London to Belfast via Birkenhead

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deltic

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Potentially looking to make this trip next month - anyone travelled this route and any advice on best fares etc.
 
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bangor-toad

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Hi,
It's one of the routes I've used in my (pre-covid) many trips from Belfast <--> England.

There was an inclusive Sail-Rail ticket, which still appears on BRfares.com, but it hasn't been possible to book it through any method I've tried for a few years. You'll need to get seperate train and ferry tickets.

Others will be able to offer up any tips for getting a better train fare but I'd look at a fairly standard advance ticket.
There used to be a bus from Birkenhead Hamilton Square to the ferry port but that doesn't seem to be running anymore.
https://www.stenaline.co.uk/routes/liverpool-belfast/liverpool-port

Before the covid restrictions there were often £10 (one way) foot passenger fares on the weekday 10:30am sailing. These are all showing as "sold out" at the moment and the only fare for foot passengers is £22 for the day crossing or £32 for the night crossing.
I personally would try to get a cabin for the night crossing.

Birkenhead to Belfast is the longest of the standard ferry routes to Northern Ireland. For my 'I don't feel like flying again' trips I generally prefer the scottish sailrail route. That's ferry Belfast to Cairnryan, bus to Ayr, train to Glasgow and then down the WCML. It takes about the same time as via Birkenhead or going via Dublin to Holyhead. These tickets have just gone back on sale for £56 one way.

Stena have two new ships on Birkenhead to Belfast route. They are quite nice with plenty of space and places to eat and drink. The last time I used them (last October) the wifi was free and whilst obviously fairly low bandwidth it was stable and reliable.
The food is basic but tasty and priced reasonably.

When you arrive into Belfast there should be a bus to get into the city (Translink route 96). But there's only one bus timed to meet the day time sailing and if you miss it you'll either need to get a lift or get a taxi. It's not too far or expensive.

Enjoy your trip,
Mr Toad
 

185

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Others will be able to offer up any tips for getting a better train fare but I'd look at a fairly standard advance ticket.
There used to be a bus from Birkenhead Hamilton Square to the ferry port but that doesn't seem to be running anymore.
https://www.stenaline.co.uk/routes/liverpool-belfast/liverpool-port


Cheapest open return is London-Liverpool on LNR's slower trains, changing at Crewe or Stafford, £36 but with heavy mon-sat time restrictions > https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ticket_types/restrictions/LF

Ticket on Merseyrail over to Birkenhead Hamilton Sq is £3.25 where you can either walk (1km), get an Uber (£3ish) to the Twelve Quays terminal or get the 409 Wallasey Village bus (10 mins, £3) from bus stop BD.

...Cheaper than the £12 Uber charge from Liverpool Lime St.


(Or use the best ferry in the world ;) to Seacombe (Wallasey), 1.4km walk or off the ferry at Woodside (Birkenhead), lands close to Hamilton Sq Station)
 
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Watershed

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That's ferry Belfast to Cairnryan, bus to Ayr, train to Glasgow and then down the WCML. It takes about the same time as via Birkenhead or going via Dublin to Holyhead. These tickets have just gone back on sale for £56 one way.
Those tickets are very good value. The ferry used to run to Stranraer, and connect with the train from there to Glasgow.

If you're not in a hurry, I would thoroughly recommend doing that route anyway, as it has a magical "forgotten middle of nowhere" kind of atmosphere - and from time to time there are suggestions of closing the line, as it's so little used now the ferry has moved.

If so, you'll realistically want to get a taxi from the Cairnryan ferry terminal to Stranraer (IIRC it cost about £10 when I did it last year). There is a 2 hourly Stagecoach bus and a 4 hourly Citylink coach, but as the 4 hourly trains appear still to be timed to connect with when the 4 hourly ferry ran to Stranraer, you now just miss the connection if you take the bus/coach, and face a rather long wait!

I imagine your ticket would probably be accepted on the train from Stranraer, as it historically used to be on the route, but if not, the fare to Ayr won't break the bank.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Stena have introduced new ships of the same E-Flexer type on the Birkenhead-Belfast and Holyhead-Dublin routes, built in China.
I haven't seen any passenger reports on them yet (mostly operated so far in the restricted lock-down period of course).
E-Flexer-class ferry - Wikipedia
The E-Flexer is a class of Chinese-built Ro-Pax ferries ordered by Stena RoRo for European line service. Nine vessels of the class are on order, and upon delivery will be operated by Stena Line, Brittany Ferries, and DFDS Seaways. Stena Line are to take five vessels of the class, Brittany Ferries three (two of which will be powered by LNG), and a single vessel will go to DFDS. All of the vessels will be delivered to Stena RoRo with the Stena Line vessels transferred to that company and the Brittany Ferries and DFDS examples long-term chartered to those operators.
 

deltic

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Hi,
It's one of the routes I've used in my (pre-covid) many trips from Belfast <--> England.

There was an inclusive Sail-Rail ticket, which still appears on BRfares.com, but it hasn't been possible to book it through any method I've tried for a few years. You'll need to get seperate train and ferry tickets.

Others will be able to offer up any tips for getting a better train fare but I'd look at a fairly standard advance ticket.
There used to be a bus from Birkenhead Hamilton Square to the ferry port but that doesn't seem to be running anymore.
https://www.stenaline.co.uk/routes/liverpool-belfast/liverpool-port

Before the covid restrictions there were often £10 (one way) foot passenger fares on the weekday 10:30am sailing. These are all showing as "sold out" at the moment and the only fare for foot passengers is £22 for the day crossing or £32 for the night crossing.
I personally would try to get a cabin for the night crossing.

Birkenhead to Belfast is the longest of the standard ferry routes to Northern Ireland. For my 'I don't feel like flying again' trips I generally prefer the scottish sailrail route. That's ferry Belfast to Cairnryan, bus to Ayr, train to Glasgow and then down the WCML. It takes about the same time as via Birkenhead or going via Dublin to Holyhead. These tickets have just gone back on sale for £56 one way.

Stena have two new ships on Birkenhead to Belfast route. They are quite nice with plenty of space and places to eat and drink. The last time I used them (last October) the wifi was free and whilst obviously fairly low bandwidth it was stable and reliable.
The food is basic but tasty and priced reasonably.

When you arrive into Belfast there should be a bus to get into the city (Translink route 96). But there's only one bus timed to meet the day time sailing and if you miss it you'll either need to get a lift or get a taxi. It's not too far or expensive.

Enjoy your trip,
Mr Toad
thanks - very helpful
 

185143

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I got a couple of £11 ferry singles in October and it was lovely. The Stena Mersey on the way out didn't have a lot in the way of facilities on it, but I think that's been retired now. The Stena Edda I came back on was exceptional.
 

Djgr

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Potentially looking to make this trip next month - anyone travelled this route and any advice on best fares etc.
On both the occasions that I have travelled overnight there have been shared taxis waiting at the Belfast end.
 

Hadders

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I travelled from Belfast to Birkenhead a few years ago. Overall it was a decent experience. The tickets are good value and they still exist but as I understand it you have to have a compulsory reservation for the ferry but the no ferry places are released to the railway.

ISTR the fares structure was a little complicated, the fare for the day ferry was cheaper than the night ferry and in summer the tickets were more expensive than in winter.
 

L401CJF

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Hi,
It's one of the routes I've used in my (pre-covid) many trips from Belfast <--> England.

There was an inclusive Sail-Rail ticket, which still appears on BRfares.com, but it hasn't been possible to book it through any method I've tried for a few years. You'll need to get seperate train and ferry tickets.

Others will be able to offer up any tips for getting a better train fare but I'd look at a fairly standard advance ticket.
There used to be a bus from Birkenhead Hamilton Square to the ferry port but that doesn't seem to be running anymore.
https://www.stenaline.co.uk/routes/liverpool-belfast/liverpool-port

Before the covid restrictions there were often £10 (one way) foot passenger fares on the weekday 10:30am sailing. These are all showing as "sold out" at the moment and the only fare for foot passengers is £22 for the day crossing or £32 for the night crossing.
I personally would try to get a cabin for the night crossing.

Birkenhead to Belfast is the longest of the standard ferry routes to Northern Ireland. For my 'I don't feel like flying again' trips I generally prefer the scottish sailrail route. That's ferry Belfast to Cairnryan, bus to Ayr, train to Glasgow and then down the WCML. It takes about the same time as via Birkenhead or going via Dublin to Holyhead. These tickets have just gone back on sale for £56 one way.

Stena have two new ships on Birkenhead to Belfast route. They are quite nice with plenty of space and places to eat and drink. The last time I used them (last October) the wifi was free and whilst obviously fairly low bandwidth it was stable and reliable.
The food is basic but tasty and priced reasonably.

When you arrive into Belfast there should be a bus to get into the city (Translink route 96). But there's only one bus timed to meet the day time sailing and if you miss it you'll either need to get a lift or get a taxi. It's not too far or expensive.

Enjoy your trip,
Mr Toad
There have been numerous reports that the free bus no longer runs between Hamilton Square and the Terminal but it does still run and has been throughout the pandemic. I see it quite often.

