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Edinburgh to Belfast by car

Portland, Oregon
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Edinburgh to Belfast by car


We will be in Edinburgh for about 8 days and were hoping to do one overnight trip by car to Belfast, which means taking the ferry. Has anyone done this and if so, how long does it take and any suggestions?


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1. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car

This would only make sense if you were staying for 4 or 5 days.

If you are only going for 1 day you would be better flying.

Destination Expert
for Glasgow
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2. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car

As Kenko says going by car for one day makes no sense, when you can get flights that will be much faster and almost certainly cheaper.

It must be about 130 miles or so from Edinburgh to Cairnryan, it's motorway as far as Kilmarnock and then dual carriageway to Ayr, after that it is mostly single carriageway with the odd bit dualled. Given that you typically need to check in an hour before sailing you would want to leave at least 4 hrs for the joumey from Edinburgh. During the summer P&O have sailings from Troon which is less of a drive but longer on the boat, Larne to Belfast is about a half hour drive.

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3. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car

The AA would agree regarding distance, sending you via Glasgow and the A77 coast road down the clyde. They reckon 2h 39m which I think is optimistic. Then you have to hang around for the ferry and cross, either to Larne or direct to Belfast.

You have just taken at least 8 hours out of your day ... maybe more.

Flying: even if you have to wait a while at the airport, that would be much less time, much less hassle, much less fatiguing.

Just agreeing with and reinforcing the earlier messages. Sorry.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car

We too, are touring Scotland by car, then had planned on ferry from Troon to Belfast. We plan on 12-14 days in Ireland, before ferry back to the UK. Undecided on departure point from Ireland back. We return the car to London.

How long is the ferry trip from Troon to Belfast?

Amsterdam, The...
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5. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car


2 hours

Edinburgh, Scotland
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6. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car

A point which has not so far been really firmly made is cost. The ferries are anything but cheap. On several occasions I have looked into using my own car to travel between Edinburgh and Belfast and I found that I would need to spend a significant time in Ireland before the cost of car hire exceeded that of taking my own car on the ferry. Obviously, if you are hiring a car anyway, you don't have any saving to offset that cost.

It might be worth adding that on other occasions I looked into the option of driving to Cairnryan and travelling as a foot passenger. Even at short notice so the air fares were high, it remained cheaper to fly from Edinburgh. (The ferry from Troon takes you to Larne).

Finally, if you are proposing to take a hire car from the mainland on the ferry and into the Republic of Ireland, you need to be quite sure that the hire company you use will permit that and will provide the necessary insurance cover and documents, and meet any other specific requirements (for example, I think larger vehicles are obliged to carry warning triangles). Some companies don't permit such uses, and you may find you have to pay a premium, or a premium price for your hire overall to cover the additional risks these present.

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7. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car

"if you are proposing to take a hire car from the mainland on the ferry and into the Republic of Ireland..."

Most car hire companies restrict or penalise the use of their cars, if hired in Britain, ANYWHERE in Ireland, whether in the UK or not.

You need to cost the WHOLE of your proposed journey, both in time and cash (fuel, possible insurance surcharge and spectacular ferry costs) against the plane and Rail & Sail alternatives. I've never heard of anyone finding taking a hired car made net sense.

8. Re: Edinburgh to Belfast by car

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