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Ferries to Scotland

Geographically speaking, Scotland occupies the northern third of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, sharing a land border with England to its south, and with Northern Ireland found to the south west, across the Irish Sea.

Scotland is home to hundreds of islands and many archipelagos, all varying in size. The Isle of Skye is perhaps the most well-known, part of the Hebrides along the west coast, as well as the historically rich northern isles of Orkney and the slightly more far-flung Shetland Islands. It’s usually on these islands, particularly the Western Isles, where Scotch whisky is made; it’s one of the nation’s best exports, with some five hundred million bottles produced annually.

Scotland boasts a mix of spectacular and spellbinding landscapes; it is a land of glorious, sweeping highlands with glistening lochs in the northwest, inhabited by a rich and varied wildlife, attracting high numbers of birdwatchers from around the world.

It has a blossoming arts and culture scene, which is most prominent in Glasgow, and countless castles, the most famous being the iconic hilltop fortress in the capital, Edinburgh. It’s believed there was once over three thousand castles in Scotland.

Getting a ferry to Scotland from Northern Ireland is simple, with a choice of conventional and high-speed sailings connecting you to south west Scotland. The ferries are modern, well-appointed vessels and provide a short and frequent year round link across the Irish Sea.

Though the direct passenger ferry link to Scotland from mainland Europe is no longer operating, the UK road network provides good access to all regions of Scotland. So if you’re travelling from the continent: going via England is a reasonable alternative, preferably sailing to a port in the north east England to minimise driving time. The Port of Newcastle is around two and a half hours from Edinburgh by car, while Hull is roughly four hours from the Scottish border.

Scotland also provides a gateway by ferry between the UK and the numerous Scottish isles, great if you’re looking for an onward connection, or equally if you’re heading back to the mainland.

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Popular Ferry Operators

  • P&O Irish Sea
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  • Stena Line
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Scotland reviews

  • "good service"

    We recently did the crossing between Cairn Ryan and Belfast returning by the same route, Overall we were very pleased with the service and especially the staff and crew we encountered. We prepaid for breakfast on the outward journey and frankly it was a mistake The breakfast was old and tired (we ate it whilst waiting to depart the dock) and obviously left over from the previous journey. My advice would be to wait for an hour or so in order to have a fresher version other than that the ship was clean and confortable and the crew excellent personable and polite. We decidie to return early and was charge (apoligetically) another £53 Why so much? I assumed it was a busier time for the ferry but it was almost empty on the 11:30pm crossing nobody had any idea. I would use stena again tho as the only alternative was P&O and after the dover sacking and rehire scandal I will never use them

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  • "Smooth Sailing "

    Easy booking through Direct Ferry complete with scannable ticket. Checked in at both ends easily and quickly. We left our car at Cairnryan. Lots of parking available. Check you bag and it’s on the belt by the time you walk to the terminal. Beautiful ship. Almost like a cruise ship rather than a ferry. First time using the ferry and cannot be more satisfied with our journey. 

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  • "Ireland trip"

    No problems with the trip,just a poor experience when disembarking. Why is there no clear instructions with regards to starting car engines? We were sat for 25 minutes, whilst all around us people were running their car engine, on an enclosed deck. My wife suffers from health issues and had a panic attack, due to the exhaust fumes. There should be clear instructions NOT to start cars until told to by Stenna staff. There is nothing pleasant about exhaust fumes,and potentially could result in a serious health emergency. This experience sullied what had been a very pleasant trip.

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  • "Great experience"

    Such a pleasant trip!

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Onboard the ferries

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Routes and Ports in Scotland