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London to Manchester


We are headed up to Manchester from London and have looked at prices for this, Rail seems very expensive as we have four adults and are thinking of either the bus or hire a car, any thoughts would be appreciated. We are leaning towards driving and if so by map it takes about 4 hours, if we did this should we go any particular way to see some sights, stop for lunch etc?

Any one that could give us some information or insight would be most welcomed.

Thanks in advance.


Posted by
1469 posts

There are several different ways to go. M roads for speed. A and B roads for towns and scenery. My personal favorite would be a stop at Chatsworth near Derby. You would have to start early to allow enough time to spend there. If I remember they do have a café or tearoom. Or you could go via a stop in Oxford...but parking is scarce. Why not rent a car for the day. We are middle age and it was not that hard to drive ourselves. You will be sad that you didn't allow a couple or more days for this drive as this area is the heart of England.

Posted by
2560 posts

The train is by far the easiet way to travel. Before ruling the train out are you looking at a date more than 12 weeks away?

Buy the right ticket and the train may be afforable. When are you travelling?

Posted by
20 posts

Hi ramblin on we are heading from London to Manchester on December 9, along way off for buying train tickets, we are thinking it would be a nice journey where we can stop somewhere for lunch. Didn't think the train would be so much, it's cheap to hire a car and I imagine you'll see alot more as well.

Go to and look at a date about 10-12 weeks from now for the price of London to Manchester tickets. Look for those that say Advance - these are the cheapest you can get, but only available within about 12 weeks of your journey and need to be used on the exact train. Does that help at all?

London to Manchester by train = about two hours

London to Manchester by car = four hours is ambitious.

Posted by
5427 posts

What about flying? A quick search found return flights from LHR to Manchester on the 9th December (returning a week later) for £87 each.

Of course it depends on how quick you want to get there and whether you want to visit anywhere en route. Personally I'd drive over flying if only for the hassle of dealing with the airport.

Posted by
2560 posts

Likely from £22 per person, but with four travelling together the price will reduce further with a groupsave discount.

Take the train.

Posted by
33324 posts

If you try to drive in December you should realize that the weather is often some of the worst of the year, and the day won't be really light - but with low light - until around 9 am and dark again by around 3. If it is overcast or raining you will have your headlights on all day. You may or may not see a lot from the car unless you stop somewhere.

The train will keep you warm and dry.

Posted by
1072 posts

" Rail seems very expensive"

As others have said, tickets booked well in advance are a lot cheaper.

Posted by
5383 posts

The cheapest rail fare currently filed for London to Manchester is £17 with Virgin West Coast. Their version of Groupsave would slice a further 20% off this.

Coach prices are much the same as this but note that only a few go directly to Manchester without stopping elsewhere. Some can be an extra two hours taking in stops at various destinations in the East or West Midlands enroute.

Posted by
2492 posts

I just checked the ticket price for several weeks ahead of now and the price is £22 one way - as long as you pre-book the desired train well ahead. (The prices increase as the time of travel approaches). Prices will also increase at your time of travel due to high demand for pre Christmas travel. Nab your desired date about 11 to 12 weeks ahead, and you should be able to get prices at £22 or near enough.

The drive to Manchester from London is pretty boring and on some very busy motorways (interstates). Pre -Book with the train company = EUS > MAN
(All trains on this route are Pendolinos = 125mph electric trains that tilt a bit on the corners to maintain speed. It takes a few minutes over 2 hours).

Posted by
20 posts

thanks guys, might look at pre booking train tickets and sit back and enjoy.