15 of the Best Day Trips from Birmingham, UK [2024]

If you’re planning to visit Birmingham, England, you could extend your visit and see more of the local area with one of these fantastic day trips.

The historic Council House in Birmingham with columns and ornate architectural details stands in the forefront. Behind it, modern glass and steel skyscrapers rise into the sky. The scene takes place on a cloudy day with a few people walking in the plaza.

Birmingham is the UK’s second city and a popular destination for tourists. Around 42 million people visit the city every year to enjoy its fantastic shopping malls, top-class theatres and amazing music venues. 

In Birmingham, you’ll find restaurants serving every delicious cuisine you can imagine, and accommodation covering all price ranges from budget stays to luxury hotels.

Birmingham’s central location makes it perfect for a city break in the UK. It’s also an ideal base for exploring the local area, the West Midlands, and beyond. The city is located in the heart of the motorway network and has three train stations serving destinations all around the country.

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. My list includes family days out, beautiful towns, historic places and even some popular seaside trips.

And I’ve arranged my Birmingham day trip selection 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 days out from Birmingham, UK.

Key Takeaways

  • Historic sites and museums nearby include Cadbury World, the Black Country Living Museum and the Ironbridge Gorge.
  • Rollercoaster fans should head to Alton Towers, the UK’s biggest theme park.
  • Locations for a day trip in the great outdoors include the Malvern Hills and the Peak District.
  • The North Wales coast is just about doable as a day trip from Birmingham, but you might prefer to stay overnight.
A close-up image of several chocolate bars stacked on a rustic wooden surface. Cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods are scattered around the chocolate, with a piece of chocolate slightly chipped on top.

Cadbury World

If you love chocolate, then you’re sure to enjoy a visit to Cadbury World, one of the UK’s most popular family attractions.

The Cadbury family started making chocolate in 1831. By the late 1800s, they had moved their company to a new greenfield site, Bournville, named after a local river called The Bourn. 

In 1990 the original Cadbury factory became home to Cadbury World, where you 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. Then, 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 world’s biggest Cadbury Shop and Factory Zone.

How to get to Cadbury World from Birmingham

The short drive to Cadbury World from central Birmingham takes around 20 minutes. 

You can also take the 12-minute cross-city train journey from Birmingham New Street Station to Bournville Station. From the train station, it’s a ten-minute walk to Cadbury World.

A street view of the Black Country Living Museum with red brick buildings. The buildings have chimneys and green doors. The street curves slightly, and a green sign on a building reads "Bottle & Glass." A vintage bicycle is parked against one of the buildings.

Black Country Living Museum

If you’re a fan of Peaky Blinders, you might already know that scenes from the series were shot at the Black Country Living Museum.

This immersive open-air museum is set on 26 acres in the heart of the Black Country, west of Birmingham. The area’s name comes from the thick black soot that covered the area in the 19th century.

Learn about local history as you explore the Black Country Living Museum’s 40+ reconstructed shops and historic buildings. You’ll discover what it would have been like to live and work in the area at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

You can watch a short film in the 1920s cinema or live demonstrations of chain and nail making, tuck into traditional fish and chips, and even test your knowledge in a 1912-style school lesson.

This popular attraction makes a great day trip for all the family, whether you’re a Peaky Blinders fan or not.

How to get to the Black Country Living Museum from Birmingham

Driving to the Black Country Living Museum from Birmingham only takes 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 jump on a bus to the museum itself. This journey will take around 45 minutes.

A stone bridge with multiple arches spans the River Avon in Stratford upon Avon on a sunny day. A large crowd is gathered on the bridge, and a few people are standing on the riverbank. Trees and green foliage surround the area. The foreground has a circular stone section with engraved text.

Stratford upon Avon

Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon is a chance to immerse yourself in all things Shakespeare. This beautiful historical town is full of important sites for Shakespeare fans, including the cottage where his wife Anne Hathaway lived and Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was buried.

You can also visit William Shakespeare’s birthplace and even stand in the very room where he was born!

It’s also worth checking availability for Royal Shakespeare Company performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre or the Swan Theatre. 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. It’s also worth visiting if you’re interested in British history, as the town has many beautiful half-timber buildings dating back to Tudor times. 

A boat trip on the River Avon is an ideal way to see the town from a different perspective. There’s a fabulous choice of independent shops and a wide range of restaurants to suit every taste and budget.

How to get to Stratford upon Avon from Birmingham

Whether you travel by rail or road, Stratford upon Avon makes an easy day trip from Birmingham. It will take you around 40 minutes to drive to Stratford-upon-Avon from Birmingham. 

