Travel to Belfast
Flying to Belfast
Flights to Belfast from elsewhere in the UK include a mix of low-cost and scheduled airlines, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Flybe and easyJet. United operates direct flights from the USA. Cheap flights to Belfast are available during the autumn and winter when temperatures fall and the weather is more unpredictable.
From London - 1 hour 15 minutes; New York - 6 hours 35 minutes; Los Angeles - 13 hours 10 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 9 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 26 hours (including stopover).
Travel by road
The rules of the road in Northern Ireland are the same as in the rest of the UK. Traffic drives on the left. Speed limits are 48kph (30mph) in urban areas, 113kph (70mph) on motorways and dual carriageways, or 80kph (50mph) or 97kph (60mph) as marked. The minimum driving age is 17. Drivers must be insured and possess vehicle registration documents. The two major motoring organisations, the AA (tel: +44 121 275 3746; www.theaa.com) and the RAC (tel: +44 844 891 3111; www.rac.co.uk) are good sources of information.
Emergency breakdown services
AA (tel: 0800 887 766, in the UK); RAC (tel: 0800 828 282, in the UK).
From Dublin and the south, the M1 motorway (this is a toll road) is well signposted for Belfast. It ends at Newry (61km/38 miles south of Belfast) and becomes the A1, which rejoins a different stretch of M1 then the A12 to the city centre. From the ferry port of Larne, take the A8 and then the M2 which goes right into the city centre. From Ballymena, Antrim and the north, the M22 joins the M2.
Eurolines (tel: +44 871 781 8178; www.eurolines.co.uk) services run to Belfast from mainland Britain, via Stranraer, with connections to destinations throughout Northern Ireland. Translink Goldline (tel: +44 28 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) operates services within Northern Ireland as well as to Dublin. The main bus and coach station is Europa Bus Centre located at Glengall Street, off Great Victoria Street.
Time to city
From Dublin - 2 hours; Derry - 1 hour 30 minutes; Ballycastle - 1 hour 5 minutes; Omagh - 1 hour 15 minutes.
Travel by Rail
You can reach Belfast from most towns and cities in Ireland, north and south, via an integrated bus and rail network.
There are four railway stations in Belfast. Belfast Central Station, East Bridge Street, located close to the Waterfront Hall and St George’s Market, is a 10-minute walk from the city centre. This station offers services to Dublin and other spots in Northern Ireland. Great Victoria Street Station, Botanic Station and City Hospital Station offer suburban rail services.
Translink (tel: +44 28 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) operates Northern Ireland's bus and rail network. The Translink Enterprise rail service runs eight times daily from Belfast Central Station to Dublin.
If you're travelling from Scotland, Scotrail (tel: +44 344 811 0141; www.scotrail.co.uk) sells Rail & Sail tickets, which are valid from any station in Scotland to Belfast via Ayr and Cairnryan. This includes the ferry crossing from Cairnryan.
Steam train journeys in vintage carriages are also available from Belfast (tel: +44 28 9337 3968; www.steamtrainsireland.com) on select dates.
From Dublin - 2 hours; Bangor - 30 minutes; Lisburn - 25 minutes; Portadown - 50 minutes.
A free bus links Belfast Central Station to the city centre on production of a train ticket.
Travel by boat
There are frequent passenger sailings each day from Belfast Harbour (tel: +44 28 9055 4422; www.belfast-harbour.co.uk), as well as from Larne Port (tel: +44 28 2887 2100; www.portoflarne.co.uk), which is about 25 minutes' drive from the city. During the summer months, international cruise ships also call at Belfast.
Stena Line (tel: +44 844 770 7070; www.stenaline.co.uk) offers services to Belfast from Liverpool (journey time - 8 hours) and from Cairnryan, Scotland (journey time - 2 hours 15 minutes). P&O Ferries (tel: 0871 664 2121; www.poferries.com) operates crossings from Cairnryan (journey time - 2 hours) and Troon (journey time - 2 hours 15 minutes) to Larne. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (tel: +44 8722 992 992; www.steam-packet.com) runs ferries from the Isle of Man to Belfast (journey time - 2 hours 45 minutes).
Translink (tel: +44 28 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) runs rail services from Belfast Central Station to Larne Port. The journey takes about 50 minutes. It is then a 10-minute walk to the port.