Thousands of travelers make the 202-mile, Manchester-to-London journey every day. The city is rapidly becoming the capital of the North of England. It has a lively music scene, more than a hundred thousand university students at four different universities and it's the headquarters of the BBC sports establishment. It is also home to two major Premiership Football Teams, Manchester United and Manchester City.
How to Get to Manchester
Virgin Trains leave for Manchester Piccadilly Station from London Euston Station every 20 minutes throughout the day. The journey takes about 2 hours and 10 minutes with round trip, off-peak advance fares starting at £54 when purchased in advance as 2 one-way off-peak tickets (These fares were checked in July 2019, but fares change frequently so it's best to check the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner closer to the time you want to travel.)
UK Travel Tips The cheapest train fares are those designated "Advance" - how far in advance depends upon the journey as most rail companies offer advance fares on a first come first served basis. Advance tickets are usually sold as one-way or "single" tickets. Whether or not you buy advance tickets, always compare the "single" ticket price to the round trip or "return" price as it is often cheaper to buy two single tickets rather than one round trip ticket.
Make sure you check the schedules carefully. Because so many business travelers go to Manchester for the day, the earliest trains attract the highest peak fares. It can mean the difference between paying £27 or £175 each way. Later trains are cheaper.
There are frequent coach trips between London Victoria Coach Station and Manchester Central Coach Station throughout the day. The journey takes from 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours with round trip fares starting at about £15 when purchased in advance as two 1-way tickets. Bus services can be booked online. There is usually a booking fee of £1.
Because of the length of this bus journey, going there and back on the same day by bus or coach is not really practical. If this is your chosen mode of travel, an overnight stay is probably the best idea.
UK Travel Tip National Express offers a limited number of "funfare" promotional tickets that are very cheap. These can only be purchased on line and they are usually posted on the website a month to a few weeks before the trip.To find them, visit the National Express Fare Finder. Use it to find the lowest fares and exclusive online offers. The page has an online calendar that shows different fares for different days of the week. If you can be flexible with your travel plans you can save a lot of money.
Manchester is 202 miles northwest of London via the M1, M6, and M56 motorways. It takes about 4 hours to drive. Because of almost continual roadworks on the M1, approaches to Manchester can become very congested during the rush hour and during random, unpredictable times of day. This can really add hours of bumper to bumper traffic to a trip. And once you arrive in the city, parking can be expensive. Keep in mind too that gasoline, called petrol in the UK, is sold by the liter (a little more than a quart) and the price can be between $1.50 and $2 a quart.
Because so many business people travel between London and Manchester, travel by air may be a practical alternative. British Airways flies to Manchester Airport from London Heathrow throughout the day. The flight takes about an hour and, in July 2019, flights were available starting at about £150 round-trip.