Alternatively, you could take the train from Birmingham Moor Street station, which takes around 50 minutes.

Visitors enjoying a sunny day on the lawn in front of Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, England, surrounded by towers and fortifications.

Warwick Castle

For a fun day out with a sense of history and action-packed live shows, head to Warwick Castle! 

The first castle at Warwick was built shortly after the Norman invasion of 1066 and was soon replaced by a stone castle.

Today, Warwick Castle is one of Britain’s top historical attractions, owned by the Merlin Group. In addition to creating a fantastic day out, the castle’s custodians have also invested heavily in its restoration and maintenance.

Read more about my visit to Warwick Castle.

The castle is packed with historical exhibits, special events and live-action adventures featuring actors and dramatic special effects. The State Apartments give a glimpse into the castle’s rich history, and you can also watch exciting bird of prey displays.

You can extend your visit with an overnight stay in the castle’s Woodland Lodges, Medieval Glamping or one of the luxurious Tower Suites in Caesar’s Tower.

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, and it takes around 45 minutes to drive there. 

Alternatively, you can take the train from Birmingham New Street to Leamington Spa and then a taxi or bus to Warwick Castle. Your journey will take around an hour. 

Cosford Royal Air Force Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum at RAF Cosford is a fantastic day out for visitors of all ages.

Through the museum’s exhibits, you’ll discover the story of the Royal Air Force and the men and women who have served in it since the early 20th century. The museum’s hangars contain planes from the last hundred years, and you can even climb into the cockpit of some of the aircraft. The museum also has some hands-on exhibits for kids, an amazing 4D theatre and thrilling Virtual Reality flight simulators.

The RAF museum at Cosford also houses the Cold War exhibition, which is a fascinating look at this important period of 20th-century history. It’s also home to my favourite exhibit, the iconic Vulcan plane suspended from the hall’s ceiling. 

With free admission and just a small parking fee, the Cosford Royal Air Force Museum makes a great option for a low-cost Birmingham day trip. 

How to get to Cosford Royal Air Force Museum from Birmingham

Cosford Royal Air Force Museum is just off Junction 3 of the M54, and it will take you around 40 minutes to drive there from Birmingham. 

If you prefer to travel by public transport, a direct train runs from Birmingham New Street to Cosford train station. The journey takes around 40 minutes. 

Ironbridge High Street with various brick buildings and shops, including one storefront with a "Pork Pies" sign. Outdoor seating is visible along the sidewalk, and a clear blue sky is overhead. The street appears quiet with no visible vehicles or pedestrians.

Ironbridge

The Shropshire town of Ironbridge is known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It takes its name from the Iron Bridge, which spans the River Severn as it runs through the Shropshire countryside.

Built in 1779, the Iron Bridge was the first major bridge made from cast iron, a process that revolutionised industry.

The Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and museums in the area include the Museum of the Gorge, Jackfield Tile Museum, and Blists Hill Victorian Town, where you can travel back in time to the Victorian era. Children will enjoy a visit to Enginuity, a hands-on engineering museum perfect for family days out.

Discover the Best Things to Do in Ironbridge

Entrance to the Ironbridge Gorge Museums is very reasonably priced. With an annual pass, you can visit all 10 museums as often as you like for 12 months. 

Along with the Ironbridge museums, it’s also worth visiting 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 beautiful rural Shropshire with the Shropshire Hills not far away.

In my opinion, that all makes Ironbridge one of the best places to visit for a day trip from Birmingham!

How to get to Ironbridge from Birmingham

Driving is the best way to get to the Ironbridge Gorge, and the trip takes just 45 minutes by car. 

If you’re travelling by public transport, it will take around 90 minutes by train and bus. 

The historical colonnade of the Royal Pump Room in Royal Leamington Spa with beige stone columns and "ROYAL PUMP ROOM" written in gold capital letters on top. Flower baskets hang between the columns. A large tree with green leaves is visible in the background.

Royal Leamington Spa

The historic town of Leamington Spa sits on the winding River Leam, around 30 miles southeast of Birmingham. It’s well known for its wide boulevards, stunning Regency architecture and gorgeous parks. 

One of the main attractions in Leamington Spa is the Royal Pump Rooms, a bathhouse from the 1800s which is now home to the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum. There’s a cafe on site, along with an original hammam or Turkish bath.

Jephson Gardens is an idyllic spot with beautiful formal gardens, a Sensory Garden and a glasshouse filled with tropical plants. 

You can reach most of the compact town centre in about 10 minutes on foot, which is the best way to enjoy Leamington Spa’s beautiful architecture. The town has an array of boutique shops, independent eateries and major high-street brands.

