Planning the best day out in Birmingham

Thinking of a trip to the UK’s second city? Start planning your days out in Birmingham with ideas and inspiration from Avanti for the whole family to enjoy.

Avanti West Coast Pendolino

By our Web Team

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8 min read | Published 11 November 2021 | Updated 03 January 2024

Planning a trip to the UK’s second-largest city? Whether you’re staying for one day or a long weekend, there’s no shortage of things to do in and around Birmingham.

For longer holidays, there are also plenty of wonderful destinations that make for great day trips from Birmingham.

From family-friendly museums and art galleries to seaside destinations and more, there’s enough to keep you occupied for days.

Book your tickets to Birmingham New Street and read on to find out everything you need to know about the best things to do for the ultimate day out.

Top local Birmingham day trips for families

You don’t need to go far to find something awesome to do in Birmingham. Here are some of our top Birmingham day trips for families and groups.

1. Sea Life Centre Birmingham

Kids (and adults) of all ages will love the National Sea Life Centre in the heart of the city centre, with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life.

The centre’s ocean tank has a capacity of 1,000,000 litres of water and hosts the only fully transparent 360-degree underwater tunnel in the UK.

Don’t miss Ozzy and Ola, the very first pair of sea otters to make their home in the UK. And remember to say hello to Mo, the 20-stone green sea turtle.

You should plan for roughly one and a half to two hours for your trip, but it could take much longer. After all, you’ll be amazed by the penguins, black-tip reef sharks, colourful tropical fish, giant octopi, and everything else at Sea Life.

Kids will also love getting up close and personal with marine life in the rockpool zone with the opportunity to reach in and touch starfish, anemones and urchins.

The Sea Life Centre is within walking distance from Birmingham New Street Station so you can even head straight there as soon as you jump off the train!

2. Cadbury World

Located just a couple of miles outside Birmingham city centre, Cadbury World is a homage to all things chocolate.

You’ll discover the history of the Cadbury company, witness chocolate making in action, and even get the opportunity to have a go at piping chocolate yourself. There’s also the world’s biggest Cadbury shop and an outdoor adventure play area. With the self-guided tour, a visit to the shop and cafe, and time spent in the playpark, most visitors spend around three to four hours here.

You can reach Cadbury World by train from Birmingham New Street. Catch the Cross-City Line to Bournville station and enjoy a 15-minute stroll towards chocolate heaven.

3. LEGO Land Discovery Centre

Not far from the Sea Life Centre is this colourful world of creativity (and maybe a little bit of building chaos) designed for children aged three to 12.

It’s a must-do for any LEGO fans. There’s a wealth of different zones to discover, from MINILAND to the Kingdom Quest ride where you’re tasked with helping the kidnapped princess!

Plan to spend two to three hours in the Discovery Centre to make the most of all the attractions. There are l two rides, a 4D cinema, MINILAND, several LEGO-themed play areas, and Master Model Builder workshops.

You can save up to 40% when purchasing multi-attraction tickets to Sea Life, LEGO Land Discovery Centre, and Cadbury World; each of which we recommend in this article.

4. Cannon Hill Park

If you’re lucky to get good weather when visiting Birmingham, head straight for Cannon Hill Park. With 80 acres of formal parkland and a further 120 acres of woodland and conservation areas, it’s the perfect outdoor family day trip in Birmingham

Cannon Hill Park is accessible by public transport from Birmingham city centre in around 20 minutes. When you arrive, hop on the Land Train for an overview of the park. From here, you can see all the outstanding natural beauty and scope out the best picnic spots as well as all sorts of hidden gems.

Work up an appetite with a trip on the boating lake in one of the swan pedal boats, which come as two or four-seaters. Then, after lunch, head to the Fun Park which is packed full of rides and activities for younger children.

You can even buy a Fun Pass to make the most of all the activities on offer. Or, simply enjoy the play park, relax on the grass, and visit the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) located within the park.

Here you can check out the shows and courses on offer and maybe even learn a new skill.

5. Thinktank

Thinktank is one of the best Birmingham museums for kids. Here, you’ll find plenty to keep curious minds occupied with over 200 interactive science and technology displays, including MiniBrum for little scientists aged eight or under.

Don’t miss the Spitfire Gallery, which tells the story of an innovative plane that played a key role in the Second World War and had a lasting impact on the city. Make sure to swing by the planetarium too for a fascinating exploration of astronomy, planets, and the night sky.

