Birmingham To Manchester By Train, Coach, and Car: Timings, Prices

There’s always been a debate whether Birmingham or Manchester is the “second city” in the UK. Either way, a trip from Birmingham to Manchester is worth it! 

Who wouldn’t want to visit the Old Trafford in Greater Manchester, home to the famous Manchester United Football Club, right?  

Manchester is located at an approximate distance of 113 km from Birmingham (West Midland). The two cities are well connected by public transport, including rail, road, and flight. 

Here’s an overview of how to travel from Birmingham to Manchester:

Travel MethodApproximate Journey TimeCostBest For
Train1 hr 26 minFrom £7.70 one-wayFastest travel time
Bus2 hrsFrom £2.99 one-wayBudget-friendly
Car2 hr 38 min Flexibility to follow your own schedule
Flight 3 hrs onwards (with at least one stopover)
No direct flight available 
From £84 upwards, one-wayAlternative to all other methods 

Let’s check out each travel option in detail. 

This Article Covers: 

Birmingham to Manchester By Train: Fastest Mode

Travelling from Birmingham to Manchester via the national rail network is pretty straightforward. Around 22 trains run on the Birmingham Manchester route managed by Network Rail. So, getting a direct train for your preferred departure time won’t be difficult.  

Popular train operators on this route include CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast, and West Midlands Railway. 

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Birmingham To Manchester By Train

Travel Time1 hr 26 min (fastest)
Train Ticket PriceFrom £7.70 (advance booking)
Distance70 miles (113 km)
First train05:57 (train times vary during weekends and holidays)
Last train21:57
Departure stationsBirmingham New Street
Arrival stationsManchester Piccadilly
ChangesDirect train available 
Train operatorsCrossCountry, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Railway, Transport for Wales, Arriva Trains Wales

Apart from Birmingham New Street, trains by CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast, and West Midlands Railway also depart from other stations in Birmingham, including Birmingham International, Birmingham Airport, Birmingham Moor Street, and Birmingham Snow Hill. 

A Manchester train departing early or very late in the evening may offer sleeper services.

Airport transfer: If you’re flying in, there’s a free Air-Rail Link between Birmingham International station and Birmingham Airport for an airport transfer. 

Arriving in Manchester:

The Manchester Piccadilly station exits onto London Road and Fairfield Street. There’s a short-stay car park and taxi stand at the Fairfield Street exit. 

Want to grab the cheapest train ticket?

Here are a few handy tips: 

  • Book in advance: Try to plan your journey well in advance to get tickets at lower prices. A train ticket is usually available 12 weeks before the departure date. Train fares are generally higher close to the journey date and peak hours. 
  • Opt for a railcard: If you’re a frequent passenger, a National Railcard can help you save 1/3rd of the train ticket cost on eligible tickets. 
  • Buy split tickets: Instead of buying a round-trip ticket, go for two one-way tickets. Splitting your train tickets can help you save on your journey. 
  • Opt for a season ticket: If you’re going to travel frequently between Birmingham to Manchester, it’s economical to buy a season ticket. These tickets are available in annual, monthly, and weekly options.

Birmingham to Manchester By Bus: Cheapest Mode

The Birmingham Manchester route is well-serviced by National Express, Megabus, and Flixbus coaches. The prices for a bus ticket start as low as £2.99.

National Express and Megabus coaches (“coach” is a British term for long route buses) leave hourly from Birmingham Coach Station and Brunel Street. However, coaches by Flixbus leaving from Dudley Street are less frequent. 

The Birmingham Coach Station is situated in the heart of the city and is easily accessible via several routes around the West Midland. It’s also just a stone’s throw away from the Birmingham New Street rail station (the busiest national rail station in the city.)

Here’s an overview of the three popular bus services: 

Birmingham To Manchester By Bus

Bus OperatorNational ExpressMegabusFlixBus
Distance138.8 km (86.3 miles)138.8 km (86.3 miles)138.8 km (86.3 miles)
Travel time2 hrs 5 min (fastest)2 hrs (fastest)2 hrs 5 min (fastest)
Bus Ticket priceFrom £2.99, one-wayFrom £3.30, one-wayFrom £6.99, one-way
First bus03:20 (Birmingham  Coach Station)02:30 (Birmingham Airport)03:45 (Brunel Street)03:15 (Birmingham International Airport) 11:15 (Dudley Street)
Last bus23:00 (Birmingham Coach Station)
11:05 (Birmingham Airport)
23:00 (Brunel Street)19: 50 (Dudley Street)
Departure StationBirmingham Coach StationBrunel StreetDudley Street
Arrival StationManchester Coach StationShudehill InterchangeShudehill Interchange

Coaches by National Express also depart from other stations in Birmingham city like Bearwood, Villa Park, and Edgbaston Stadium. However, bus ticket availability and prices for different departure points may vary.

