Thinking of taking the ferry from Liverpool to Belfast? In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn all you need to know about the Liverpool to Belfast ferry. This article covers everything from booking tickets, getting to the port, the check-in process and more!
There are two ferries from Liverpool to Belfast every day; a daytime sailing and an overnight sailing. The boat is open to both foot passengers and those with vehicles, and prices start from as little as £32 one way. Click here to book now with Direct Ferries.
I’ve done this crossing a few times and taking the ferry to Belfast is a great way to arrive in Northern Ireland! I found the trip is both relaxing and scenic, and if you want to have your vehicle with you on your trip this is a great option.
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What Ferries go to Belfast from UK Mainland?
Stena Line operates two daily ferries to Belfast from UK mainland.
There are two sailings each day between Liverpool Birkenhead and Belfast. A day crossing and a night crossing.
How Long is a Ferry from Liverpool to Belfast?
The journey from Birkenhead to Belfast takes just eight hours from port to port.
Liverpool to Belfast Ferry Timetable (Updated May 2023)
Day Service: The ferry leaves Liverpool at 10:30 am every day and arrives in Belfast at 6:30 pm.
Night Service: The ferry leaves Liverpool at 10:30 pm every day and arrives in Belfast at 6:30 am.
Liverpool to Belfast Ferry Prices 2023
Here are the current Liverpool to Belfast ferry prices:
- Foot Passenger from £32 ($43) one way
- Foot Passenger from £45 ($60) return
- Inside Cabin from £60 ($80)
- Outside Cabin from £65 ($87)
- Car from £130 ($174)
You do not need to purchase a cabin as there are plenty of areas for passengers to sit. It is possible to upgrade to a cabin on the ferry if you did not select one with your booking.
Each time I travel on the Liverpool Belfast ferry I opt for a foot passenger ticket with no cabin and just relax in the free lounges or at the bar.
Opting to upgrade to a cabin onboard (when it is not busy) is cheaper than booking online as the prices were £40 for an inside cabin and £45 for an outside cabin when purchased on the boat. Click here to book your ticket with Direct Ferries
How to Buy Tickets for the Ferry from Liverpool to Belfast
You can purchase tickets for the boat from Liverpool to Belfast online through Direct Ferries or you can get a quote using the quote engine below. You can also purchase direct at the port at Birkenhead but you’ll want to do this well in advance.
Getting to Liverpool
Liverpool is easily accessible from anywhere in the UK and Europe. John Lennon Airport is only 10km from the city centre on the estuary of the River Mersey.
There are many daily trains and buses from London and other UK cities.
London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street by train takes just 2hrs20m and tickets start from £23.50 if booked well in advance (prices can go up as high as £170 though if not booked in advance).
National Express run plenty of daily coaches between London Victoria and Liverpool One Bus Station. The cheapest ticket is £11.90 and takes 5hrs55m.
There are both an overnight train and bus between London and Liverpool, so you can save money on accommodation and arrive at the port in time for the morning ferry.
Getting to the Stena Line Port in Birkenhead
Both the ports in Liverpool (Birkenhead) and Belfast are not super simple to get to with public transport/on foot, so taking taxis can save some effort. A taxi from central Liverpool will cost around £15 and takes around 20 minutes.
However, with a little determination, getting to the Stena Lines port in Birkenhead can be done through a mixture of public transport and a short (2km) walk.
Stena Line Address: Terminal, 12 Quays, Tower Road, Birkenhead, CH41 1FE. Click here for directions.
Look out for the unique Egerton Bridge as you come into the port! Well worth a quick photo stop!
From Liverpool One Bus Terminal
Walk to Sir Thomas Street (half a km/ten minutes) and go to stop SC. Take the 437 bus towards West Kirby Station and get off at the first stop on Conway Street.
Take Adelphi Street all the way to Canning Street. Follow Canning Street onto Tower Road. The ferry terminal is off a mini-roundabout opposite a large derelict red-bricked building and tower.
Check-In Procedure for Ferries from Liverpool to Belfast
Check-in at Birkenhead port closes one hour before departure. Make sure you arrive early to avoid missing your boat.
There is no sea border between the mainland UK and Northern Ireland, but due to Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol, this may change in the future.
At present, there are no passport or customs checks. To board, simply go to the Stena Line terminal (address above) and give your name to the staff behind the check-in desk. They will then print your ticket.
Go through the main doors with your ticket and luggage and into the waiting area. You will then be called to board a bus for the short trip onto the ferry.
When I did this trip last it was a quick and easy process from check-in to the boat.
