Are you planning to visit Birmingham, perhaps for the 2022 Commonwealth Games? You could extend your visit with one of these fantastic day trips
Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, and a popular destination for tourists. Around 42 million people visit the city every year and even more are likely to visit for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The city has fantastic shopping malls, top class theatres and music venues. There are also restaurants featuring every cuisine you can think of, and hotels covering every price range from budget to luxury.
Birmingham’s central location makes it perfect for a city break in the UK and its also ideal for exploring the local area and beyond. The city is located in the heart of the motorway network, and has three train stations as well.
So if you’re visiting Birmingham, you’ll have plenty of options for extending your visit.
These are some of the best day trips from Birmingham. The list includes family days out, local towns to explore, and even some popular seaside trips.
And I’ve arrange the list in order by distance from Birmingham city centre. So whether you’re looking to tag on a couple of extra days to your trip or just need something to fill an afternoon, there’s bound to be something you’ll enjoy.
Here are my recommendations for some of the best day trips from Birmingham:
- Cadbury World
- Black Country Living Museum
- Stratford upon Avon
- Warwick Castle
- Alton Towers
The first day trip on my list is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. Even better, it will only take 30 minutes to get there!
If you love chocolate, then you’re going to love a visit to Cadbury World, one of the UK’s most popular family attractions.
The Cadbury family started making chocolate in 1831, and by the late 1800s they moved production to a new greenfield site which they named Bourneville after the Bourn stream which ran through the site.
Bournville is now a popular residential district and in 1990 the original Cadbury factory became home to Cadbury World.
Visitors to Cadbury World can enjoy a self-guided tour through the history of chocolate. 14 different zones guide you through demonstrations and multi-sensory experiences, and there are plenty of chocolate samples to try along the way.
Cadbury’s skilful chocolatiers will demonstrate their traditional chocolate-making skills on exclusive handmade items. And you can have a go at tempering chocolate and show off your chocolate piping skills before stocking up on sweet treats to take home in the Cadbury Shop and Factory Zone.
How to get to Cadbury World from Birmingham
If you’re driving, it will take you around 20 minutes to get to to Cadbury World from central Birmingham. Or you can take the cross-city train to Bournville Station from Birmingham New Street. Trains leave regularly and the journey will take you around 12 minutes. From the station, it’s a ten minute walk to Cadbury World.
Find out more on the Cadbury World website.
Black Country Living Museum
Fancy stepping back in time to see what life might have been like for the Peaky Blinders?
If you’re a fan of Peaky Blinders, you may already know that scenes from the series were shot at the Black Country Living Museum.
It’s an immersive open-air museum that is set in 26 acres of land in the heart of the Black Country. That’s the name given to the area west of Birmingham that covers much of the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It gained this name because of the thick black soot that covered the area in the 19th century.
Learn what it would have been like to live and work in the area at the height of the Industrial Revolution, in the Black Country Living Museum’s 40+ reconstructed shops and buildings. You can watch a short film in the 1920s cinema or watch demonstrations of chain and nail making, tuck into traditional fish and chips, and even test your knowledge in a school lesson 1912-style.
It’s a fascinating day out for all the family, whether or not you’re a Peaky Blinders fan.
How to get to the Black Country Living Museum from Birmingham
Driving to the Black Country Living Museum from Birmingham will only take you around 35 minutes, making it an ideal day trip from Birmingham. If you prefer to travel by public transport, you can take a train from Birmingham New Street to Tipton and then a bus to the museum itself. This journey will take around 45 minutes.
Find out more on the Black Country Living Museum website.
Stratford upon Avon
Take a trip to this beautiful historical town and immerse yourself in all things Shakespeare
A visit to Stratford-upon-Avon is a must for anyone who loves British history. And if you’re a fan of William Shakespeare then it’s even more of a must-see. The town is full of important sites for Shakespeare fans, including the beautiful cottage where his wife Anne Hathaway lived, and the church where he was buried.
When you visit Stratford-upon-Avon you can actually visit Shakespeare’s childhood home and even stand in the very room where he was born!
Click here to buy tickets to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace*
It’s also worth checking availability for Royal Shakespeare Company performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre or the Swan Theatres. You can also get a closer look behind the scenes on one of their backstage tours.
But Stratford-upon-Avon is much more than just a homage to Shakespeare. The town has many beautiful half-timber buildings that date back to Tudor times, fabulous independent shops and a wide range of restaurants to suit every taste and budget.
The River Avon flows through Stratford-upon-Avon, and a cruise on the River Avon is an ideal way to see the town from a different perspective. Or why not book yourself a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour of Stratford-upon-Avon*?
