Manchester is a rapidly expanding city with a rich history and culture, amazing retail and nightlife, and wide-ranging career opportunities. This winning combination brings visitors from far and wide, for both work and play. If you’re planning on visiting, then check out our guide on travel times to Manchester.
Travel times to and from Manchester by location
Transport options for getting to Manchester
Manchester is one of the most well-connected cities in the north of England. Things are only going to get better, transport-wise, as more investment continues to pour into the city and the Greater Manchester area.
If you want to get to and from the city itself, your main options are all fairly good ones.
By rail: Manchester city centre has four main railway stations. These are Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Deansgate. Between them, they run regular, reliable train services out across the Greater Manchester area, as well as direct links to the likes of Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh and London.
By coach: Manchester is a popular and accessible hub for both regional and national coach services such as National Express and Megabus. This is often a very inexpensive transport option, but one that offers good flexibility and coverage.
By road (personal vehicle): In terms of road network access, Manchester is extremely well served. The M62 provides a straight shot to both Liverpool and Leeds, while the M56 and M66 make it easy to get out into the Greater Manchester area. It’s also very quick and simple to pick up the M6, which runs all the way up to Carlisle in the north and Birmingham in the West Midlands. Multiple A-road routes complete the picture of a well-connected metropolitan area.
For each location, we’ve included the travel time by train, coach and car/personal vehicle.
Please bear in mind that the following are average times taken to get from/to Manchester, and will not be exact. However, these averages will give you an idea of what the journey should look like on any given day.
London to Manchester travel time
Obviously, London is a big city with many major train and bus stations. So exact timings will depend exactly where you want to end up. However, due to the popularity of direct travel between Manchester and London for work and leisure purposes, there are some highly efficient routes open to you.
By rail: 2 hours 21 minutes. With normal services, 55 trains per day run from London to Manchester.
By coach: 5 hours 30 minutes. Major coach firms offer up to 9 services from London to Manchester each day. London Victoria Coach Station is the preferred pickup/drop off point for most coach companies.
By road (personal vehicle): 4 hours 15 minutes. The most direct route from London to Manchester is to take the M40 out of the capital, then the M6 Toll around Birmingham, then the M6 before turning off and taking the M62 into Manchester. The distance between the two city centres is 218 miles.
Birmingham to Manchester travel time
Birmingham is the UK’s second-largest city and a popular travel connection to/from Manchester.
By rail: 1 hour 30 minutes. You can take a direct train from Birmingham New Street to Manchester Piccadilly
By coach: 2 hours 15 minutes. Birmingham Coach Station is based in Digbeth right at the heart of the city.
By road (personal vehicle): 1 hour 45 minutes. The two city centres are only separated by around 95 miles. The M6 and M62 provide a quick, easy journey.
Leeds to Manchester travel time
Travelling from Leeds to Manchester is a popular route for students, commuters and those wanting to enjoy the cultural attractions of both cities.
By rail: 1 hour 15 minutes. Over 200 trains run between the two cities each day. You can get direct trains into Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.
By coach: 1 hour 30 minutes. You get back direct one-way coach tickets between Leeds and Manchester for as little as £3.50. Some coach companies run up to 7 direct services each day.
By road (personal vehicle): 1 hour. Taking the M62 directly to Leeds is the shortest and usually fastest route. This covers most of the 44.6 miles between the two city centres.
Liverpool to Manchester travel time
Liverpool and Manchester have links going back generations, as two of the leading cities of the North West of England. Getting between the two places is a journey enjoyed by millions throughout history, and transport links have been steadily improving.
By rail: 55 minutes. There are 176 direct trains between the two cities every day. You can arrive into Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.
By coach: 1 hour 25 minutes. It is possible to get direct coach connections that arrive in under an hour. One-way tickets should cost around £2.50-£3.
By road (personal vehicle): 50 minutes. The Western branch of the M62 provides a direct link between Liverpool and Manchester. It’s around 35 miles between the two city centres.
Sheffield to Manchester travel time
Being separated by the Peak District National Park puts a little added difficulty in getting from Sheffield to Manchester, despite the relatively short distance between them. Still, it’s not a terribly arduous journey, and at least the views are pretty!
By rail: 1 hour 10 minutes. Around 50 trains run daily from Sheffield to Manchester Piccadilly, covering the 32 miles in just over an hour.
By coach: 1 hour 40 minutes. It takes a fair while longer to take a coach to Manchester from Sheffield, compared to your own vehicle. However, this does mean you can completely relax and enjoy the magnificent Peak District views.
By road (personal vehicle): 1 hour 15 minutes. You can take the A57 which runs directly through the Peak District. Alternatively, you can skirt along the top of the Peaks, via the A628. The difference in distance and timings is negligible, it’s just a matter of which views you prefer and whether either road has bad traffic on the day you want to make the journey.
