Manchester To Birmingham By Train, Bus & Car: Prices, Timings

Travelling from Manchester to Birmingham can be quick and affordable, depending on how you journey between the two cities in the United Kingdom.

But whether you’re travelling to watch a live soccer match or join the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games celebrations, it’s helpful to book ahead.

The cities are separated by roughly about 86.3 miles (138 km). Let’s look at the best options for your travels.

Here’s an overview:

Travel MethodApproximate Journey TimeCostBest For
Train1 hour 28 minutesFrom £7.70 one-wayFastest route
Bus1 hour 30 minutesFrom £2.99 one-wayCheapest route
Car1 hour 50 minutesVaries based on fuel and toll costsMost flexible route
Flight2 hours 5 minutes (no direct flights) From £17 one-wayAn alternative if the others aren’t feasible 
Read more:
Here are the best options to travel from London Euston to Birmingham International.
Check out this Commonwealth Games 2022 Schedule to know when and where your favourite sporting events are being held.

This Article Contains:

Manchester To Birmingham By Train

Managed by Network Rail, the railway infrastructure in the United Kingdom makes travel between cities easy. There are about 37 trains (24 direct train options) from Manchester to Birmingham, so you won’t have trouble getting to the West Midland city.

Manchester to Birmingham By Train: Quick Facts

Travel Time1 hour 28 minutes (fastest), 1 hour 35 minutes (average)
Train Ticket PriceFrom £7.70 (advance booking)
Distance70 miles (113 km)
Departure StationsManchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport, Manchester Victoria
Arrival StationsBirmingham New Street, Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham International 
First Train5:11 am
Last Train10:07 pm 
FrequencyEvery 23 minutes
Train OperatorsAvanti West Coast, Cross Country, West Midlands Railway, Northern Rail

Note: First and last train times may differ on weekends or public holidays.

Avanti West Coast (previously Virgin Trains) may have a switch at Crewe, but Cross Country mostly has direct services. 

Cross Country also has trains running from Greater Manchester to East Midland cities like Nottingham. And Arriva Trains Wales has public transport services running from Wales to Manchester and Birmingham.

Here are simple tips on how to get cheap train tickets:

  • Book in advance: Purchasing an advanced ticket is cheaper than buying a train ticket close to the date of the train journey. Advanced tickets are available up to 12 weeks (3 months) before the departure date and can save you up to 61% on fares
  • Travel off-peak: If you have flexible travel times, you can get cheap train tickets by booking during off-peak train times (between 9:30 am to 4 pm and after 7 pm).
  • Get a railcard: If you expect to travel often, getting a National Railcard can save you up to one-third of your ticket price. It’s especially helpful for travelling between West Midland and East Midland cities. But do check the latest news on travel restrictions before booking the card.
  • Buy a season ticket: If you’re taking the same train more than thrice a week, you could save money on your travels with a season ticket.

Fun Fact: The United Kingdom Government has a proposal called the Integrated Rail Plan that aims to increase the capacity and frequency of services between the North and Midlands.

Manchester To Birmingham By Bus

There are about 32 buses from Manchester to Birmingham daily. They mostly travel directly into the West Midland city with no transfers – serving as excellent and cheaper alternatives to travelling by train.

Manchester to Birmingham By Bus or Coach: Quick Facts

Travel Time1 hour 30 minutes (fastest), 2 hours 20 minutes (average)
Bus Ticket PriceFrom £2.99 (one-way)
Distance70 miles (113 km)
Departure StationsManchester Shudehill Interchange, Manchester Airport, Manchester Coach Station, Manchester Arena, Manchester Etihad Stadium
Arrival StationsBirmingham Dudley Street, Birmingham Brunel Street, Birmingham Coach Station, Birmingham Hill Street / Railway Bridge, Birmingham Station Street (Stop Ns13)
First Bus4 am
Last Bus11:50 pm
Bus OperatorsFlixBus, National Express, Northern, Megabus

The 181 and 182 National Express coaches to Birmingham include an airport transfer to Manchester Airport.

Note: The above travel time doesn’t account for traffic. 

Tips on how to get great deals on bus tickets:

  • Use a Coachcard: You can save one-third of your bus ticket fares with the National Express Coachcard. This card is only available for seniors over 60 years, persons with disabilities, and individuals aged between 16 and 26 years.
  • Book in advance: Buying a ticket at least seven days before your journey will help increase your chances of scoring the cheapest tickets and best deals possible.

