|Journey time||From 2h 3m|
|Distance||163 miles (262 km)|
|Frequency||88 trains per day|
|Changes||Direct trains available|
|Train operators||Avanti West Coast|
Direct trains run from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly every 20m and average journey times are around 2h 24m. There's an additional option once an hour to change at Warrington Bank Quay, which adds around 20m to the journey time. Direct trains are run by Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains), and indirect services (via Warrington Bank Quay) are run by Transport for Wales.
All Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains) offer WiFi, power sockets (although only for seats with tables in Standard Class), you'll also find an onboard shop selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, sandwiches, snacks, newspapers, and magazines. Transport for Wales, (formerly Arriva Trains Wales) also offers a range of drinks and snacks on their trains.
*Information correct at time of writing (August 2020). May be subject to change.
The average journey time by train between London and Manchester is 2 hours and 35 minutes, with around 88 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
The fastest journey time by train from London to Manchester is 2 hours and 3 minutes.
Train ticket prices from London to Manchester can start from as little as £23.50 when you book in advance. The cost of tickets can vary depending on the time of day, route and class you book and are usually more expensive if you book on the day.
Yes, it is possible to travel from London to Manchester without having to change trains. There are 88 direct trains from London to Manchester each day. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from London to Manchester leaves at 05:16. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from London to Manchester leaves at 23:34. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
Trains travelling from London to Manchester cover a distance of around 163 miles (262 km) during the journey.
If you catch this train more than 3 times per week, you could save money with a Season Ticket. With annual, monthly and weekly options available, find out if a season ticket for London to Manchester is right for you.
National Railcards offer a 1/3 off eligible train tickets in the UK and can be a great investment if you travel a few times or more in a year. Find out how you can save with a National Railcard here.
Download our app to find split tickets — courtesy of SplitSave, our handy feature which 'splits' your train tickets where possible to find you a better deal. Learn more about the clever tech behind split tickets, and how to spot SplitSave discounts in our app.
For more money-saving tips on UK and European train travel, read our cheap train tickets guide.
The journey to which this review refers is that on a ‘Pendolino’ train from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, calling at Crewe, Wilmslow and Stockport.
Euston is not the most inspiring of the London terminals, having lost most of its character during redevelopment work in the mid-1960s including the demolition of the Arch and the Great Hall, to accommodate the electrified West Coast Main Line, and the revamped station still attracts criticism over its architecture.
However, one thing it does have in its favour is the Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains) First Class Lounge. It can be found upstairs above the food court and is the place where the First Class experience begins.
The First Class Lounge at Euston
All that is needed to make use of the lounge for up to two hours before the outward journey is to present a valid Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains) First Class ticket. In the Lounge are comfortable chairs and tables at which to enjoy all the free hot and cold drinks, pastries, muffins, cookies and fresh fruit. Alcoholic drinks are available at certain times during the day. There are also free newspapers and free Wi-Fi. Departure information is readily available via screens. The toilet facilities provided were also very clean and free to use.
All in all, a much nicer way to spend the time waiting for the train!
Boarding the famous Pendolino train
When boarding a First Class coach, the difference from Standard Class is immediately apparent. There are no ‘airline’ style seats and instead of having pairs of seats on each side of the central aisle, some being at tables, First Class has a single line of seats on one side and pairs of seats on the other, each seat being at a table. Every window seat has a plug point for iPhones, laptops and tablets. The seats are wider and generally more comfortable than those in Standard Class, with more legroom.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is provided in First Class.
The on-board service
All food and drink were served at the table by staff who were friendly, helpful and efficient. Unlike the current vogue for plastic cutlery during air travel, real stainless steel is the material of choice for Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains).
Within ten minutes of leaving Euston, fresh coffee and tea were brought round, served in china mugs, followed by fresh fruit juice and cereals. Almost immediately orders were taken for breakfast itself, this being a morning journey. A good choice of food was on offer, ranging from a “Full English”, through various types of egg dishes and rolls, to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
Also offered were toast, marmalade and jams and fresh fruit.
Breakfast was very tasty and was served piping hot. As an additional plus free bottles of water were available as well
In summary, although travelling First Class is more expensive, as an experience, it is not to be missed, even if just as a ‘one-off’.
The train journey itself
The journey from Euston to Manchester takes just over 2 hours. It is not one of Britain’s most scenic trips, but for train buffs, watch out at Crewe for the Heritage Centre on the left-hand side just after Crewe North Junction signal box. The original Advanced Passenger Train can be seen in the sidings.
Brian's top tip:
Watch out for the seat sales held by most of the train operators, where tickets can be booked in advance at a good price reduction. Sometimes they will only charge £10 to upgrade to First Class.