Facilities at the Port
- There is a small kiosk in the waiting area selling hot drinks and snacks
- Vending machines selling cold drinks and snacks
- Clean toilets next to the waiting room
- Free wifi is available throughout the port
- Face masks must be worn at all times within the terminal building
Boarding the Liverpool to Belfast Ferry
Boarding closes one hour before departure and a shuttle bus will come to the waiting area to pick up passengers. You will then be driven directly onto the ferry and the bus will pull up next to the stairs that lead to the passenger areas.
When you exit the bus, you will be given a ticket for the bus which will take you from the boat to the port side in Belfast. Keep this safe and make a note of the number as this will be called when it is time to disembark.
About the Stena Line Liverpool Belfast Ferry
Stena Line operates two ferries between Liverpool and Belfast; the Stena Embla and the Stena Edda. Both ships are brand new (2020 and 2019) and can take 120 cars and 1,000 passengers.
Facilities on Board
- Information Desk
- Duty-Free/Gift Shop
- Restaurant (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Coffee Kiosk/Snack Bar
- Licenced Bar
- Clean Toilets
- Lounge Seating
- kids Play Area
- Amusement Arcade
- Outside Smoking Area
- Free wifi
There is a restaurant at the front of the ship on the upper deck that serves breakfast. lunch and dinner.
The food is pre-cooked, warmed and served buffet-style, so don’t expect fine dining. I opted for the breakfast which was a good full-English similar to one you would find in any café, though the lunches and dinners were not great.
The restaurant and kiosk also sell cold snacks such as sandwiches and paninis.
Meals start from about £8. Soft drinks from £2. I would recommend buying your own food which you can eat at any of the table and chairs around the boat.
You can download the full menu here.
A safety announcement will be made before the ferry departs. In the event of an emergency, an alarm will be sounded. There are green arrows directing passengers to muster stations where staff will hand out life vests.
The crossing from Liverpool Birkenhead to Belfast takes exactly eight hours. Halfway you will pass the Isle of Man and this is really worth looking out for and heading out on deck (weather permitting) as the coastal scenery is stunning.
I did the trip in early November and the crossing was mostly calm. The vessel employed stabilisers when we hit rough water and it wasn’t very noticeable.
The boat on both routes (Liverpool to Belfast and Belfast to Liverpool) was not busy at all, likely given the time of year.
Disembarking the Ferry
Once the boat is about to pull into port, drivers will be asked to return to their vehicles. Foot passengers will need to wait until they are called by their bus ticket number that was given when you boarded the boat.
The bus will take you from the ferry to the dockside. From there you can take the free shuttle bus to the main passenger terminal (Terminal 4) for onward transport into Belfast.
Getting from the port to Belfast City Centre
If you arrive on the daytime sailing that gets into port at 18:30 public transport links may not be running. Once you exit the vessel, take the free shuttle bus to the main Terminal 4 building. From there it might be possible to get a bus into central Belfast if disembarking isn’t held up.
There is a free phone in the terminal building that connects straight to Discount Taxis. I paid 11GBP for the 7 km trip to Lagan, which is expensive but standard for the UK/Western Europe.
Where to Stay in Belfast
I stayed at the Lagan Backpackers Hostel just off Botany Road in South Belfast. Not the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in, however the staff were friendly and helpful and there was a nice vibe in the evenings with people getting together to drink and play music etc.
Things to See and Do in Belfast
- Belfast City Centre
- Belfast Castle
- Cave Hill
- Harland and Wolfe Docks (Titanic Quarter)
- Mural Tours
- Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Coast Road
Ferry from Liverpool to Belfast FAQs
The ferry from Liverpool to Belfast takes exactly 8 hours. This is the same for both the daytime and overnight crossings. Bear in mind that you’ll need to check in at least an hour before the sailing.
A foot passenger on the ferry from Liverpool to Belfast costs just £32 per person without a cabin or from £60 with a bed in a cabin.
You can easily sleep on the Liverpool Belfast ferry. You can purchase a cabin with a bed, or like many people, just crash out on the comfy chairs in the free lounges.
The morning boat from Liverpool to Belfast departs at 10:30 am and arrives at 6:30 pm. The overnight sailing departs at 10:30 pm and arrives at 6:30 am the next day.
Travelling by sea is a hugely rewarding experience and nowhere near as stressful as flying. I loved taking the ferry from Liverpool to Belfast and will continue to use this service when travelling between England and Northern Ireland.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets for the Stena Line Liverpool to Belfast ferry today through Direct Ferries and start your trip to Northern Ireland! You won’t regret it! Click here to book.
Read my other articles about Northern Ireland
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.
Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