Travelling by Ferry from Belfast to Scotland – A Guide for Foot Passengers
Travelling as a foot passenger on the ferry between Belfast and Scotland is a fantastic way to experience the scenic views of the Irish Sea. With four daily ferry crossings in each direction, there are a variety of options available to cater to your needs and budget. Let’s delve into these:
1. Rail & Sail Ticket
In our view, this is possibly the best option, particularly if your travel plans extend beyond Glasgow.
How it works: Start from Belfast by taking bus service 96 or a taxi to Belfast Port (approx. 20 minutes). After crossing the Irish Sea and disembarking at Cairnryan, a coach awaits to transfer passengers to Ayr railway station for rail connections to Glasgow, a journey totalling roughly 3 hours.
Cost: £35 for the Rail & Sail ticket to/from Belfast and Glasgow/Edinburgh. This price covers the ferry, coach, and train. If your journey extends beyond Glasgow, greater savings can be made. For instance, a ticket from Belfast to Leeds or vice-versa is priced at just £50. The cost of your taxi or bus from the centre of Belfast to the port is extra (£2.20 for the bus, approximately £15 for a taxi).
Pros and Cons: Integrated ticketing; however, the journey requires handling multiple transfers/connections: from taxi or bus, to ferry, to coach, then train.
Book via Scotrail or Trainline. Customers in Britain can have tickets posted to their home address or collect from any rail station. Customers in Northern Ireland travelling to Britain need to collect their rail portion of their ticket from Ayr station. More information on ticket collection options can be found here.
2. Citylink/Ulsterbus Coach
How it works: Begin with an Ulsterbus (NI) or Citylink (Scotland) coach from Belfast to the port or from Glasgow to Cairnryan. After the ferry journey, another coach awaits at the arrival port to complete the trip to the destination city.
Cost: £32. This includes the cost of the ferry.
Pros and Cons: Reliable service. Requires a changeover between coaches.
Book tickets via the Citylink website.
3. Hannon Coach Belfast-Glasgow Express
How it works: This express service takes passengers from Belfast onto the ferry, and then, after arriving in Cairnryan, you continue on the same coach straight to Glasgow.
Cost: £43 each way. This fare includes the ferry journey.
Pros and Cons: Simplified process with minimal transfers – the same service takes you through most of the journey. Dependent on the coach’s schedule.
Tickets can be booked online via hannoncoach.com.
4. Booking Directly with Stena Line
How it works: From Belfast city centre or Glasgow, use bus service 96 or a taxi to get to Belfast Port (around 20 minutes). After the ferry crossing and arrival at Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan, you’ll need to arrange further transport to Glasgow or Belfast.
Cost: Bus service 96: £2.20 for a single trip. Taxi: Variable costs based on the precise pickup location and prevailing traffic conditions. Stena Line ferry: £35. With the addition of onward transport charges to or from Glasgow, this method would typically emerge as the priciest.
Pros and Cons: Provides maximum flexibility given the broader selection of ferry crossing times. No direct transport to or from Glasgow is included. This can potentially increasing the total cost significantly, especially if taxis are the primary mode of transport.
Tickets are bookable through the form below.