Northern Ireland Low Cost Buses
for independent travellers looking for cheap, no-frills or
low cost inter-city transport around Northern Ireland
Which no-frills buses operate in Northern Ireland?
The following bus companies provide budget transport around Northern Ireland. Click on the name of each bus company for full details on which towns and cities that company serves.
The National Express FunFare tariff was launched in March 2004 to take on Stagecoach's megabus service (see below). The cheapest FunFare tickets cost £1 on all intercity routes and there is no booking fee. Aside from Manchester to Liverpool and Birmingham, all routes connect to London. [ Route Map ]
- More about FunFare Routes |
- More about FunFare
Inspired by the new wave of no-frills airines, megabus provides UK intercity transport for as cheap as £1 with an additional compulsory booking fee of 50p. The new route from Glasgow to London takes approximately eight hours, but at a price like this, a night sleeping on the coach doesn't seem so bad after all. [ Route Map ]
- More about megabus Routes |
- More about megabus
The Royal Mail provides a little known low cost bus service of its own, covering some of the most remote areas of the UK countryside. The Postbus website provides an overview of the service's history along with information on journey planning, routes and timetables. [ Route Map ]
- More about Postbus Routes |
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Which backpacker buses operate hop-on hop-off routes around Northern Ireland?
The bus companies below provide intercity or jump-on jump-off overland services for backpackers travelling around Northern Ireland.
Several of the companies have travel passes which allow an unlimited number of journeys over a fixed number of days. Other companies organise itinerary-based tours with varying flexibility. Click on the name of each bus company for full details on which towns, cities and routes that company serves.
The company boasts: "We challange you to travel Britain cheaper by public transport!" (sic). Given how expensive this company's trips are, we'd happily take up that challenge. The Backpacker Tour Company is well established and covers Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The itineraries, however, are not hop-on, hop-off, so you may also find your independence limited. We suggest you hold on to your cash and find your own way around the country. [ Route Map ]
- More about BT Routes |
- More about Backpacker Tours
The three Brit Xplorer travel passes are an excellent means of travelling around the UK and Ireland independently on a tight budget, but only available to non-UK passport holders. The £79 Hobo Pass gives you unlimited travelling for 7 days, the £139 Footloose Pass extends to 14 days and the £219 Rolling Stone Pass allows you 28 days of limitless exploration. [ Route Map ]
- More about Brit Xplorer Routes |
- More about Brit Xplorer
Flexible jump-on, jump-off tours in Wales with no-frills itineraries which allow you to pay for as many optional extras - meals, entrance fees, accommodation, public transport connections - or as few as you wish. Bus Wales' three day All Wales Tour comes to £75 excluding optional extras. [ Route Map ]
- More about Bus Wales Routes |
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Small group backpacker tours in Scotland, Ireland and Wales with some flexibility but limited options as far as planning your own itinerary goes. (You can jump off in Dublin, but that's about it). At £22-25 per day excluding accommodation, this is better value than some other backpacker buses but obviously not as cheap or flexible as a Brit Xplorer Pass. [ Route Map ]
A useful Flexitour option gives this company's UK and Ireland tours the flexibility of a hop on hop off travel pass - the way backpacker buses ought to be, ideally. However, including accommodation you're still looking at a budget of at least £30 per day. Consider breaking your journey to bring down the average daily expense. [ Route Map ]
- More about RT Routes |
- More about Radical Travel
Numerous overland tours covering the entire British Isles, though only one itinerary has a (limited) hop on hop off option. Road Trip's guided tours average out at around £35-40 per day but include accommodation. [ Route Map ]
- More about Road Trip Routes |
- More about Road Trip
A jump on jump off Welsh bus company with a refreshing sense of humour. Trips are a little steep - about £40 per day including food and accommodation but, again, you can break the journey to cut down average daily cost. Just turn the sound down before you click through - you have been warned. [ Route Map ]
- More about SS Routes |
- More about Shaggy Sheep
Which low cost airport shuttles operate in Northern Ireland?
There are bus connections both from Cardiff to Cardiff airport and from Swansea to Swansea Fairwood airport but neither airport is currently served by a low cost shuttle which can be booked online.
For further information on the local bus services which are available click on either of the two links below: