Day tripping to Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland from Scotland - Kidding Herself
Gorilla Baby Belfast Zoo

Day tripping to Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland from Scotland

Hello, R here again, Herself’s small Scottish correspondent. Mummy and daddy took us to the zoo to see All The Animals, and I am here to tell you all about it in a guest post.

It was a day trip. Ah! I see you thinking. Scottish. I see you thinking. Zoo. I see you thinking. Off you popped to Edinburgh then! But there you would be wrong.

In fact, we went across to Ireland to Belfast Zoo on Stenaline ferries. Because Stenaline have a summertime offer which includes ferry tickets, zoo tickets, and a bus transfer between the two, which still works out cheaper than trying to see captive animals in Scotland’s capital.

And because the drive down to catch the ferry is somewhat more pleasant than dragging along the motorway and crawling through bits of two cities.

Plus, we got to go to Gran and Grandpa’s house because it’s on the way to Cairnryan! That’s where we catch the boat. Convenient, huh?

Everybody was very busy making lots of sandwiches and other yummy things to eat on the journey when we arrived. Preparations!

“moar biskits”

You remember my little brother L right? He approves of preparations too.

Although they do take a while. After waiting aaaaageeees (maybe even as much as a whole night) for everyone to get everything ready, we got in the car again. We drove and drove, then had to find the car somewhere to sleep. And then we had to wait for everyone else to come in the other car. Again with the waiting!

At least we got to have some snacks.

“my teddy bea crimps”

Yes L, we had crisps. The preparations were worth it!

Of course, after that we still had to walk a reeaaalllly looong way to get on the ferry (five minutes). Which is a really really big boat and cars and trucks can go on too. From my point of view, this is less interesting, though, than the fact that there’s a cinema and soft play, and there are also restaurants and even a spa (whatever that is) on board. The walk was worth it too!

Mummy said we were on the boat for over two hours.

But that’s not really very long as by the time we had had lunch and played in the little soft play area and explored the boat and run about for a bit more it was almost time to get back off again, and we hardly noticed this bit!

Then we had to go across aaanooootheeer big long bridge to get to the bus (ten minutes)!

I liked the bus though; it took us to Belfast Zoo!

When we got to the zoo we looked at lots and lots and lots of animals. There’s everything there! I really liked the big giraffes, and there were some baby giraffes too!

Baby Giraffe Belfast Zoo

And big elephants!

Elephant Belfast Zoo

“I seed a goats, dey was hungy”

Goats Belfast Zoo

Yep, there were goats and pigs and donkeys, rabbits and guinea pigs at the farm area, there were also LOTS of different kinds of monkeys. From huge big gorillas to capuchins and a wild variety of other things like lemurs and tamarind too.

And! There were brown bears, otters, sea lions, oh, and penguins!

Seals Belfast Zoo

We couldn’t see the tigers (they were doing very good hiding) but we did see a mummy lion!

And we also saw meerkats, prairie dogs, and flamingos too!

Belfast Zoo has all the animals, in fact, you could possibly ask for. I bet even Herself and Herself’s animal obsessed big brother would be impressed!

Of course, we had to do more walking to see all the animals. And the zoo is on a big hill so we didn’t quite get round all the animals in the three hours we had before we had to get back on the bus. It was still huge fun though. And we got to play on the ferry again on the way back, we even had dinner in the restaurant!

That’s what I call a day out!

It was so good that when Mummy and Daddy got us back in the car, L was already asleep, and I fell asleep on the way back to Gran and Grandpa’s house.

So if you live close enough to Cairnryan to take advantage, Stenaline ferries have day out offers to convenient bits of Ireland throughout the year, although this specific one to Belfast Zoo has already finished. Still, I imagine there are people actually living or staying close enough to Belfast who might be interested in a zoo experience too, so my advice is go!

More Information

The zoo’s website.

The ferry’s website.

This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about the motorway network of Northern Ireland.

Address: Belfast Zoo, Antrim Rd, Belfast BT36 7PN

Opening: Winter opening: 10am to 4pm daily Summer opening is longer.

Admission: Families – 33.50GBP, adults – 17GBP, kids over four – 6.50GBP, kids under four – free! Plus, the aforementioned deal with Stenaline ferries, which

Getting there: Obviously we recommend being in Scotland and going across to Ireland via Cainryan with Stenaline. If this is not convenient for some reason, you can get to Belfast Zoo via the M1 or M2 motorways depending on which direction you are approaching Belfast from. There is, the zoo’s website assures me, plenty of free parking. The nearest train station (Whiteabbey) is three miles away. There are numerous buses from Belfast city centre.

Pin for later?

Day tripping from Scotland to Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland with Stenaline ferries

Published by


Kidding Herself is (nominally) written by Herself, a seven-year-old girl, and describes an AngloRusski family's local travel adventures in Moscow, Russia (and the UK).

26 thoughts on “Day tripping to Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland from Scotland”

  1. Hi Herself! Wow, what an adventure. Personally I don’t really like zoos. Animals shouldn’t be imprisoned in my point of view. Still it’s great that you are already blogging! All the best!

    1. There are certainly pros and cons for zoos, but generally I think they are probably doing their best for both the animals under their care and the ones in the wild too! And I have been blogging much longer than R! But he is great!

  2. Not a great fan of zoos unless they’re helping endangered species or animals that can no longer live in the wild. Amazing that it’s easier for you to get to Belfast Zoo than to Edinburgh!

    1. Belfast Zoo is at pains to point out that it is tireless in its support of endangered animals, and that most of the ones they have are, in fact on the list. It’s quite sobering to think that some of the ‘classic’ exotic animals are threatened, but there it is.

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun! You must have had a great time. I think my favourite animals were those adorable sea lions. They looks so content and lazy on their rock. So were you on the boat for two hours one-way, or was it two hours total? That’s quite a bit of travel for a day trip well done.

  4. I love those deals that include all the transport, and you still have freedom to go and see the attractions on your own. And ferries are great! We took lots of ferries as transport on our recent trip earlier this year. Seeing the animals is also a favorite of mine!

  5. What a great family trip to see so many animals in one spot! Those walruses look like they could stand a little exercise. Glad you had fun 🙂

  6. What an adventure you had! I’m not a big fan of zoos, but understand their place in educating children about wildlife where they don not have the opportunity to go and see the animals in the wild for themselves.

    1. I do think that is a valid excuse for their existence in many ways. Kids can be cut off enough from nature – and they need a bit of an incentive to care.

  7. Yay, love reading the post from your perspective, I can totally hear the enjoyment and excitement about the whole trip. I had no idea you could do this as a day trip, but it seems really doable in a day and much more of an adventure than a jaunt to Edinburgh! Love that you fell straight asleep on the way home – sign of a grand day out!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.