Hope this helps
 

eastend43

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Ticket on Merseyrail over to Birkenhead Hamilton Sq is £3.25 where you can either walk (1km), get an Uber (£3ish) to the Twelve Quays terminal or get the 409 Wallasey Village bus (10 mins, £3) from bus stop BD.

...Cheaper than the £12 Uber charge from Liverpool Lime St.

(Or use the best ferry in the world ;) to Seacombe (Wallasey), 1.4km walk or off the ferry at Woodside (Birkenhead), lands close to Hamilton Sq Station)
There have been numerous reports that the free bus no longer runs between Hamilton Square and the Terminal but it does still run and has been throughout the pandemic. I see it quite often.

Hope this helps
Like L401CJF, I've seen the free bus out and about at the time it would be taking people from Hamilton Square and the terminal. However, I note that the Stena website states that there is not a bus running. As they used the same bus to load passengers from the terminal onto the ferry the last time I got the ferry, it could be that I've seen it travelling to the terminal just to do the internal transfer (I've not seen it parked up outside Hamilton Square). I'd phone the terminal to double-check if you plan to get the free bus.

While the Mersey Ferry is great, it's only practical for the morning Stena line departure and at the moment, Seacombe is closed for major refurbishments so it only calls at Woodside (a 25-minute walk to the Stena terminal). You could get the Arriva 409 or 411 bus from Hamilton Square/Woodside, but only the 411 operates in the evening (if getting the overnight ferry). Both the 409 and 411 operate a loop around Birkenhead so you head away from the ferry terminal into Birkenhead first, taking about 15 minutes (with a 7-minute walk to the terminal from the bus stop). Whatever you do, if you are going for the overnight ferry do not get the Arriva 423 from Liverpool to Seacombe as it goes on a tour of the Wirral taking over an hour to get to Seacombe.

While it is walkable from Hamilton Square, it's not a walk I would want to do, particularly heading for the overnight ferry. I live in Birkenhead so my comment isn't really about it being safe. It's more that it's pretty quiet and industrial, although busier during the day when the college is open. You should also note that Uber coverage in Birkenhead is patchy.

I found the old overnight ferry (with a cabin) to be really good and the connection into Belfast on the bus very easy. I'm looking forward to getting one of the new ferries.

Waking up on the final stage of the journey going up Belfast Lough was great.

For the train from London, you should note that the routing guide allows London to Liverpool via Chester and Hamilton Square, and it's not much of a time difference going that way and often easier changing at Chester. I usually find it easier to get cheaper tickets from London to Birkenhead by getting a London to Liverpool ticket and a separate Merseyrail ticket. Unless you have an aversion to lifts (or it is out of order), it's usually a lot easier and quicker getting the lift from the Lime Street main concourse straight down to the Wirral line platform.
 

L401CJF

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Like L401CJF, I've seen the free bus out and about at the time it would be taking people from Hamilton Square and the terminal. However, I note that the Stena website states that there is not a bus running. As they used the same bus to load passengers from the terminal onto the ferry the last time I got the ferry, it could be that I've seen it travelling to the terminal just to do the internal transfer (I've not seen it parked up outside Hamilton Square). I'd phone the terminal to double-check if you plan to get the free bus.

While the Mersey Ferry is great, it's only practical for the morning Stena line departure and at the moment, Seacombe is closed for major refurbishments so it only calls at Woodside (a 25-minute walk to the Stena terminal). You could get the Arriva 409 or 411 bus from Hamilton Square/Woodside, but only the 411 operates in the evening (if getting the overnight ferry). Both the 409 and 411 operate a loop around Birkenhead so you head away from the ferry terminal into Birkenhead first, taking about 15 minutes (with a 7-minute walk to the terminal from the bus stop). Whatever you do, if you are going for the overnight ferry do not get the Arriva 423 from Liverpool to Seacombe as it goes on a tour of the Wirral taking over an hour to get to Seacombe.

While it is walkable from Hamilton Square, it's not a walk I would want to do, particularly heading for the overnight ferry. I live in Birkenhead so my comment isn't really about it being safe. It's more that it's pretty quiet and industrial, although busier during the day when the college is open. You should also note that Uber coverage in Birkenhead is patchy.

I found the old overnight ferry (with a cabin) to be really good and the connection into Belfast on the bus very easy. I'm looking forward to getting one of the new ferries.

Waking up on the final stage of the journey going up Belfast Lough was great.

For the train from London, you should note that the routing guide allows London to Liverpool via Chester and Hamilton Square, and it's not much of a time difference going that way and often easier changing at Chester. I usually find it easier to get cheaper tickets from London to Birkenhead by getting a London to Liverpool ticket and a separate Merseyrail ticket. Unless you have an aversion to lifts (or it is out of order), it's usually a lot easier and quicker getting the lift from the Lime Street main concourse straight down to the Wirral line platform.
I have seen it parked up outside Hamilton Square recently, and with passengers on heading down to the station.

Strange one!
 

deltic

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Had a good and safe trip over and back. Surprising number of foot passengers, probably 50 on the way out and around 100 on the way back - three double decker loads socially distanced to move from the ferry to the terminal at the Liverpool end. Bus was running from the terminal to Hamilton Square on the way back but no publicity about it and I only got it by chance as there were no Ubers available and the taxis had all been taken. About 7/8 of us on it, it was an old double decker and not one of Stena's branded buses. I feel there is the opportunity to promote and provide better public transport links at both ends. Dont know if capacity on the ferry is restricted due to Covid but foot passengers were being turned away at Liverpool as it was full and at Belfast people were being told the next day ferry was full.
 

danm14

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If so, you'll realistically want to get a taxi from the Cairnryan ferry terminal to Stranraer (IIRC it cost about £10 when I did it last year). There is a 2 hourly Stagecoach bus and a 4 hourly Citylink coach, but as the 4 hourly trains appear still to be timed to connect with when the 4 hourly ferry ran to Stranraer, you now just miss the connection if you take the bus/coach, and face a rather long wait!
The CityLink coach is actually the Ulsterbus service from Belfast to Glasgow/Edinburgh.

It is set-down only at Cairnryan heading to Stranraer, and pick-up only heading to Glasgow.

The Stranraer-Cairnryan portion of the service is only usable by those travelling between Stranraer and Ayr, Glasgow or Edinburgh.
 

Flying Snail

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Stena are now offering 2 return trips a week Holyhead-Belfast, Fri and Sat night at 23.30 from Holyhead, Sat, Sun at 09.30 from Belfast. Will be using Stena Estrid taken off Holyhead-Dublin rotation for the weekends.

Foot passengers being accepted at same fares as Liverpool-Belfast.

Expected to be temporary while UK-IRL passenger numbers remain low.
 

island

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They’re also offering cheap day returns from Holyhead-Dublin and Fishguard-Rosslare presented as booze cruises, buy duty free goods on the trip back. Pax can’t actually enter Ireland properly as they’d need clear Covid tests and have to quarantine, but apparently it counts enough for them to get cheap alcohol etc.
 

Djgr

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Like L401CJF, I've seen the free bus out and about at the time it would be taking people from Hamilton Square and the terminal. However, I note that the Stena website states that there is not a bus running. As they used the same bus to load passengers from the terminal onto the ferry the last time I got the ferry, it could be that I've seen it travelling to the terminal just to do the internal transfer (I've not seen it parked up outside Hamilton Square). I'd phone the terminal to double-check if you plan to get the free bus.

While the Mersey Ferry is great, it's only practical for the morning Stena line departure and at the moment, Seacombe is closed for major refurbishments so it only calls at Woodside (a 25-minute walk to the Stena terminal). You could get the Arriva 409 or 411 bus from Hamilton Square/Woodside, but only the 411 operates in the evening (if getting the overnight ferry). Both the 409 and 411 operate a loop around Birkenhead so you head away from the ferry terminal into Birkenhead first, taking about 15 minutes (with a 7-minute walk to the terminal from the bus stop). Whatever you do, if you are going for the overnight ferry do not get the Arriva 423 from Liverpool to Seacombe as it goes on a tour of the Wirral taking over an hour to get to Seacombe.

While it is walkable from Hamilton Square, it's not a walk I would want to do, particularly heading for the overnight ferry. I live in Birkenhead so my comment isn't really about it being safe. It's more that it's pretty quiet and industrial, although busier during the day when the college is open. You should also note that Uber coverage in Birkenhead is patchy.

I found the old overnight ferry (with a cabin) to be really good and the connection into Belfast on the bus very easy. I'm looking forward to getting one of the new ferries.

Waking up on the final stage of the journey going up Belfast Lough was great.

For the train from London, you should note that the routing guide allows London to Liverpool via Chester and Hamilton Square, and it's not much of a time difference going that way and often easier changing at Chester. I usually find it easier to get cheaper tickets from London to Birkenhead by getting a London to Liverpool ticket and a separate Merseyrail ticket. Unless you have an aversion to lifts (or it is out of order), it's usually a lot easier and quicker getting the lift from the Lime Street main concourse straight down to the Wirral line platform.
Just for future reference, whilst it is true that Ubers are a little patchy on the Wirral the main local private hire operator Argyle Satellite has a "lookey likey" app. that may prove more effective.
 
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