The museum is at Millenium Point, a 15-minute walk from New Street Station.

6. Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary

In Sutton Park, a 2,400-acre park located six miles north of the city centre, you’ll find the Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary.

If you’re a family of animal lovers, it’s one of the best day trips in Birmingham with kids. The donkeys have lots of space to roam around, and you might get lucky enough that they’ll come up close to nuzzle you.

Whilst you’re there, be sure to spend some time exploring Sutton Park, most of which is a National Nature Reserve and one of the largest urban parks in Europe. The park is home to seven lakes, woodlands, wetlands and marshes.

It’s an area of outstanding natural sights. You’ll see beautiful landscapes as well as cattle and wild ponies roaming free and happily grazing on the land.

There is free entry to both the park and the sanctuary but pre-booking is recommended for the Donkey Sanctuary.

Top day trips from Birmingham to the seaside

A sandcastle with two Union Jack flags next to a bucket and spade set on the beach with the ocean in the background
If you want a vibrant city that also allows for an easy seaside day trip Birmingham is a great choice. In fact, it’s one of the most central and well-connected cities in the UK.

Day trips from Birmingham to Blackpool

For a quintessentially English seaside experience while on your holiday, Blackpool should be on your list of Birmingham day trips.

From Blackpool Tower and Pleasure Beach to Sandcastle Water Park, there are plenty of fun Blackpool activities to enjoy at the seaside.

You can get a train from Birmingham New Street Station to Blackpool in under two and a half hours with just one change in Preston.

Day trips from Birmingham to Rhyl

Rhyl is another fun seaside destination reachable within two and a half hours of Birmingham. There are direct trains from Birmingham city centre to Rhyl, so you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful journey across North Wales.

Top things to do on day trips from Birmingham to Rhyl include fun on the sand at Rhyl Beach and a visit to SeaQuariam. And don’t forget to enjoy some good old fish and chips and pick up some Rhyl rock too.

Top nearby towns and cities for Birmingham day trips

A view of Warwick Castle, a medieval castle in England, over the water
There’s plenty to do in Birmingham's city centre, but there are also several wonderful towns and cities within easy reach.

If you’re looking to venture out of the city for a day, or plotting day trips to Birmingham from other UK destinations, here are some of our top options reachable by train.

1. Leamington Spa

With iconic Georgian architecture, countless independent shops, fantastic street art, and plenty of green spaces, Leamington Spa has a little bit of everything.

Direct trains from Birmingham to Leamington Spa take around 35 minutes. Warwick Castle is also reachable from Leamington Spa in about 20 minutes. You can then hop back on the train and get to Birmingham from Warwick in 45 minutes.

You can do two separate day trips from Birmingham or comfortably squeeze both into the same day!

2. Liverpool

Known all over the world as the home of The Beatles, Liverpool is a bustling city full of culture.

From the Royal Albert Dock and Merseyside Maritime Museum to multiple Beatles landmarks, there are plenty of attractions and things to do in Liverpool. For children’s entertainment, check out our top family-friendly activities in the area.

The direct train to Liverpool is approximately an hour and a half, which makes it perfect for day trips to Birmingham and vice versa.

3. Manchester

The journey to Manchester from Birmingham is fairly swift, taking just under two hours. This makes Manchester another convenient destination for day trips from or day trips to Birmingham.

From exploring the quirky independent shops and speakeasy-style bars of the Ancoats district to catching a football game at the famous Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester is full of exciting activities for an action-packed day.

It’s also home to some of the best city street food markets around so you might want to have a small breakfast before you set off from Birmingham!

Travelling by train with Avanti

A girl with a backpack looks out of the window as she travels by train in the sunshine
Whether you’re visiting the city for a day or want to explore the surrounding area, Birmingham is a fantastic and well-connected destination. The city itself is easy to get around by public transport and there are plenty of convenient and direct trains to a variety of nearby towns and cities.

To make the most of your day trips, book your train to Birmingham ahead of time with Avanti. The earlier you book, the more you save. You can even register for one of our Railcards for further discounts.

For more top tips on how to save money on travel to and from Birmingham, check out more Ways to Save with Avanti West Coast.

Buy train tickets for your next journey

Buying through our website or app saves you money because we never charge booking fees.

To take a look at more ways to save including using a Railcard, booking in advance, and booking as a group, visit our ways to save page.

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