How to get to Royal Leamington Spa from Birmingham

It will take you around 50 minutes to drive from Birmingham to Leamington Spa. 

Travelling by train may be the better way to reach Leamington Spa. The journey takes around 35 minutes, and trains leave from both Birmingham New Street and Birmingham Moor Street.

Bronze statue of Charles Darwin, seated with a book, in front of the Shrewsbury Library clock tower, under a clear blue sky with pink blossoms on the branches nearby.

Shrewsbury

If you fancy spending the day in a historic market 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 one of my local towns – Shropshire’s county town, Shrewsbury. It’s a fairly small town with masses of character, and you’ll love to spend the day exploring it.

The town sits a few miles from the Welsh border, inside a loop of the River Severn. The Tudor town centre retains its medieval layout with streets full of half-timber buildings.

For history buffs, Shrewsbury is where Charles Darwin was born and raised. There are plenty of fascinating buildings to visit, including Shrewsbury Castle and the National Trust property at Attingham Park.

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’. You’ll find quirky specialist shops and fabulous independent bars, cafes and restaurants in these alleyways. 

If you decide to stay overnight in Shrewsbury, there are plenty of boutique hotels and popular chains.

How to get to Shrewsbury from Birmingham

If you’re driving to Shrewsbury, it’s a straightforward hour’s drive up the M6 and M54. 

Trains from Birmingham to Shrewsbury leave every hour from Birmingham New Street, and the journey takes around an hour.

Malvern Priory, with its tall, ornate tower stands amid a cluster of old buildings with tiled roofs. Green trees and vegetation surround the area, and a sprawling rural landscape with fields and additional buildings extends into the distance under a partly cloudy sky.

Malvern

If you’re looking for scenic walks in the great outdoors, local history and independent shopping, Malvern is the ideal place for your Birmingham day trip. It lies at the foot of the Malvern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Site of Special Scientific Interest, around 40 miles southwest of Birmingham.

The Victorian spa town of Malvern became popular in the 1800s when visitors travelled to the town to ‘take the water’, recuperate and relax. Nowadays, it’s a popular spot to enjoy the historic architecture, independent shops, and excellent spas and hotels.

If you prefer a more active day out, the Malvern Hills are a beautiful place for hiking. The hills cover an area of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and northern Gloucestershire, and are the location of the natural mineral water springs that serve the town of Malvern.

How to get to Malvern from Birmingham

The drive to Malvern from Birmingham takes just over an hour, slightly more at peak travel times. 

Malvern has two train stations, Malvern Link and Great Malvern, and the journey takes around an hour from Birmingham New Street. 

Alton Towers

Adrenaline junkies will find roller-coaster heaven just over an hour away from Birmingham at Alton Towers, the UK’s biggest theme park and one of the country’s top attractions. It’s the second most popular theme park in the UK (after Legoland), with around 2 million visitors annually.

You’ll find rides to suit everyone at Alton Towers, from kid-friendly rides and attractions to the fastest and most innovative roller coasters like Nemesis and Oblivion. In addition to the theme park, there is also a water park, a 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 want to extend your stay overnight.

The theme park opens from mid-March to early November, while many of the facilities are open all year round. Several themed events are held at Alton Towers throughout the year, including Scarefest at the end of October and a massive fireworks 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 around 1 hour 15 minutes. It is also possible to take a train from Birmingham New Street to Stoke and then take a bus that stops outside the entrance to Alton Towers. This journey will take you around 2 hours 10 minutes in total.

The famous Eastgate Clock, viewed from the historic city walls in the city of Chester, UK.

Chester

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 79 CE and later became a major civilian settlement. Today, it’s an excellent 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, and bridges cross over roads at several gates. 

Chester is a great place to explore on foot, on a Hop-On, Hop-off bus tour or on a boat ride on the River Dee.

You may also like to visit Chester Zoo, the most visited wildlife attraction in the UK. It’s 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

Driving to Chester from Birmingham will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the train from Birmingham New Street to Chester, which takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The Peak District National Park

Do you love hiking or spending time in cute villages and historic stately homes? If you don’t mind venturing a little further from Birmingham, the Peak District National Park is the perfect destination for your Birmingham day trip.

Britain’s first National Park covers 555 square miles of land across Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire. It’s filled with rugged moorland, limestone valleys, and soaring peaks that are perfect for a day out hiking. Over 1800 miles of public footpaths and long-distance trails are available, as are large stretches of open-access land that are perfect for hillwalking.

