilton Square. 

SailRail tickets are valid on any suitable connecting train, so feel free to travel earlier than the recommended train if you like (for example, Stena Line suggests the 18:33 from London on Tuesdays-Saturdays, but feel free to take the 17:33 instead).

How much does it cost?

  • There are no SailRail tickets on this route now, so you buy separate tickets for the train and ferry.

  • London to Liverpool by train starts at €17.50 each way if you book ahead, only good for the specific train you book.

  • Liverpool to Belfast by ferry costs from £30 by day boat or £45 by night boat, each way per person, check fares at www.stenaline.co.uk.

    Cabins are optional, but typically cost around £55 per cabin for a 4-bed inside cabin with shower, toilet & free WiFi, rising to £85 for a Comfort Class outside cabin with shower, toilet, satellite TV, tea & coffee making facilities, complimentary fruit bowl & soft drinks, free WiFi.

    On the day boat, treat yourself to the privacy of a cabin with shower & toilet at a reduced rate from £20 per cabin, or to the Stena Plus lounge with complimentary tea, coffee, snacks & red or white wine for £25 extra.

How to buy tickets...

  • Step 1, book the ferry online with a comfy cabin at www.stenaline.co.uk, or call Stena Line on 08445 762 762, lines open 08:30-20:00 Mondays-Fridays, 09:00-18:00 Saturdays, 09:00-17:00 Sundays.  In the Republic of Ireland call 01 204 7744.

  • Step 2, then book a train from your local station to Birkenhead Hamilton Square (if taking local train & transfer bus from Liverpool to the ferry terminal) or to Liverpool Lime Street (if taking a taxi from Liverpool to the ferry terminal) at www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk.  If you buy an advance ticket

About the journey to Belfast

About the journey from Belfast

The journey in pictures...

Bay of 4 seats on a Virgin Trains pendolino from London to Liverpool   A Virgin Trains 'pendolino' between London and Liverpool or Lancaster

Take a 125mph Avanti West Coast Pendolino from London to Liverpool...

Stena Line transfer bus at the ferry terminal in Birkenhead   Comfort Class cabin on the Stena Line ferry from Liverpool to Belfast

The courtesy bus from Birkenhead Hamilton Square arrived at the Stena Line terminal...

 

...Comfort Class cabin with shower & toilet, satellite TV, free WiFi, tea/coffee facilities.

Lounge and bar on the ferry Stena Mersey   Stena Line ferry from Liverpool to Belfast

The lounge and bar on the Stena Mersey...

 

The Stena Line ferry from Liverpool to Belfast...

Video guide:  Belfast to London overnight...

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Hotels in Belfast

More history than most hotels 3 times its age: The Europa...

Opened in 1971, Belfast's famous Europa Hotel has more history than most hotels three times its age.  It was the hotel used by journalists such as Trevor MacDonald, Kate Adie, John Simpson during the Troubles in the 1970s and 80s, when it earned the title of Most Bombed Hotel in Europe.  Indeed, it suffered so many bomb attacks and had so many windows boarded it up, it was also known as the Hardboard Hotel.  Yet it stayed open in spite of everything, a true survivor.  And today it's a fabulous place to stay, ideally located next to Great Victoria Street Station and across the road from the famous Crown Bar.  You'll find a book about the history of the hotel in your room for you to read, and a display case on the first floor near the piano with some hotel memorabilia.  There's also a railway connection, as it was built on the site of the Great Northern Railway terminus, the ancestor of today's Great Victoria Street station.

Europa Hotel, Belfast, exterior   Suite at the Europa Hotel, Belfast

The Europa Hotel, Belfast...

 

The Moselle Suite, room 911.

Superior room at the Europa Hotel, Belfast   Glass cabinet on first floor of Europa Hotel   Europa Hotel, Belfast

Superior room, 915...

 

The history cabinet, first floor.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth a look...

www.tripadvisor.com is a huge resource, a good place to browse independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels in Belfast & NI.

Hostelworld logoBackpacker hostels...

If you're on a tight budget, don't forget the hostels.  For a dorm bed or an ultra-cheap private room in backpacker hostels in Belfast and most European cities use www.hostelworld.com.


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