Best Day Trips from Birmingham
Officially the second biggest city in the United Kingdom, hence the moniker “UK’s second city” (next to London), Birmingham is an exciting metropolis that has seen a cultural renaissance in recent years, making it a popular destination for domestic and international travelers. The city is located within the Midlands and serves as the commercial, financial and cultural heart of the region.
Visitors of Birmingham are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities; the vibrant city provides opportunities for shopping, dining, sporting, sightseeing and much more. With plenty to do, you can easily spend days discovering the best of Birmingham. However, if you want to take some time away from the city, there also several options for day trips from Birmingham.
Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in the Midlands’ colorful history or check out the beauty of the outdoors, there is a day trip destination that will suit your interests. If you’re interested to venture outside city limits, check out this compilation of the most fun day trips from Birmingham.
Before heading out, don’t forget to safely store your bags at a Bounce luggage locker in Birmingham; this way, you won’t have to tote your bags with you on your Birmingham day trip. Additionally, have a plan B in place in case the weather does not cooperate; a good back up plan is to visit the best museums in Birmingham so you can stay dry while still keeping yourself occupied.
How to Get Out of Birmingham
Even if you decide to stay within the confines of Birmingham and use it as your base, you can still easily discover the beautiful Midlands region. This is possible because of the city's location in the heart of the region as well as the highly-efficient public transport system. Getting around via metro is simple (see our guide How to Get Around Birmingham for more information). Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham New Street Station and Snow Hill are the city’s primary train stations and can get you anywhere in the country. Train tickets are also reasonably priced but it is ideal to book them well in advance as they can sell out easily.
Aside from the metro, Birmingham also has a network of buses that can bring you outside of the city; there are plenty of coach trips available to take you to nearby sites and regions. However, if you want total flexibility with your schedule, the ideal option is to rent a car and drive to the different day trips from Birmingham on your list.
From Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon
Undoubtedly one of the most popular day trips from Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon is a historic market town situated in the West Midlands, about 30 miles south of the Birmingham city centre, and is best known as the birthplace of English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Because of the famous writer’s connection to the town, it’s no surprise that the most visited attraction in Stratford-upon-Avon is Shakespeare's birthplace.
Another noteworthy landmark in town is the Holy Trinity Church, situated by the River Avon, where you can find the burial spot of Shakespeare. You can also visit Anne Hathaway's cottage, which served as the childhood home of Shakespeare's wife. Once you're done visiting these historic spots, stop by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company and catch a show featuring contemporary versions of the writer’s greatest works.
How to get to Stratford-upon-Avon
In order to get to Stratford-upon-Avon from the city, all you have to do is take a direct train from the Birmingham Moor Street station. Trains depart twice per hour and the ride takes around 45 minutes per way. Alternatively, you can drive your own car to town, which will also take roughly 45 minutes.
From Birmingham to Malvern Hills
If you want to see the lovely outdoors and natural wonders without going too far, then you should definitely check out Malvern Hills. Stretching across Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, these picturesque hills rise up to 425 meters above the town of Great Malvern. There are plenty of hiking trails that will lead you to the summit, where you can get unparalleled views of the Severn Valley and surrounding areas.
How to get to Malvern Hills
Because it is a rural area, the ideal way to get to Malvern Hills is to drive; the journey is about 40 miles long and will take about an hour to complete. If you have no plans of driving, you can take a train from either New Street or Snow Hill station to Great Malvern.
From Birmingham to Warwick Castle
Warwick is a small town situated on the banks of the River Avon and is home to the famous Warwick Castle. Easily one of the best Birmingham day trips, this historic castle was a former wooden fort that was built in 1068 by William the Conqueror. The fortress has endured centuries of fires and attacks and there have been many renovations over the years.
At present, Warwick Castle is a beloved family-friendly destination that offers a range of activities for guests of all ages. Spanning 64 acres of space, the attraction has plenty of entertainment options, such as the Horrible Histories Maze, the Haunted Castle during Halloween, themed shows and other activities that change throughout the year.
Warwick Castle is open daily from 10 AM to 4 PM, though there are some days when they close so it's best to check their website for the opening hours. Tickets to the attraction must be pre-booked and can be bought online through the website or the official mobile app.
How to get to Warwick Castle
You can take a direct train from Moor Street to the town of Warwick. Once you arrive, the castle is about a 15-minute walk from the station. Those with a private car can drive from Central Birmingham direct to Warwick Castle and the journey will take about 45 minutes.
From Birmingham to Ironbridge Gorge
The British Industrial Revolution was an important period in the history of the Midlands, particularly Birmingham; in fact, it was even nicknamed the “city of a thousand trades” during this momentous time. If you want to learn about its history, you should definitely pay a visit to Ironbridge Gorge in the town of Shropshire.
Located by the River Severn, Ironbridge Gorge is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the iconic Iron Bridge, which was the first cast-iron structure in the world built in 1779 and the unofficial symbol of the Industrial Revolution. There are also a number of small museums in town, such as the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and the Museum of the Gorge, which provide an in-depth look into how the bridge was built and its significance in British history.