If you prefer a more relaxing day out in the Peak District, you could spend your day exploring chocolate-box villages or market towns. History lovers will enjoy a visit to Chatsworth House, one of Britain’s finest stately homes, or Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

How to get to the Peak District National Park from Birmingham

Depending on your exact destination, driving to the Peak District from Birmingham will take around one and a half hours. Travelling by train is more difficult and will require several changes. 

The bay at Barmouth with a wide stretch of sands and fishing boats in the foreground and blue skies over the mountains of Eryri (Snowdownia) in the background

Barmouth

Beloved by Brummies, Barmouth is ideal for a lovely day out by the sea. This seaside town has been a popular season holiday location for people from Birmingham for many years. It sits on the estuary of the River Mawddach in Ceredigion Bay and is overlooked by the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia).

Barmouth has a long golden beach, a pretty harbour and streets full of quirky shops and independent restaurants. You’ll find everything you need for a great seaside getaway, including an amusement arcade and a shop selling fudge and sticks of rock.

You can make the most of your day out with a trip on the nearby Fairbourne Steam Railway, and the Barmouth ferry can carry you back to Barmouth. If you’re lucky, you may even see dolphins in the bay. 

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 on this list, but it’s still just about doable as a day trip. The journey will take around 2 hours and 45 minutes if you’re driving. The route follows the M6 and M54 and then heads cross-country through the beautiful Eryri National Park (Snowdonia).

If you prefer to travel by train, the journey from Birmingham New Street to Barmouth will take around 3 hours and 30 minutes. 

Portmeirion

A Welsh village quite unlike any other, Portmeirion is a uniquely quirky village that you’ll love to visit. It 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.

Read more about my visit to Portmeirion Village.

You’ll find something new and unusual to delight the eye everywhere you look. Colourful Italianate-style buildings sit alongside reclaimed Georgian architecture, and a giant chessboard 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.

Click here to read my review of Hotel Portmeirion.

How to get to Portmeirion from Birmingham

The easiest way to get to Portmeirion from Birmingham is by car, which 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 Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park to the coast.

It is possible to travel to Portmeirion 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.

Leicester National Space Centre

Budding astronauts of all ages will enjoy a trip to the National Space Centre in Leicester. If you’re fascinated by astronomy and space exploration, it’s a fabulous day out from Birmingham.

The exhibits you’ll see there include massive upright rockets, an accurate mock-up of the Soviet Sputnik satellite, Matt Damon’s Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) spacesuit from The Martian and a genuine piece of Moon rock. 

The National Space Centre is a fun day out for the whole family. And because a day ticket to the National Space Centre is automatically upgraded to a free Annual Pass, it’s a money-saving day out, too!

How to get to Leicester National Space Centre from Birmingham

Driving to the National Space Centre in Leicester will take around an hour via the M6 and M69.

If you prefer to travel by train, the journey to Leicester train station takes around an hour from Birmingham New Street. You can then take a bus or taxi to the National Space Centre.

This is my choice of the best day trips from Birmingham. Which one would you like to visit next?

13 thoughts on “15 of the Best Day Trips from Birmingham, UK [2024]

  1. Stuart Forster says:

    Bournville has a remarkable story and is well worth a visit. You have some good suggestions but I’m surprised you’ve included Chester and places in North Wales here; they warrant a trip of longer than a day.

    • Sally Akins says:

      Yes, I do make the point in the post that although you can visit these places for a day trip if that’s all you have time for, it’s well worth extending your visit if time allows.

  2. Suzanne Jones says:

    Some great suggestions here Sally. I went on a barge trip through the canals last time I was there which, although not a day trip, made a lovely afternoon out.

  3. Jenni sheldon says:

    This post is so useful as I am visiting Birminham soon and it reminded me of the Black country museum which I have wanted to visit for some time so I am going to add it to my trip

  4. Kathryn Burrington says:

    You had me hooked at the mention of Cadbury. So many wonderful places to visit and I’ve not yet been to a single one!

  5. Dylan Jones says:

    Some great ideas here. I’ve visited many of these of these places, but it’s surprising to find so many that I haven’t. Stratford and Ironbridge really need to go on my list, and I live relatively near Chester now, so I must return soon.

  6. Janis says:

    Thanks for the inspiration, there are certainly a few places here I’d love to visit. We visited Stratford-upon-Avon last year and had a fantastic time and we even managed to get last minute tickets to a RSC performance.

    • Sally Akins says:

      The last time I went to the RSC was back in 2008 to see David Tennant’s Hamlet. Definitely time for a repeat visit, I think!

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