How to Travel From London to Dublin by Plane, Train, Bus, and Car

Chiltern Street in Marylebone district, London, England, UK
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

London, the capital of England, and Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, are two of the most visited cities in the United Kingdom and Europe respectively. London and Dublin are 288 miles (463 kilometers) apart as the bird flies. Dublin offers a smaller and more intimate city experience, while London brims with activity day and night.

The United Kingdom and Ireland are separated by the Irish Sea so flying between the two capitals is the only direct option for travel between London and Dublin. Any route that involves a car, bus, or train, will also require a journey by ferry, which slows the travel time down significantly. Ferries leave four times a day from Holyhead in Wales, and the journey takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. There are several low cost European and UK airlines that fly from London to Dublin so ticket prices can be relatively affordable. Of course, the prices will vary greatly depending on the time of year, time of day, London airport used, and how far in advance the tickets are purchased.

  Time Cost Best For
Plane 1 hour, 20 minutes from $50 Travelers in a rush
Train & Ferry 7 hours, 30 minutes from $100 Those who don't like to drive
Bus & Ferry 12 hours, 30 minutes from $20 Saving money
Car & Ferry 7 hours, 10 minutes 278 miles (447 km) Flexibility

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From London to Dublin?

Taking the bus is the cheapest, as well as the longest, way to travel between the two cities. The full trip by bus and ferry from London to Dublin takes 12 hours and 30 minutes. Prices start as low as $20 depending on the time of year and how far in advance the tickets are booked. Buses bound for the ferry which will ultimately transport passengers towards Dublin leave from Victoria Station in central London. The buses leave in the evening (usually around 6 p.m.) and cross England towards Holyhead. After stopping in Luton, Milton Keyes, and Birmingham, the overnight coach takes passengers to Holyhead, Wales to board the ferry to Ireland. From there, bus travelers can disembark at the Dublin port or keep going to the central bus station known as Busáras. The service is operated by National Express, and booking a ticket guarantees you a seat on their modern coaches which are all equipped with Wi-Fi. If you don’t want to browse digital entertainment, you can even sleep during the journey.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London to Dublin?

Flying is by far the easiest and fastest way to travel between London and Dublin. The journey takes around 90 minutes, not including the time it takes to get to the airport, clear security, and collect your luggage. London has five major airports that offer flights to Dublin Airport. The best fares between the two capital cities will depend on the carrier and the time of year. Ryanair, EasyJet, Aer Lingus, and British Airways are a few of the airlines which fly the route multiple times per day. Rates can vary dramatically depending on the time of year and what is included (e.g. hand luggage only or checked baggage, and the flexibility to change bookings in the future), but can be found for as low as $50.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

Departing from London, the journey by car to Holyhead takes about 5 hours and 10 minutes. Once you arrive in Holyhead, you will need to find a spot on the car ferry and purchase tickets for the crossing, which takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. This is the most flexible way to travel between London and Dublin. If you are planning to rent a car, you should first check to ensure that the contract allows you to travel across borders with the vehicle or if you need additional international insurance. Take the M40 to the M6, eventually continuing to the A5 which marks the point where you will cross from England into Wales. Remember that England, Wales, and Ireland, you will have to drive on the left-hand side. For more, here is a complete guide to driving in Ireland.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

The journey from London to Holyhead takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes, though this can be longer on the weekends or on holidays. The ferry ride from Holyhead to Dublin takes between 2 hours and 15 minutes and 3 hours, depending on the schedule. The first step in getting from London to Dublin by train requires a stop in Holyhead. Trains depart from London Euston Station bound for Holyhead approximately every four hours. Trains are operated by Avanti West Coast and tickets from London to Holyhead start around $100. The Holyhead port and the Holyhead train station are in the same building so travelers do not need to worry about walking a long distance to the ferry. Once in Holyhead, switch to the ferry to complete the journey from the United Kingdom to Dublin. However, you will need to purchase a separate ferry ticket from one of the two ferry companies which make the crossing. These tickets cost an additional $35 or so.

When Is the Best Time to Vist Dublin?

Dublin experiences a fair amount of rain all year but, save some rather cold weather in January and February, the city is fairly pleasant to visit all year. Summer sees Dublin at it's most crowded, but the weather is nicest.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Dublin?

Travelers from the U.K., E.U. and Switzerland do not need a visa to enter Dublin. Travelers from other countries may need to apply for a visa depending on the duration and type of stay. For more information, visit the Irish Department of Justice and Equality website.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?

Dublin Aiport is 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) south of the Dublin City Centre. A variety of different bus services pick up from Dublin Airport Bus Park and take passengers around Dublin and the rest of Ireland. To get to central Dublin, take the Dublin Bus 16 and get off stop #1279 on Trinity Street. The journey will take approximately 50 minutes and will cost 3.30 euros.

What Is There to Do in Dublin?

From theater to literature, to art and eateries, Dublin is a wonderful place to start any trip to Ireland. The city of just over 1 million people is easy to explore on foot and has a blend of historic and modern sites to be discovered. For ideas to begin planning your trip, see our complete guide to Dublin, which includes everything from where to eat, a breakdown of the best museums and sites, plus where to stay.

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