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Ferries to Scotland

Geographically speaking, Scotland occupies the northern third of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, sharing a land border with England to its south, and with Northern Ireland found to the south west, across the Irish Sea.

Scotland is home to hundreds of islands and many archipelagos, all varying in size. The Isle of Skye is perhaps the most well-known, part of the Hebrides along the west coast, as well as the historically rich northern isles of Orkney and the slightly more far-flung Shetland Islands. It’s usually on these islands, particularly the Western Isles, where Scotch whisky is made; it’s one of the nation’s best exports, with some five hundred million bottles produced annually.

Scotland boasts a mix of spectacular and spellbinding landscapes; it is a land of glorious, sweeping highlands with glistening lochs in the northwest, inhabited by a rich and varied wildlife, attracting high numbers of birdwatchers from around the world.

It has a blossoming arts and culture scene, which is most prominent in Glasgow, and countless castles, the most famous being the iconic hilltop fortress in the capital, Edinburgh. It’s believed there was once over three thousand castles in Scotland.

Getting a ferry to Scotland from Northern Ireland is simple, with a choice of conventional and high-speed sailings connecting you to south west Scotland. The ferries are modern, well-appointed vessels and provide a short and frequent year round link across the Irish Sea.

Though the direct passenger ferry link to Scotland from mainland Europe is no longer operating, the UK road network provides good access to all regions of Scotland. So if you’re travelling from the continent: going via England is a reasonable alternative, preferably sailing to a port in the north east England to minimise driving time. The Port of Newcastle is around two and a half hours from Edinburgh by car, while Hull is roughly four hours from the Scottish border.

Scotland also provides a gateway by ferry between the UK and the numerous Scottish isles, great if you’re looking for an onward connection, or equally if you’re heading back to the mainland.

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Popular Ferry Operators

  • P&O Irish Sea
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  • Stena Line
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  • Pentland Ferries
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  • Northlink Ferries
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Scotland reviews

  • "Efficient"

    Simple to use website, easy to select additional services, responsive email. Ship loaded on time with staff positioned exactly where needed. Clean toilets and catering facilities. Well signed and decor good. Catering in club class OK but would have liked a hot roll with bacon or sausage instead of cold offer. Arrival on time and disembarkation excellent.

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  • "A comfortable voyage."

    I must say that Stena Lines service was excellent on our recent trip to Hook of Holland. The boarding process was easy and fast. The cabin was roomy and clean. Leaving the vessel in the morning was also speedy. I will travel another time with Stena Line. Thank you.

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  • "Excellent crew"

    Great experience...after years of dodging Stena after some poor trips we were surprised by how friendly and efficient the crew were especially the guy in charge of the premium lounge who did his best to make our journey comfortable.

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  • "Review"

    Had a fabulous crossing to and from Ireland. Have been to Ireland to visit family many times but always flown, lots to do for children on the ferry. Return trip especially, the children's entertainers were fabulous!!! Will definitely travel with Stena line again. One downside was the cost of breakfast.... Overpriced and very expensive, just under £5 for a bacon roll...... Fed the kids before travelling home.

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Onboard the ferries

Find out what it's like onboard the ferries before you travel.

Ship guides, videos & reviews

Routes and Ports in Scotland