Trade air travel for rail and sail
Trade air travel for rail and sail

London-Dublin: Travelling by train could cost less than flying

The Independent’s Jon Stone live tweeted the eight-and-a-half-hour journey

Helen Coffey
Thursday 03 January 2019 18:54

A train journey from London to Dublin, including the ferry journey from Holyhead, costs from just £43.50 – cheaper than some flights.

The Independent’s Europe correspondent Jon Stone did the journey himself, paying just £47.60 to travel from London to Dublin ferryport via Holyhead in Wales.

He had to change at Crewe as he was travelling on a Sunday, but there’s often a direct service all the way from London Euston.

The rail and sail journey took Stone around eight and a half hours door-to-door from his home in London's zone two to central Dublin. Once off the ferry he caught a local bus from the exit of the Irish Ferries boat into the city centre for €3. The bus also stops at Connolly and Heuston stations for further rail connections in Ireland.

He live tweeted his journey, sharing pictures and video of the route.

“It can work out about the same price as flying, especially if you’re not booking months in advance. And it’s actually an enjoyable experience, whereas flying isn’t. I think I’m going to do it again with friends and have a few drinks on the ferry.”

He added that the return journey via plane was far less successful.

“For comparison, I’m flying back – we were supposed to depart one hour and 45 minutes ago but are still sitting on the tarmac,” tweeted Stone.

“A family was denied boarding at gate because Flybe overbooked the plane.

“They’re now checking everyone’s ID in our seats against the passenger list for some reason.”

Including a delay of two hours, Stone’s journey from Dublin to London took around seven hours door-to-door.

“Obviously, if the plane works to plan and you’re willing to do a long day, you can go there and back in a day, which will be useful for some types of trip (business etc),” he said. “But every moment of it was horrible, whereas the rail and ferry was actually enjoyable.”

Although it’s possible to find flights for less than £87 (the price of a return train ticket), many cost more than this – The Independent found plenty of return flights from London to Dublin costing more than £100 with British Airways and Aer Lingus.

However, Ryanair offers fares as low as £18 return on some dates (not including baggage).

But given how much he enjoyed the civility of his surf and turf route, Stone is keen to try it again.

“Very tempting to extend this adventure to Belfast next time, which is also comfortably doable in a day with a change of train in Dublin,” he said.

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