Avoid peak hours to find cheap train tickets from Birmingham to Manchester. Tickets are usually more expensive during the morning rush - from 05:57 to 09:01 on weekdays.
Booking in advance is also a great way to save money - CrossCountry makes its cheapest tickets available 12 weeks before travel (with discounts of up to 75%), while Virgin releases its advance fares up to 24 weeks beforehand.
Direct trains to Manchester from Birmingham typically take 90 minutes with stops at Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Stockport.
Indirect trains to Manchester from Birmingham are available with Virgin West Coast. These involve a change, usually at Stafford. This adds around ten minutes onto the direct journey time.
Trains to Manchester depart from Birmingham New Street. Services are usually operated by CrossCountry and Virgin West Coast.
Trains from Birmingham to Manchester arrive at Manchester Piccadilly Station. This is handily located on the edge of the city centre, just to the south of the vibrant Northern Quarter neighbourhood and less than 10 minutes' walk from the Manchester Conference Centre.
The first train of the day leaves Birmingham New Street at 05:57, getting into Manchester Piccadilly bright and early at 07:34.
The last direct train leaves Birmingham New Street at 22:30 and arrives at Manchester Piccadilly just before midnight. There's also an indirect train at 23:09, which gets into Piccadilly just before 02:00. This involves changing at Crewe.
Train timetables are subject to change: compare tickets from Birmingham to Manchester to see the latest departure times.
5 stars | Callum Soukup-Croy
Manchester is a great city to visit. There is some fantastic shopping and the nightlife scene is second to none, especially for LGBT travelers. Check out the Gothic city hall and the huge Arndale Centre. A great place to take the kids is the museum of science and industry.
5 stars | Rachel
Despite a long history reaching back into Roman times, it wasn't until the 18th century and the Industrial Revolution that Manchester became a full-scale city. Since then it's added a metropolitan population of 2.5m+ and developed a vast cultural reach, maturing into what is arguably England's second city.
Manchester and its people have always been able to move with the times and have shown resilience in the face of disaster. When huge swathes of the city were destroyed during the blitz and again in the 90s following the IRA bomb, Mancunians simply rebuilt, making their city better than ever before.
Manchester is constantly, visibly evolving. Most people know about its thriving music scene, Victorian architecture and football fanaticism. However, recent years have seen the city add a lot more to its arsenal: there's finally a food scene to match its huge range of bars, a strong sense of different neighbourhood vibes and a public transport system that would be the envy of most American cities.
Like most northern English cities, Manchester is generally a friendly place: you can expect warmth (though not weather-wise), humour and a great deal of heart.
5 stars | Jannik Altgen
Manchester is an awesome place. Be it the local LGBT corner in Canal Street, the various museums (MOSI, Soccer museum, Manchester Art Gallery, National War Museum and People's History Museum are my favs), the shopping-mania in Trafford Center, the cultural lure of all types of concerts, the close hills around Macclesfield that invite to long walks. I love the place!