How to get to Stratford upon Avon from Birmingham
The town of Stratford-upon-Avon is around 40 miles (65 km) south of Birmingham, and it will take you around 40 minutes to make the journey by car. Alternatively, you could travel by train from Birmingham Moor Street station, which takes around 50 minutes.
You can find more information on the Visit Stratford upon Avon website
For a fun day out with a sense of history and action-packed live shows, head to Warwick Castle!
The first castle was built at Warwick shortly after the Norman invasion of 1066. This was replaced by a stone castle in the 11th century and then reinforced and fortifed over the following centuries.
Today Warwick Castle is one of Britain’s top historical attractions, owned by the Merlin Group. As well as creating a fantastic day out, the castle’s custodians have also invested heavily in its restoration and maintenance.
The castle is packed with historical exhibits and live action adventures featuring actors and dramatic special effects. The State Apartments give a glimpse into the castle’s past, and you can also watch exciting bird of prey displays.
Why not extend your visit with a stay overnight in the castle’s Woodland Lodges and Medieval Glamping? You could even stay in one of the luxurious Tower Suites in Caesar’s Tower, perfect for a special occasion.
A day at Warwick Castle brings history to life, and it’s fantastic fun for visitors of all ages.
How to get to Warwick Castle from Birmingham
Warwick Castle is in the town of Warwick, around 36 miles (58km) south east of Birmingham. Getting there by car will take around 45 minutes, or you could use the train and bus to get there in around 55 minutes. The nearest train station is at Leamington Spa and you can then either take a taxi or take a bus to Warwick Castle.
Why not pay a visit to the Shropshire town of Ironbridge – the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
Ironbridge takes its name from the Iron Bridge which spans the River Severn as it runs through the Shropshire countryside.
The bridge was built in 1779 and was the first major bridge to be made from cast iron. This process revolutionised industry, and the area became known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
The Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage site and museums in the area include Blists Hill Victorian Town where you can travel back in time to the Victorian era. Children will enjoy a visit to Enginuity, which is a hands-on engineering museum that’s perfect for kids.
Entrance to the Ironbridge Gorge Museums is very reasonably priced. And with an Annual Passport, you can visit all 10 museums as often as you like for 12 months.
As well as the Ironbridge museums, it’s also worth paying a visit to the Maws craft centre, which showcases independent artisan businesses. The area has plenty of places to eat, and of course it’s all set in the beautiful rural countryside of Shropshire.
How to get to Ironbridge from Birmingham
Getting to the Ironbridge Gorge takes just 45 minutes by car. If you’re travelling by public transport, it will take you around 90 minutes by train and bus.
If you fancy spending the day in a town with quirky streets full of pretty half-timber buildings, Shrewsbury will be right up your street!
My next suggestion for a day trip from Birmingham takes you to Shropshire’s county town. Shrewsbury is a fairly small town with masses of character and you will love to spend the day exploring it.
The town sits a few miles from the Welsh border and inside a loop of the River Severn. Inside the loop, the Tudor town centre retains its medieval layout with streets full of half-timber buildings.
For history buffs, Shrewsbury is the town where Charles Darwin was born and raised. There are plenty of fascinating buildings to visit including Shrewsbury Castle and the Shropshire Regimental Museum.
Streets in Shrewsbury have memorable names like Dogpole and Mardol, and the town is also known for its elaborate pattern of passageways, known as ‘shuts’. In these alleyways, you’ll find quirky specialist shops and fabulous independent bars, cafes and restaurants.
There are a number of events throughout the year which are worth a visit, including the Shrewsbury Flower Festival which has been running for over 125 years.
And if you decide to stay overnight in Shrewsbury, there are plenty of boutique hotels as well as well known popular chains.
How to get to Shrewsbury from Birmingham
If you’re driving to Shrewsbury, the journey takes a straightforward route up the M6 and M54. It’ll take you around 55 minutes to get there. Trains from Birmingham to Shrewsbury leave every hour from Birmingham New Street, and the journey takes around an hour.
If you’re more of a thrill-seeker then you’ll find roller-coaster heaven just over an hour away from Birmingham.
If you love roller-coasters then it’s definitely worth adding a trip to Alton Towers onto your visit to Birmingham. It’s the second most popular theme park in the UK (after Legoland) with around 2 million visitors per year.
You’ll find rides to suit everyone at Alton Towers, from kid-friendly rides and attractions, to the fastest and most innovative rollercoasters like Nemesis and Oblivion. As well as the theme park, there is also a water park, crazy golf course and a spa.
As you’d expect from a theme park of this size, the park has plenty of places to eat and drink. There are also themed hotels on site if you decide that you want to extend your stay overnight.