Also, though the bus ticket fares stay more or less consistent throughout the year, cheaper deals are available if you book in advance. 

Upon arrival in Manchester: 

  • National Express coaches disembark at the Manchester Coach Station, Chorlton St. The stop is also pretty close to the Manchester Piccadilly (1 min drive.)
  • The Megabus and Flixbus coaches arrive at the Shudehill Interchange. It’s a transport hub between Manchester Victoria station and the Northern Quarter in Manchester city centre. 

Manchester is a strong contender for UKs second city and has one of the best public transport networks in the country. 

A smart way to travel around Greater Manchester is to get a System One Travelcard. It’s accepted by most buses and trains under the Network Rail. You can also hop on and off the free bus service that travels around the city. 

Birmingham to Manchester By Road: Most Flexible Mode

The on-road Birmingham Manchester distance is 138 km (86.3 miles).

The shortest driving route is via the M6 motorway, continuing onto the M56 to Manchester. The other two routes involve going through the A51 or A38 before getting onto the M6. 

It takes around 2.5 hours. However, the actual time may vary depending on traffic conditions. 

Driving from Birmingham to Manchester is a great idea if you have sufficient time at hand. You could take a detour and visit places such as Coventry, Chester, or even Liverpool. 

That said, you must keep the gas bills and parking fees in mind. Driving around Birmingham will also bring you under Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone ruling. 

As per the ruling, drivers with high-emission vehicles will have to pay £8 for driving within the city’s ring road from 1st June. Non-compliance could lead to a fine of £120.

Note: Greater Manchester may also have a similar ruling after July 2022. 

10 FAQs on Travelling From Birmingham to Manchester

Here are answers to some FAQs on travelling between the two cities: 

1. How long is the train journey from Birmingham to Manchester?

It takes around 1 hour and 46 minutes to travel from Birmingham to Manchester, the fastest being 1 hour and 26 minutes. 

2. How much does the train ticket from Birmingham to Manchester cost?

A train ticket for Birmingham to Manchester starts as low as £7.70 if you book well in advance. However, the prices may vary depending on peak hours, train route, and the class you book. Booking closer to the travel date will cost more. 

3. Is there any direct Manchester train from Birmingham?

There are around 22 direct trains that run between the two cities each day. However, the exact number of direct trains available would depend on your departure date. 

4. What time does the first and the last train from Birmingham to Manchester leave?

The first train from Birmingham city to Manchester leaves at 05:57, and the last one to Manchester leaves at 21:57. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.

5. When should I book my train tickets from Birmingham to Manchester?

Booking for train tickets opens around 12 weeks in advance. It’s best to book your tickets as soon as they are available to grab cheaper deals. 

In addition to booking a train ticket in advance, you could also book seasonal tickets if you’re a frequent passenger. You could even opt for a Railcard to save on your travel expenses. 

6. What amenities are available on Birmingham to Manchester trains?

Train journeys between Birmingham to Manchester are quite comfortable with several seating options, WiFi, power sockets, and ample luggage space. For extra comfort, you could even book a First Class ticket. 

Additionally, you can enjoy some hot or cold snacks and drinks by availing of the at-seat service. 

7. How many buses operate daily between Birmingham and Manchester?

On average, 35 coaches operate on the Birmingham Manchester route. However, the exact number can differ depending on the day of travel. 

8. How far is the Manchester city centre from the Manchester Piccadilly Station?

Manchester city centre is less than a mile’s drive from Manchester Piccadilly, and if you’re interested, Manchester Museum (managed by Manchester University) is just a 5 min drive from the station. 

9. How far is Manchester airport from Manchester Piccadilly Station? 

It’s about 22 mins via A5103 from Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Airport by road. Alternatively, you can take a Northern Train towards Liverpool Lime Street. 

Note: If you wish to explore the country further, Northern Trains also operate in North West England and East Midland. 

10. What are the things to do in Manchester?  

Uk’s second city Manchester offers an array of art galleries, museums, and live events. Here are some of the places worth exploring: 

  • Manchester Art Gallery 
  • Manchester Museum, owned by Manchester University
  • Etihad Stadium 
  • The Old Trafford football stadium that’s home to Manchester United
  • Science and Industry Museum 
  • The Central Library 
  • Manchester Town Hall (ceremonial headquarters of Manchester City Council)