Getting from Dublin to Edinburgh (and return)

The travel routes between Ireland and the UK have always been popular. With an increase in competition between low cost carriers, it’s now possible to travel from Dublin to various large cities in the UK for fares starting around €20 one way. While the Dublin to London route is definitely the most popular, many travelers choose to travel between Dublin and Edinburgh, enjoying the best of what these two cities have to offer.

Quick summary

Regardless of when you plan to travel, it’s definitely cheaper to fly from Dublin to Edinburgh. During the shoulder season (fall and spring), expect to pay from €18* per person, one way. And you’ll get to the destination in little over an hour.

Should you prefer to travel at a slower pace, maybe stopping to visit some of the cities along the way, then you can either travel by train and ferry or by rental car and ferry. In both cases, it’s more expensive than flying and the travel time is close to 8 hours.

Flights from Dublin (airport code: DUB) to Edinburgh

Dublin Airport (DUB) is the busiest airport in Ireland and a hub for Aer Lingus and low cost carrier Ryanair. Monarch Airlines and Thomson Airways also use it as a hub airport.
Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is the third busiest airport in Scotland and the sixth busiest in the UK.

Flights to Edinburgh are run by Air Europa, Aer Lingus, Europe Airpost and Ryanair.

During the shoulder season (November 2011), expect to pay €18 per person, one way on Ryanair . The flight time is 1h 10 min. Should you decide to travel over the winter holidays, the fares start at €28 per person, one way on Ryanair; while during the summer (June 2012), you’ll pay from €45 per person, one way on Aer Lingus (but do keep in mind that low cost carriers don’t allow bookings so far in advance).

>>read more about Airfare to Dublin

Trains, ferries and buses from Dublin to Edinburgh

It is possible to travel between Dublin and Edinburgh overland, by using a combination of trains and ferry.

First, you need to get on the train from Dublin to Belfast. It takes about 2 hours. There are 8 departures a day and the first train leaves at 6:50 a.m. The single web fare starts at £8.99 and depends on the time of departure. You can buy tickets here .

>>read more about Getting from Dublin to Belfast

Then, take the ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan. The route is serviced by Stena Line and a flexi ticket costs £28.00 for an adult, one way. There are six crossings per day and the travel time is 2h 20 min.

Search for ferries and book tickets here:

From the Cairnryan Ferry Terminal , take the bus to Glasgow. The Scottish City Link operates buses between the Cairnryan ferry terminal and Glasgow. The travel time is 2h 10 min and the single standard fare is £16.70. There are two departures per day.

In Glasgow, change stations and take the train to Edinburgh. The train to Edinburgh leaves from Glasgow Queen Street. There are departures every 15 minutes. The travel time is about 50 minutes. Tickets cost £11.30 for an adult, one way and can be bought from here.

Buses from Dublin to Edinburgh

It is possible to travel between Dublin and Edinburgh by a combination of buses and ferry.

First, you need to take the bus from Dublin to Belfast. The route is serviced by Ulsterbus (operated by Translink). There are hourly departures every day and the travel time is 2 ½ hours.

Then, take the bus from Belfast to Edinburgh . The Scotish CityLink runs buses connecting the two cities via the Belfast – Cairnryan ferry crossing. The Apex Single ticket is £26.00 and the Standard Single ticket is £30.00. The total travel time is 7h 15 min.

Driving from Dublin to Edinburgh

Yes, it’s possible to drive from Dublin to Edinburgh, but since you need to cross the Irish Sea, you’ll also need to board a ferry for that. So, rent a car in Dublin and then choose between the two possible routes:

  • Dublin – Belfast – Larne- Troon – Glasgow – Edinburgh : 446 km, total travel time about 6 h 34 min
  • Dublin – Holyhead – Edinburgh : 632 km, total travel time 8 h 30 min

Aside from the driving distance and total time, you also need to consider the ferry crossing. For a compact car and an adult, if you cross from Dublin to Holyhead , expect to pay from £98.00 one way. P&O ferries operate on the Larne – Troon ferry crossing and the fare is £109.00 one way for a compact car and and adult.

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Note: * prices are correct at the time the article was written

Photo credits: Edinburgh Airport ; Dublin Train Station