Birmingham just might be the best place outside London to shop, dine and discover British culture. In fact, some would argue that its compact size and lower cost of living make it the better choice. It’s easy to reach Birmingham by train: the inner city alone offers three train stations. Trains to Birmingham depart twice an hour or more from the biggest UK cities, and hourly from a wide variety of smaller towns.
The biggest station in the city is Birmingham New Street. This is the national hub for CrossCountry trains, which travel along the most extensive long-distance network in the country. Most trains to and from New Street are longer-distance services, while local commuter trains run to Birmingham Snow Hill station. There may be one train a day from London to Snow Hill, while all other London trains arrive at New Street.
CrossCountry is the most frequent provider of trains to and from Birmingham, offering trains from Leeds, Manchester and many other locations, usually departing twice an hour. Virgin Trains also offers regular services, including direct trains from London and Edinburgh several times a day. West Midlands Railway also offers direct trains from London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly, while Chiltern Railways offers trains from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill station.
Birmingham is the UK’s second-biggest city, with a geographically convenient location, so it’s no surprise that it offers direct train connections to all major UK cities and streamlined indirect connections to most towns, too. No matter where you are in the UK, you can quickly and easily reach Birmingham by train, so it makes an ideal base for exploring the rest of the country outside London.
Not only is Birmingham easy to reach by rail and road but also by canal boat. The city is a central hub for the UK’s canal network, and even has more miles of canal than Venice. Arrive in the city by train, then hop on to a local bus to reach a canalside development like Bindleyplace, where you can hire a boat for a few days or just for the afternoon. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby if you’d rather enjoy a view of the water from dry land. Fans of the show Peaky Blinders may enjoy a Peaky Blinders tour of Digbeth, ending with a themed dinner.