Manchester To Birmingham By Car

Driving from Greater Manchester to Birmingham can be a viable option if you don’t want to use public transport services.

Manchester To Birmingham By Car: Quick Facts

RouteVia A556Via A520 and A34Via A556 and M6
Travel Time1 hour 50 minutes2 hours 25 minutes2 hours 20 minutes
Distance85 miles (137 km) 84.5 miles (136 km)100.6 miles (162 km)
Expenses£12.68 (fuel)£15.45 (fuel)£16.35 (fuel)
£1.70 – £ 7.10 (toll)

Note: Fuel and toll rates may vary based on time and vehicle types. Travel times can vary based on traffic.

And if you don’t have a private vehicle but still want to travel by car, you could try carpooling. You can find options for carpooling on aggregators like Liftshare and BlaBlaCar.

Note: Drivers entering Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone may have to pay a daily fee if their vehicle doesn’t meet the city’s emission standards.

10 FAQs About Travelling From Manchester To Birmingham

Here are quick answers to help you get a move on your journey:

1. What’s The Fastest Journey Time From Manchester To Birmingham?

Based on the journey time for a train, bus, car, and plane, the quickest mode of transport is a train journey – helping you reach your destination in 1 hour and 28 minutes (via a direct train).

It just about outdoes the quickest bus by 2 minutes! 

2. What Amenities Are Available On Trains From Manchester To Birmingham?

The trains have complimentary WiFi to help passengers enjoy virtual entertainment on their journey. They also have tasty snacks and beverages in their onboard shops.

Other standard amenities include ample luggage storage space and electric points. Some trains, like Avanti West Coast, have premium seating classes with additional amenities – including seats with tables and extra legroom.

3. Do Train Stations Have Family Areas?

Yes, the Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street train stations have two large waiting rooms for families to relax and spend time before their journey.

The stations also have baby changing facilities and accessible toilets.

And if you book first-class seats with operators like Avanti West Coast, you can access their first-class lounges that offer premium comfort and refreshments.

4. Does Birmingham New Street Have Accessible Entrances And Exits?

Yes, the Birmingham New Street station is fully accessible for persons with mobility needs.

5. How Far Is The City Centre From Train Stations, Coach Stations, And Airports?

The Birmingham New Street and Birmingham Moor Street train stations are right in the heart of the city centre. 

The Birmingham Coach station is located in Digbeth, which is considered a part of the city centre. It’s about an 8-minute walk from the Bullring shopping centre.

Furthest of the lot are the Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International station, which are around 14 km away from the city centre. They are directly connected by the Air-Rail Link. There are plenty of options for transport to and from the airport, including a 10-15 minute train journey from Birmingham International station to New Street station.

And if you’re looking for exciting things to do, check out this list of the top 20 attractions in Birmingham.

6. What Happens If You Miss Your Coach From Manchester To Birmingham?

If you’ve added Change and Go to your booking, you can board any coach 12 hours after your original departure time.

If not, you can buy the add-on at the station travel shop at £6 per adult and £3 per child.

However, this facility is only available for National Express coaches. FlixBus lets you cancel your ticket and get a substantial refund up to 15 minutes before the journey.

7. What Can A Passenger Bring Along On The Manchester Birmingham Bus Route?

Each bus company has different policies regarding what a passenger can take aboard the bus. 

Usually, a suitcase and hand luggage per passenger is allowable at no extra charge. But do make sure to check the specifics mentioned by the bus company before booking your tickets.

8. What Amenities Are Available On Buses From Manchester To Birmingham?

Most buses offer complimentary WiFi to help you stay connected with friends and family.

On top of that, the standard amenities include air conditioning and overhead luggage trays.

9. Is There A Direct Flight From Manchester To Birmingham?

Currently, there are no direct flights from Manchester Airport to Birmingham Airport.

A flight will take anywhere above 2 hours 5 minutes and may have a stop. British Airways flights typically have a stop in Ireland, Isle of Man, or Scotland.

10. When Should You Book Flights From Manchester To Birmingham?

If you’re looking for cheap flights, the ideal months for travel are May and September – when you can get cheap flights for as low as £19.

To get below-average fares, you need to book your flight at least one week before departure. Moreover, it helps to book evening flights as morning departures are about 94% more expensive.