Birmingham is located in the West Midlands area of England, and is the country’s most populated city after London. It was originally a market town, but after a period of modernisation and industrialisation, the city is now a major hub for businesses and students.
Birmingham’s own airport is located about 10km east of the city centre, and operates many FlyBe, RyanAir, Thomson and Monarch services across the UK and Europe. There are also several direct flights to the Americas, the Middle East and Asia.
As a fairly central city in the country, Birmingham is very easily accessed by train, and is a stopover point for many services. CrossCountry trains run out of Birmingham New Street station, which is in the centre, and whose network stretches to all ends of the country. Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham Snow Hill are two smaller stations in the city, and both run services to and from London.
The main coach network operating within Birmingham is National Express, whose headquarters are local to the region. As a result, long distance buses run in and out of the city many times a day, making it very easy to get to from all major cities in the country.
Birmingham is a large city, and thus presents a wide range of options for getting around. Several companies run a vast selection of bus routes within the city, and there is a light rail system called ‘Midland Metro’, which accesses the further edges of the city. Visitors can even travel via city’s network of canals, a remnant from the Industrial Revolution, which is even more extensive than of Venice!
Distance from Birmingham by train: 1 hour 10 minutes.
The blend of architecture splashed across the city’s famous campus attracts visitors from around the globe. Neoclassical, baroque and gothic styles each call the campus home. But beyond the beautiful facades of the buildings, Oxford has so much more to offer day trippers.
Christ Church College will capture the imagination of Harry Potter fans and curiosity of history enthusiasts. With thousands of books on display, literature lovers should make time to browse through The Weston Library. For those seeking something other than museums and colleges, the Jericho district is well worth a visit. The area boasts craft beer bars, independent coffee shops, and vintage clothes retailers.
Distance from Birmingham by train: 1 hour 25 minutes.
Maritime artifacts, ancient architecture and kooky neighborhoods, Bristol has something for everyone. The city offers vibrant bars, cultivating street art and some of the best thrift shops in the country. Spend a day exploring the galleries of the floating harbor, or discovering the past in one of Bristol’s many museums. Exploring Bristol is best done by foot. Take the time to wander from the M Shed and Brunel’s SS Great Britain – two of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. While the start and end points are worth a visit themselves, it’s the sights on the way that will make it a day to remember.
Distance from Birmingham by train: 40 minutes.
Home to horse racing and some of the UK’s best literary festivals, dig a little deeper and Cheltenham has a lot of offer. Thespians can enjoy spectacles from the Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham Playhouse and Everyman Theatre. While foodies can get stuck into great eats at Lumiere, Prithvi and L’Artisan. Not to mention, the town is home to a generous amount of parks. Pittville Park, the largest ornamental green space in the town, offers a stunning scenic experience. Afterwards, dive into the Pittville Pump rooms. An old regency building which housed British and U.S. soldiers during the Second World War. It’s a popular venue, but when it isn’t booked for a function visitors are welcome to take a look around free of charge.
Distance from Birmingham by train: 40 minutes.
Taking a day trip from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon may feel like a trip back in time. As the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the town has kept many of its Medieval characteristics. Those looking for historical sites should stroll down High Street and Henley Street. The mixture of old shops, Tudor architecture and restaurants make for a splendid day. Those who don’t fancy a Shakespeare-heavy trip, why not take a rowboat down the River Avon? Relax and unwind as you row past the town, taking in the scenery.
Distance from Birmingham by train: 35 minutes.
Lichfield may be one of the smallest cities in the UK, but it’s one of the most interesting. Head to Beacon Park, with more than 70 acres of stunning gardens, playing fields and wide-open green spaces. The city was also the birthplace of Samuel Johnson, the man credited with inventing the dictionary. Countdown-watchers and all English-language geeks can visit his house-turned-museum. Lichfield also boasts the only medieval three-spired cathedral in the world. History and architecture aside, the cathedral regularly hosts displays and exhibitions by local artists.