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London to Dublin: bus, train, plane, or car rental? I would like to travel from London to Dublin (with family). But the web-sites for the ferries seem to be vague about the cost for automobiles. (And they seem to be focused on the last-minute travelers).

The date is May, 2013. I would prefer the train/ferry, but what are the other options?

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A related question mentioning rail&sail option : travel.stackexchange.com/questions/9619/… –  Vince Feb 26 '13 at 8:51
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Why not try The Man in Seat 61 website. He has a wealth of information on trains, etc. –  user4658 Feb 26 '13 at 16:50
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FWIW, if it's a one-way, car rental could be very expensive. If round-trip, be sure the rental agreement allows it! Also may depend on what you're doing in Dublin: if visiting just Dublin, then might not be worth it, but if visiting elsewhere in Ireland, a car may be necessary for some of the sights anyhow. –  BrendanMcK Feb 27 '13 at 5:49
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How many of you will there be? That'll affect if train+ferry or car+ferry is likely to be cheaper –  Gagravarr Mar 5 '13 at 10:08
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5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Ferry bookings work in the same way as flight tickets these days, the actual fare depends on the date and time of the booking, and changes in time.

To check the fare that is of interest you need to go to the ferry company website, e.g. Stena Line, enter the dates, press continue booking, enter the number of passengers and the size of the car, and then you will have all possible ferry times with the combined fare---which you can book.

Unfortunately you will have to do similar steps to check the prices of all the other means of transport.

If I have to guess, I would say that the ferry only makes sense if you already own your vehicle. Otherwise, it will make more sense to get to Dublin on the public transport, and rent your car there.

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If you'd prefer to get a train, the cheapest option is generally a "Rail & Sail" ticket: http://www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry/rail-and-sail/

In fact, it's usually cheaper than paying for a car on the ferry (and that's excluding the cost of fuel to get from London to Holyhead).

As well as being cheaper, you also have the peace of mind that if there are any delays, you're still covered for the rest of your journey.

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Because there are some very cheap options on low cost airlines, I would suggest flying as a convenient alternative. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have various flights each day.

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And if the difference between Ryanair and Aer Lingus is small, go for Aer Lingus: Ryanair operates from Stanstead which is some ways out of London, whereas Aer Lingus operates from both Gatwich and Heathrow, which are (IMO) easier to get to. Plus the experience of travelling will be immeasurably better on Aer Lingus (or any other carrier, really) than Ryanair - Ryanair isn't too bad, just know what you're getting into and be sure to print out your own tickets, bring your own food, prepay any luggage fees, etc etc in advance. –  BrendanMcK Feb 27 '13 at 5:46
    
@Brendan - very good point. Ryanair are renowned for charging for everything, and providing the bare minimum service. –  Rory Alsop Feb 27 '13 at 9:42
    
@RoryAlsop The only disadvantage (in my mind) perhaps like BrendanMcK mentioned is getting to these airports. If you are already in London, Victoria Coach Station is far less hassle, cheaper & easier to get to than these airports –  Simon Feb 27 '13 at 11:34
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Rome2Rio gives you the alternatives. Rome2rio gives airfares, but not for the ferry though. You can get a detailed quote from Stena line

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If your preferred option does not work out, you could always try Eurolines Coaches, which depart to many European Countries including Ireland from Victoria Coach Station, London.

More info:

http://www.eurolines.co.uk/destinations/ireland

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