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Top expo venues in the UK

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The United Kingdom is home to many top-notch exhibition venues and event spaces that host shows and attract visitors worldwide. Whether you’re a business professional looking to attend a trade show or want to explore the latest and greatest in art, technology, music venues and more, many United Kingdom venues offer something for everyone.

The List

The NEC, Birmingham

  1. The Olympia, London
  2. The ExCel Centre, London
  3. Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow
  4. Manchester Central Convention Centre, Manchester
  5. Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

Here’s a closer look at some of the country’s top venues and best exhibition and conference spaces, along with a list of nearby attractions and transport links to help you plan your trip.

The NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham:

Located in the heart of England, the NEC is one of the largest exhibition centres and venues in the UK, with over 21 exhibition halls and more than 200 conference and meeting rooms. The venue hosts a wide range of events, including trade shows, consumer exhibitions, and sporting events. Some of the popular events held at the NEC include the Classic Motor Show, the BBC Good Food Show, and the Ideal Home Show.

Attractions near the NEC:

  • Cadbury World: Learn about the story of Cadbury’s chocolate, take a tour of the factory, and learn about the impact the chocolate factory had in the city of Birmingham.
  • National Sea Life Centre: Home to over 2,000 creatures, including sharks, rays, and turtles.
  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Featuring art and natural history exhibits.

Transport links:

  • The NEC is easily accessible by car, with ample parking available on-site.
  • The venue is also well-connected by public transport, with regular trains running from Birmingham New Street station and the NEC being served by several bus routes. It’s accessible from London, although you will need to allow plenty of time for the train and changes, about 4 hours should do it.

The Olympia London, in the city:

Located in the heart of London, the Olympia is a stunning exhibition and conference centre hosting events since 1886. The venue has two main exhibition halls, meeting rooms and a theatre. The Olympia has many events, including trade shows, consumer exhibitions, and live entertainment. Some popular events held at the Olympia include the Spirit of Christmas Fair, the London Book Fair, and the London International Horse Show.

Attractions near the Olympia:

  • Kensington Palace: The official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, featuring beautiful gardens and exhibits on the royal family.
  • Natural History Museum: Home to over 80 million specimens, including dinosaurs, minerals, and taxidermy.
  • Science Museum: Featuring interactive exhibits on science, technology, and engineering.

Transport links:

  • The Olympia is easily accessible by public transport, with the venue being a short walk from both Kensington (Olympia) and Shepherd’s Bush stations.
  • The venue is also well-served by bus routes, with several buses stopping nearby.

ExCel London, Located in the city:

ExCel London is a state-of-the-art exhibition and conference centre in the Docklands area of London and the best venue in town. Regarding London, it’s the perfect venue and features over 100 meeting rooms, large exhibition halls, and an arena.

The ExCel hosts a wide range of events, some of which are free to visit, including trade shows, consumer exhibitions, and sporting events. The centre lends itself to more B2B and B2C expos rather than live music, live performances, concerts or special occasions. Some popular expos and trade shows held at ExCel include ICE London, WTM London, The London Boat Show, London Comic Con, and the London Classic Car Show.

Attractions near ExCel:

  • Tower Bridge: An iconic symbol of London, featuring exhibitions of the bridge and breathtaking views from the top. Worth a visit when you’re in England.
  • Tower of London: If you’re visiting Tower Bridge, you should see the Tower of London. A historic castle that was once a royal palace and prison, featuring exhibits on the court.
  • The Museum of London Docklands offers a unique and captivating look into the life of London’s port and the city’s relationship with the River Thames. Situated in the heart of the historic docks, the museum features interactive exhibits, multimedia displays, and rare artefacts that bring to life the stories of the people and industries that shaped this vibrant area.
  • From the bustling trade and commerce of the 18th and 19th centuries to the development of the modern docks, visitors can discover the rich history of the city’s waterfront and the impact it had on London’s growth and prosperity. Whether you’re a historical buff or just looking for an engaging and educational day out, the Museum of London Docklands is not to be missed.

Transport links:

ExCel is easily accessible by public transport, with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and London Underground’s Jubilee Line serving the venue.

Scottish Event Campus (SEC)

Remember this incredible venue. Situated in Glasgow, the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) is a multi-purpose exhibition and conference centre that hosts various events throughout the year.

From club nights in the great hall to trade shows, guests are guaranteed to have a great time at one of the world’s best venues. The SEC has various facilities, including a concert arena, a theatre, and several meeting and conference rooms.

Some notable events that have taken place at the SEC include the Scottish Homebuilding and Renovating Show, the Scottish Wedding Show, and the Scottish Caravan, Motorhome & Holiday Home Show.

Attractions near SEC:

  • The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, a famous art museum, is just a short distance away.
  • The Riverside Museum, dedicated to transport and travel, is also within easy reach.

Transport links:

The SEC is easily accessible by public transport, with both Glasgow Central and Queen Street train stations within walking distance of the venue.

Manchester Central Convention Centre

Located in Manchester, the Manchester Central Convention Centre is a large exhibition and conference centre that hosts various events throughout the year. Some notable events that have taken place at the Manchester Central Convention Centre include the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, the Manchester Science Festival, and the Manchester Christmas Markets.

In addition to exhibitions, the Manchester Central Convention Centre also offers a variety of other amenities, including a 4-star hotel, a range of dining options, and a multi-storey car park.

Attractions near Manchester Central Convention Centre:

  • The Manchester Art Gallery, a famous art museum, is just a short distance away.
  • The Manchester Museum, dedicated to natural history and anthropology, is also within easy reach.

Transport links:

The Manchester Central Convention Centre is easily accessible by public transport, with Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road train stations within walking distance of the venue.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the UK boasts some of the most world-class and versatile venues, catering to every type of exhibition, conference, and event. Whether it’s a large-scale corporate gathering or a niche industry conference, the top events venue in the UK offers state-of-the-art facilities, unique spaces, and professional services to make your event a success.

Working with a vetted event management company and exhibition stand builder is crucial to maximising your event. These professionals have extensive experience and expertise in creating unforgettable events that leave a lasting impression on your attendees. They offer a wide range of services, from venue sourcing and event planning to stand design and build, ensuring that every aspect of your event runs smoothly and successfully.

With so much on offer, there’s no better place to host your next exhibition or conference than in the UK. So why wait? Start planning your next event today, and experience the fun at one of the country’s most vibrant and exciting exhibition destinations.

Patrick Wells
Founder & CEO, Booth Exhibits™
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