Nottingham to Manchester travel time
Getting from Nottingham to Manchester requires a bit of a ‘dog leg’ journey. This is because the Peak District is a big but beautiful obstacle in the way.
By rail: 2 hours 15 minutes. There are direct services to Manchester Piccadilly from Nottingham, but most require 1 or 2 changes.
By coach: 2 hours 45 minutes. Be careful when checking your coaching options for Nottingham to Manchester. There are a lot of very lengthy routes that can take up to 4 hours and 25 minutes to complete!
By road (personal vehicle): 2 hours 5 minutes. You’ve two options: one is to take the M1 and come over the top of Sheffield before skirting the northern end of the Peak District and finally taking the M67 into Manchester. The scenic route is to go directly through the Peak District via the A619 and A623. Both routes take roughly the same amount of time. Option 1 is 81 miles, but with better roads. Option 2 is only 72 miles, but with more meandering, slower roads.
Glasgow to Manchester travel time
Despite the distance involved, getting all the way from Scotland’s second city to Manchester is not as time-consuming as you might think.
By rail: 3 hours 25 minutes. Services run directly into Manchester Piccadilly.The fastest train services can get you there in just over 3 hours.
By coach: 4 hours 45 minutes. There is a lot of variation on how long the trip takes. This is due to the range of different routes and frequency of stops involved, depending on which company you use.
By road (personal vehicle): 4 hours. Getting from Glasgow to Manchester is quite a stretch, as the shortest route is still 218 miles. You can take motorways for almost the entire journey though, following the M74, M6 and M61.
Newcastle to Manchester travel time
While the journey to Manchester from Newcastle doesn’t look so bad on paper, it’s not actually the easiest route to follow. The vastness of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors means that transport routes are squeezed into a relatively narrow corridor. And the road route relies on the A1, which is… often not ideal.
By rail: 2 hours 35 minutes. There are plenty of direct services running daily into Manchester Victoria station.
By coach: 4 hours. Look out for regular deals that put one-way coach tickets under £10.
By road (personal vehicle): 2 hours 55 minutes. Taking the motorways all the way is a lot quicker if roadworks and traffic aren’t an issue, which they frequently are. Your only alternative is bypassing Leeds via Skipton and Harrogate, then skipping over the A1(M) and driving up via Middlesborough and Sunderland.
Bristol to Manchester travel time
Bristol might be a bit tucked away in the South West of England, but it does allow for an easy drive or (relatively) simple train journey all the way up to Manchester.
By rail: 3 hours. It is possible to get a direct train from Bristol Temple Meads to Manchester Piccadilly. However, only around 3 trains run this route per day. There are plenty of non-direct services that run via Birmingham New Street and Newport in Wales.
By coach: 4 hours 15 minutes. Expect to pay somewhere between £6.50 and £10.50.
By road (personal vehicle): 3 hours 15 minutes. It’s 177 miles between the two city centres, but passing through Birmingham almost always presents some delays from traffic and/or roadworks.
Preston to Manchester travel time
Just a hop, skip and jump away from the seaside delights of Blackpool, Preston is also well placed for a quick jaunt into Manchester.
By rail: 40 minutes. Direct trains are cheap and plentiful.
By coach: 1 hour 15 minutes. National Express runs 6 buses on this route per day.
By road (personal vehicle): 45 minutes. The M61 makes this a nice, easy drive. If it’s experiencing issues, you can head down to Manchester via the M65 and M66 around Blackburn, or take the M6 south and then the M62 into the city.
Belfast to Manchester travel time
If you don’t want to fly, it’s quite a journey to get over to Manchester from Belfast, but it’s doable. You can take direct ferry services from Belfast to Liverpool in an 8-hour crossing. Then it’s a short drive or train ride to Manchester. Alternatively, there are faster ferry crossings to be had via Dublin to Holyhead in Anglesey, Wales.
By rail: 11 hours. You’re going to need to make a lot of changes if you’re not taking a direct ferry between Belfast and Liverpool.
By coach: 10 hours. With a journey of this length, there are a lot of variables in terms of stops and breaks. Check your chosen company’s itinerary carefully before booking.
By road (personal vehicle): 8 hours. You can drive down to Dublin and take the ferry to Holyhead. From there it’s a pleasant drive through Anglesey and North Wales before hitting the M56.
Edinburgh to Manchester travel time
As cultural hubs of Scotland and Northern England respectively, there’s a lot of traffic between Edinburgh and Manchester.
By rail: 3 hours 50 minutes. You can get from Edinburgh (Waverley) to Manchester Piccadilly or Victoria with just one change. However, it’s also possible to take a direct TransPennine service that takes around 3 hours and 4 minutes.
By coach: 5 hours. Expect to have a lot of stops on the way for most coach companies.
