Newcastle to Belfast express
November 17, 2011 10:22 AM   Subscribe

[Directions] Fastest way to get from Newcastle to Belfast. posting for a friend.

Trying to find the fastest way to get from Newcastle to Belfast on a Saturday morning in January. We can have a vehicle, are traveling with a lot of luggage and musical instruments, and need to be in Belfast by 1:30 pm. There will be 3-4 of us.

Thanks very much.
posted by anya32 to Travel & Transportation around United Kingdom (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: So, doing this by public transit... as you know, the Irish sea is in the way. The nearest place to get a ferry is in southwest Scotland: Cairnryan near Stranraer.

There are trains from Newcastle to Stranraer, but with all that stuff, it could be a trial. I've tried putting in one or two Janurary Saturday mornings into and it's claiming that the trains are replaced by buses. You don't want to be doing that with musical instruments.

So if you're not flying, and time is of the essence, I'd probably recommend driving to Cairnryan, and taking your car on the boat. I've never taken this route, though.
posted by randomination at 10:59 AM on November 17, 2011

(you'd be taking a ferry to Larne, Northern Ireland)
posted by randomination at 11:00 AM on November 17, 2011

There's a flight from Manchester than in theory lands at 1:25pm which is pushing it - could you not fligh out the night before and stay in a hotel? The flight itself is less than an hour but its about a 3 hour drive to get to manchester which in total travel time would be about 2 hours less than driving to Cairnryan to get the ferry but you'd have to check in 1-2 hours early for the flight (not sure if Belfast counts as 'international' for the purposes of checkin times)
posted by missmagenta at 11:27 AM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: It's also a longish way to go if you need to be in Belfast that early in the afternoon--about 160 miles from Newcastle to Stranraer or Cairnryan (apparently there are ferries from both), almost none of it on motorways: Google Maps is timing it at a minimum of about three-and-a-half hours. Then there's a couple of hours on the ferry, plus whatever check-in time they expect if you're driving. Various ferries available from Stranraer and Cairnryan to Larne and Belfast; I looked at, which is annoying (eg you have to specify what _model_ of vehicle you'll be travelling with to get a quote; I put in Ford Focus estate and four adult travellers and it was suggesting c.£160 each way) but comprehensive. You'd be getting up very early that morning, anyway.

There are also easyjet flights from Newcastle direct to Belfast, currently going *very* cheap (£23.99 for one person on Sat 14 Jan, leave 7.15 arrive 8.10) at the headline price at least--taxes and so on will add significantly to that, and you pay a lot extra for luggage on a no frills airline, of course.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 11:40 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

It'd be a beautiful drive, though, across the north Pennines then through Dumfries and Galloway...
posted by lapsangsouchong at 11:41 AM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: What lapsangsouchong said: it's a lovely drive, but it's not the easiest, especially on a cold dark morning, and you'd have to be out of the door around 3am for the 7:30am Stena fast ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast.
posted by holgate at 11:58 AM on November 17, 2011

Response by poster: from my friend.

thank you thank you thank you! this is incredibly helpful. we're a band so we're playing a show one night in newcastle and then the next afternoon in belfast. so unfortunately, leaving the night before is not an option. lots of great information/confirmation of some research above though.

thank you!
posted by anya32 at 7:21 PM on November 17, 2011

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