Ferries to Northern Ireland from the UK
In total, you will find 4 major ferry crossings to Northern Ireland. The ferries depart from:
In addition to the larger ferry lines, you can also take a small passenger ferry from the Scottish Hebrides to Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland can also be reached via Ireland. This is an option to consider if you are travelling from Southern England or France.
Take a look at our handy ferry map below for a good idea of the direct ferry services to Northern Ireland.
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Map with all direct ferry routes to Northern Ireland
If you want to travel to Northern Ireland from England, you can sail from Liverpool to Belfast. From Scotland, you can take the ferry from Cairnryan to either Larne or Belfast. These are the shortest crossings but if you take these connections you need to drive far to get to the departure port, it is more comfortable to choose the ferry departing from Liverpool.
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Ferry to Northern Ireland from England (Liverpool)
If you travel from England, you have the option to take the direct ferry from Liverpool Birkenhead to Belfast. The Liverpool-Belfast ferry duration is around 8 hours.
You can make this crossing both during the day and at night. A possible advantage of this last option is that you save on hotel accommodations.
England ⇔ Northern Ireland
Ferry from Scotland to Northern Ireland
If you travel from Scotland, you can travel from Cairnryan to either Belfast or Larne. These crossings are about just 2 hours. The ferry from Cairnryan to Larne is operated by P&O Ferries, and the Cairnryan to Belfast route is operated by Stena Line.
Scotland⇔ Northern Ireland
Alternative routes by ferry to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland can of course also be reached via Ireland. Ferries depart from Wales and arrive in Cork, Rosslare, and Dublin. From here you can drive further north.
Wales ⇔ Northern Ireland + Drive
Ferry from France to Northern Ireland
From France, there is no direct ferry to Northern Ireland; you could, however, sail to Dublin, Rosslare, or Cork though and travel by car further upwards to Northern Ireland. The ferry takes you 14 to 19 hours to reach Ireland.
France ⇔ Northern Ireland + drive
Frequently Asked Questions
There are 3 direct ferry crossings to Northern Ireland. From Liverpool, you can sail to Belfast with Stena Line. From Cairnryan, you can sail to either Belfast (Stena Line) or Larne (P&O Ferries).
The fastest ferries to Northern Ireland are the crossings from Scotland (Cairnryan) to Northern Ireland. These ferries take you in just 2 hours over the Irish Sea to Belfast or Larne in Northern Ireland. From Liverpool to Belfast you cross the Irish Sea in about 8 hours.
Cairnryan-Larne is the shortest crossing. The ferry covers a distance of 40 miles / 65 km on this route. Cairnryan Belfast is approximately 44 miles / 71 km and the longest crossing is from Belfast to Liverpool. This crossing is 135 miles / 218 km.