How to get to Ironbridge Gorge
Located just about 30 miles outside of Birmingham, the easiest and most convenient way to visit the Ironbridge Gorge is to go on an hour-long drive by taking the M6 and M54. Another option is to ride a train from New Street to Telford Central. From there, you can either take a bus or cab to town.
From Birmingham to Black Country Living Museum
One of the more unique Birmingham day trips is a visit to the Black Country Living Museum, located just around 10 miles outside of the city. As its name suggests, this massive open-air museum provides insight into the fascinating history of Black Country and the life of its inhabitants. Spanning 26 acres of land, visitors of the Black Country Museum are taken on a trip back in time, where the streets are filled with replicated houses, shops, pubs and heritage vehicles.
There are also actors that play local characters, which share the experiences of how life was during the turn of the 20th century. If you’re a fan of the British TV series Peaky Blinders, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy some of the themed events held at the museum, given that a number of scenes from the show were shot here.
The Black Country Living Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM; although opening hours during the winter season are dependent on the weather. Tickets can either be pre-booked or bought on site. Do note, however, that there are only a limited number of same-day tickets available so the best option is to buy a ticket beforehand.
How to get to Black Country Living Museum
You can take a short 20-minute train ride from New Street to Tipton and then ride the 229 bus, which will take you to the museum. If you don’t mind walking, the museum is only about a mile away from Tipton and can be reached on foot within 15 to 20 minutes. If you have a car, drive for about 30 minutes to Dudley.
From Birmingham to Peak District National Park
One of the best day trips from Birmingham is Peak District, England’s oldest national park and an ideal escape from the busy city life. Among the UK’s biggest and most beloved parks, the Peak District stretches across west and south Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
There are numerous hiking trails and walking paths that one can tackle within Peak District; some of the most popular hikes include Thor’s Cave, The Roaches and Lud’s Church. After a day of outdoor fun, you can visit the nearby town of Buxton, which has some interesting gardens and independent cafes. Before leaving, don’t forget to stop by the town of Bakewell, which is famous for its signature Bakewell tarts.
How to get to Peak District National Park
The most convenient and ideal way to reach Peak District is to drive north of the Birmingham city center for about 90 minutes until you reach the park. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can get there by train via Macclesfield or Sheffield.
From Birmingham to Alton Towers Theme Park
One of Europe’s most famous theme parks, the Alton Towers is the largest in the United Kingdom and is undoubtedly among the best day trips from Birmingham. Located in the village of Alton, just a short distance from Stoke-on-Trent, the amusement park has more than 40 different rides suitable for visitors of all ages. Apart from the rides, the establishment has other incredible amenities such as a luxury spa, a lagoon-style water park, a hotel complex and sprawling golf course.
Each of the areas at Alton Towers is divided according to a specific theme, all of which have at least one thrilling ride. Perhaps the most iconic ride within the park is The Smiler, which is the first 14-loop roller coaster in the world. If you happen to visit during the month of October, don’t forget to check out the annual Scarefest, a Halloween-themed attraction that features creepy ghouls and scare mazes.
It is important to note that Alton Towers has a "season" wherein they are operational; the season generally falls from March to November, although this may vary from year to year. The opening hours also vary, dependent on the on and off peak operations, although the general hours are usually from 10 AM to 4 PM. It is best to check their website for the specific opening hours on the day of your preferred visit. Additionally, tickets need to be pre-booked and shown at the entrance before you can enter the theme park.
How to get to Alton Towers Theme Park
There is no direct public transportation that will take you to Alton Towers, which means that the ideal option is to drive your own car. The journey by car via the M6 will take around one and a half hours, depending on traffic. If you don’t have your own car, you can take the train to Newcastle from New Street and get off the Derby Railway Station. Then, ride the X52 bus and get off at the entrance of the Alton Towers; the train and bus journey will take about 2 hours.
From Birmingham to Leicester National Space Centre
Whether you have a knack for science or not, you will surely enjoy a visit to the Leicester National Space Centre. One of the easiest day trips from Birmingham, the space center is located in Belgrave, right next to the River Soar, and doubles both as an interactive museum and an educational facility that tackles the fields of astronomy and space science.
One of the first things you will notice at the space center is the 42-meter tall rocket tower, which is said to be the only place in the world where you can find upright space rockets located indoors. However, the crowning glory of the Leicester National Space Centre is the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium, the biggest domed planetarium in the United Kingdom, where you can find take a journey to space through interactive films and exhibits.
The Leicester National Space Centre is open on select days, depending on the on or off season. It is recommended that you check the calendar on their website to see which days and what hours they are open. You can book tickets to the facility online or on-site.
How to get to Leicester National Space Centre
The easiest way to get to the National Space Centre is by private car; take the A6 for about an hour until you reach the museum. If you want to use public transport, you can take the train from Birmingham to Leicester Station and then take the 54 bus or a taxi to the space center.
Plan a Birmingham Day Trip
Birmingham is an amazing destination and a great jump off point to seeing the West Midlands region. Its convenient location in the heart of the Midlands makes it accessible to some of the area's top tourist attractions. Whether you are a history buff, a hiker or an adrenaline junkie, you will surely enjoy planning a day trip from Birmingham to any of the destinations we've provided in this guide.