The UK is full of fantastic locations that many of us are discovering or rediscovering. During 2021, far more of us enjoyed a British staycation rather than going overseas – and as many of the top spots are close to big cities, it’s easy to see why. Take Birmingham, for example, right at the heart of the West Midlands, there are plenty of exciting places to explore locally. To inspire your next trip, we’ve put together a guide on some of the best day trips in the area, under a two-hour drive from England’s ‘second city’.
Visit the Somerset Coast
If you fancy a day by the seaside, the closest beaches are just over 100 miles down in the South West from Birmingham. The county of Somerset is famous for its coastline; it’s the perfect place for soaking up the sun, strolling along the beach or the chance to visit some traditional towns.
The most iconic seaside town in Somerset is the popular tourist destination of Weston-Super-Mare. It has a vast, sandy beach that’s accompanied by a pier over 350 metres long and features a promenade and pavilion.
For a touch of seaside serenity, head north of Weston-Super-Mare to Middle Hope beach. This shingle cove is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which makes it perfect for a quiet picnic and gives you the chance to spot some nature.
For beach walks, Sand Bay offers a fine stretch of coastline to enjoy. It’s dog-friendly, so if you’ve brought your four-legged friend with you, they’re welcome here. While enjoying the dunes, look out across the Bristol Channel and you’ll be able to see the south coast of Wales.
Explore the Welsh Border
By heading southwest from Birmingham, you can explore some of the countryside along the English-Welsh border.
Pack your walking boots or load your bike onto a cycle carrier for a fun excursion to Worcestershire’s Malvern Hills, a part of England that’s been awarded Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) status. Clocking in at under 40 miles from Birmingham, you can make the most of its rugged landscape, historic landmarks and plentiful wildlife.
Continuing 20 miles further south, you’ll reach the River Wye Valley, another stunning AONB. This glorious strip of green space sits either side of the Wye, which is the fourth longest river in the UK. It’s a waterway that’s famous for its fishing, so make sure to take your rod. Travelling the Wye by canoe is also one of the best ways to get around and gives you the chance to see an otter or bird of prey.
Go Urban From The West Midlands
There are three major historic urban areas under two hours’ drive from the West Midlands, giving you a great chance to explore and discover some of the UK’s culture:
By driving just over 30 miles south down the M6 from Birmingham, you’ll arrive in Stratford-upon-Avon, a place that feels like another world. This Tudor market town was the birthplace of William Shakespeare and you can enjoy a performance of the famous playwright’s shows by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
Much of the original architecture remains in place, making Stratford-upon-Avon a lovely place to stroll around. And with a whole host of cafes, independent stores and green spaces, it’s an ideal destination for a daytrip from Birmingham.
By continuing a further 50 miles along the M40, you’ll reach the historic university city of Oxford. This cultural hotspot offers something for everyone and is a part of the UK that has to be ticked off your list.
You can choose to take a walking tour of the colleges and head into one of the university’s many museums. Stroll along the Thames in the sunshine, explore the cobbled streets, or spend some time in the Botanic Garden, which is the oldest of its kind in Britain. With plenty of shops, it’s perfect for a bit of retail therapy, which you can finish off with a bite to eat in one of Oxford’s many tea rooms, restaurants and traditional pubs.
If you head around 100 miles down the M5 from Birmingham, you reach the beautiful Roman spa city of Bath. This west country gem is a world heritage site and is well known for its landmark buildings, such as Bath Abbey and the immaculate Georgian architecture that lines its streets.
The original Roman baths are still standing and the pool is still full of naturally heated water from the spring beneath the city. Experience it the Roman way with a visit to the Therma Bath Spa for a pampering session. The wander around Alexandra Park and soak up the city views. You can get there by car, or by hiking up a winding path – the aerial, panoramic views of the city are a great reward.
A Daytrip To The Cotswolds
Spreading over five counties and more than 750 square miles, the Cotswolds is the largest AONB in the UK. This plentiful landscape of hills, river valleys and picturesque villages is 70 miles from Birmingham and offers a wide range of day trip ideas.
If hiking’s your thing, take on a stretch of the 102 mile Cotswold Way. Or, to scale the highest peak in the park, drive to Cleeve Common in the Gloucestershire part of the region. Here you can climb Cleeve Hill, which stands at 330 metres.
Immerse yourself in local culture by paying a visit to the 18th century Blenheim Palace, which sits on the outskirts of the Oxfordshire market town of Woodstock. This country house has an immaculate interior which is combined with extensive landscaped gardens and parkland, which were designed by the iconic architect Capability Brown.
If you’re looking for some car accessories before you go on a driving daytrip, head to Euro Car Parts. We stock over 130,000 car parts from industry-leading brands, suitable for all makes and models, so you’ll always find what you’re looking for. Plus, we provide you with the choice of our free home delivery service and our same day click and collect, taking the hassle out the preparation process.