The theme park opens from mid-March to early-November, while many of the other facilities are open all year round. There are also several themed events at Alton Towers throughout the year including Scarefest at the end of October and a massive firework display to end the season.
How to get to Alton Towers from Birmingham
It’s easiest to reach Alton Towers by car, which will take you around 1 hour 15 minutes. It is also possible to take a train from Birmingham New Street to Stoke, and then take a bus which stops outside the entrance to Alton Towers. This journey will take you around 2 hours 10 minutes in total.
Perfect for a day trip from Birmingham, the city of Chester has something to suit everyone
The walled city of Chester was originally founded as a Roman fort in the year 79 CE and later became a major civilian settlement. Today, it’s a great location for a day trip, with plenty to keep visitors of all ages occupied.
In the city’s medieval centre, you’ll find plenty of black and white timber buildings, although many of these are Victorian restorations. Chester is also home to the famous ‘Rows’, which are unique in the United Kingdom. They feature shops or dwellings on two storeys, with a continuous walkway running outside the shops on the first floor.
The clock at Eastgate, pictured above, is said to be the second most photographed clock in the UK, after the clock in the Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster (Big Ben).
Chester also has one of the best-preserved sets of city walls in the UK, with only around 100m missing from the 2 mile circuit. A walkway runs along the perimeter of the walls, with bridges crossing over roads at a number of gates.
Chester is perfect for exploring on foot, or you can book a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour of Chester*. You can also get a different view of the city by booking a 30 minute cruise on the River Dee in Chester*
You may also like to visit Chester Zoo, which is the most visited wildlife attraction in the UK. It is one of the UK’s largest zoos and carries out important conservation work. Nearby you’ll find the Blue Planet Aquarium, and Cheshire Oaks shopping outlet is a few miles down the road if you’re in the mood for more shopping.
How to get to Chester from Birmingham
It’ll take you around 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive to Chester from Birmingham. Alternatively, you can take the train from Birmingham New Street to Chester, a journey taking around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Beloved by Brummies, Barmouth is ideal for a lovely day out by the sea. Or why not extend your visit and stay overnight?
The seaside town of Barmouth has been a popular season holiday location for people from Birmingham for many years. It sits on the estuary of the River Mawddach and Ceredigion Bay, and is overlooked by the mountains of Snowdonia.
Barmouth has a long golden beach, a pretty harbour, and streets full of quirky shops and independent restaurants. And you’ll find everything you need for a great seaside getaway, including an amusement arcade and a shop selling fudge and sticks of rock.
And be sure to round off your trip to the seaside with fresh fish and chips from one of the shops in the town – my favourite is the Mermaid.
This little town makes a perfect seaside getaway. And if you fancy making a weekend of it, there’s plenty of accommodation in hotels, guest-houses or on AirBnB.
How to get to Barmouth from Birmingham
The journey to Barmouth is one of the longer ones in this list, but it’s still just about doable as a day trip. If you’re driving, the journey will take around 2 hours and 45 minutes. The route follows the M6 and M54 and then heads cross-country through the beautiful Snowdonia National Park.
If you prefer to travel by train, the journey from Birmingham New Street to Barmouth will take you around 3 hours and 30 minutes. Barmouth’s station is right in the centre of town.
Find out more on the Barmouth website
A Welsh village quite unlike any other, Portmeirion is a uniquely quirky village that you’ll love to visit
Portmeirion was the brainchild of the architect Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis, who mixed a variety of architectural styles to create this colourful and quirky village.
If Portmeirion looks familiar, you may recognise it from the 1960s TV series ‘The Prisoner’. The outdoor scenes were filmed there, as it provided the perfect setting for the bizarre Village where Number 6 found himself imprisoned.
Everywhere you look, you’ll find something new and unusual to delight the eye. Colourful Italianate style buildings sit alongside reclaimed Georgian architecture, and a giant chess board is overlooked by gilded Mandalay dancers on top of Ionic columns.
There’s also a spa, a Wild Wood to explore, and a footpath along the beautiful Dwyryd Estuary coast. And if one day in Portmeirion isn’t enough, there are two luxury hotels and a range of cottages that you can stay in.
How to get to Portmeirion from Birmingham
Driving to Portmeirion from Birmingham will take around 2 hours and 45 minutes. As with Barmouth, your route will take you along the M6 and M54 motorways before crossing the Snowdonia National Park to the coast.
It is possible to travel to Portmeiron by train as there is a railway station just a few minutes away in Minffordd. However, the journey from Birmingham New Street takes around five hours. So it’s probably only practical to travel this way if you plan to stay overnight.