By road (personal vehicle): 4 hours 10 minutes. Despite the distance, the A74(M), M6 and M61 provide a very direct and simple route down to Manchester.
Leicester to Manchester travel time
If you want to get to Manchester, Leicester is not a great place to start from. Whether you’re going by rail or road, you have to detour significantly to get around the Peak District.
By rail: 3 hours 20 minutes. Since there’s no direct line from Leicester to Manchester, you need to go via Birmingham or Sheffield. This makes it a much longer journey than the 74-mile distance would suggest.
By coach: 2 hours 50 minutes. This is a popular coach route that can be done in as little as 2 hours 20 minutes, depending on stops.
By road (personal vehicle): 2 hours 20 minutes. Taking the M1 up past Nottingham and around Sheffield is a simple, direct route, but often invites traffic delays.
Bolton to Manchester travel time
As part of Greater Manchester, Bolton is easy to get to and from. Well connected within the regional transport network, day trips and commuting between the two spots are a breeze.
By rail: 25 minutes. There’s a direct National Rail service into Manchester Piccadilly. Around 50 trains run per day.
By coach: 30 minutes. There are direct coaches available and multiple companies run between 5-10 services per day.
By road (personal vehicle): 26 minutes. It’s almost as fast to drive into Manchester from Bolton as it is to take a train. The motorway and A-road routes are reliable, with alternative options if there’s traffic or road closures.
Bradford to Manchester travel time
Like nearby Leeds, Bradford has popular and long-standing links to Manchester for work and play.
By rail: 1 hour. You have options to get into Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly, with plenty of services taking less than an hour.
By coach: 1 hour. National Express runs direct services into Manchester from Bradford for £3.40.
By road (personal vehicle): 52 minutes. You can reliably expect to get into Manchester from Bradford in under an hour. You just jump on the M62 and it takes you all the way there.
Blackpool to Manchester travel time
Despite how tucked away Blackpool is, sitting on the Irish Sea coast, it’s still incredibly well connected. For those who want to exchange seaside thrills for big-city adventures, it’s an easy journey.
By rail: 1 hour 15 minutes. Direct trains from Blackpool North get you into Manchester Piccadilly.
By coach: 1 hour 25 minutes. Direct coaches are roughly as quick as driving yourself. On average you’ll pay around £6.
By road (personal vehicle): 1 hour 10 minutes. The whole 51-mile route is practically all motorways. Take the M55, then the M6 and M61 into Manchester. You can also loop round by following the M6 southbound and taking the M62.
Derby to Manchester travel time
Like Nottingham and Leicester, Derby has an issue when it comes to connecting to Manchester. Do you go round the Peak District via Stoke-on-Trent or Sheffield? Or straight through it using slower but shorter A roads? Neither is ideal.
By rail: 3 hours. You’ll have to connect via Birmingham, Sheffield or even more complicated routes involving Tamworth and Crewe.
By coach: 2 hours 20 minutes. There are reliable Megabus, Flixbus and National Express services to choose from.
By road (personal vehicle): 1 hour 45 minutes. If traffic flows are good, take the A50 past Stoke and on to the M6. Otherwise, cut directly through the Peak District via Buxton using the A515 and A6.
Cardiff to Manchester travel time
The Welsh capital city is some distance from Manchester. Thankfully, it’s a manageable journey thanks to various transport infrastructure upgrades on key road and rail links.
By rail: 3 hours 15 minutes. There are plenty of direct services into Manchester Piccadilly, with around 15 trains running per day.
By coach: 5 hours. Most companies’ routes involve a lot of stops in both Wales and England.
By road (personal vehicle): 3 hours 30 minutes. The M4 takes you over the Second Severn Crossing into England. Then the M5 and M6 get you up to Manchester. Alternatively, you can drive through Wales and link up the M5 via the M50.
Chester to Manchester travel time
This smart, historic Roman town is a prime spot for families and those who want a calmer, quieter life. Its easy transport links to Manchester are an added convenience.
By rail: 1 hour 5 minutes. There are direct services into both Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria.
By coach: 1 hour 20 minutes. It’s possible to get direct fast buses that get you to Manchester in around 45 minutes.
By road (personal vehicle): 50 minutes. Jump on the M56 and follow it all the way to Manchester.
Warrington to Manchester travel time
Warrington is near equidistant between Liverpool and Manchester, making it ideal for visiting either city.
By rail: 30 minutes. Well over 100 trains run between Warrington and Manchester per day.
By coach: 1 hour. Despite the short distance, coach routes tend to be long, convoluted and susceptible to traffic.
By road (personal vehicle): 30 minutes. Slip onto the M62, or the A580 if the motorway is clogged.
We hope that this pretty comprehensive list of travel times to Manchester from towns and cities far and wide is useful. Wherever you start from, enjoy arriving into one of North West England’s leading cities. We hope you have a wonderful time in Manchester.
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