National Exhibition Centre

Last updated

National Exhibition Centre
National Exhibition Centre main entrance.jpg
The main entrance to the NEC (July 2015)
LocationNational Exhibition Centre
B40 1NT, West Midlands
Coordinates 52°27′12″N1°43′10″W / 52.45333°N 1.71944°W / 52.45333; -1.71944 Coordinates: 52°27′12″N1°43′10″W / 52.45333°N 1.71944°W / 52.45333; -1.71944
Owner The Blackstone Group (since 2018) [1]
OperatorNEC Group International
(Lloyds Banking Group)
Built16 February 1973 to 1976
  • Edward Mills
  • Seymour Harris
Opened2 February 1976 (1976-02-02)
Renovated2009, 2018
Expanded1980, 1989, 1993, 1998
Classroom-style seating
Meeting-room seating
Theatre seating
15,683 (Resorts World Arena)
Enclosed space
  Exhibit hall floor186,000 m2 (2,000,000 sq ft)
Parking16,500 spaces
Public transit access Birmingham International railway station

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is an exhibition centre located in Solihull, England. It is near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and is adjacent to Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International railway station. It has 20 interconnected halls, set in grounds of 611 acres (2.54 km2) making it the largest exhibition centre in the UK. It is the busiest and seventh-largest exhibition centre in Europe.

Solihull town in the West Midlands of England

Solihull is a large town in the West Midlands, England with a population of 123,187 in the 2011 Census. Historically in Warwickshire, it is a part of the West Midlands conurbation. It is the largest town in, and administrative centre of, the larger Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, which itself has a population of 209,890. Solihull is situated 7.5 miles (12.1 km) southeast of Birmingham, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Warwick and 110 miles (180 km) northwest of London.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

M42 motorway major road in England

The M42 motorway runs north east from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire to just south west of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, passing Redditch, Solihull, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and Tamworth on the way, serving the east of the Birmingham metropolitan area. The section between the M40 and junction 4 of the M6 forms – though unsigned as such – a part of Euroroute E05. Beyond junction 11 the route is continued as the A42, the junctions on this section, 12–14, are numbered like a continuation of the motorway, but the road has non-motorway status from here.


Opened by Elizabeth II in February 1976, the first event to be staged at the venue was International Spring Fair, which has returned every year since. Growing annually, the event now occupies all of the NEC's 20 halls and the Resorts World Arena.

Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.

Spring Fair, is organised by Emap connect, part of Emap Ltd. Spring Fair International is a retail trade exhibition held each February at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), near Birmingham, UK. Spring Fair International began in 1950 but was first held at the NEC in 1976 and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. 2008 visitor figures exceeded 70 000.

Resorts World Arena arena near Birmingham, England

The Resorts World Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena located at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Solihull, England. It has a capacity of 16,000 seats. The venue was built as the seventh hall of the NEC complex. After 18 months of construction, the arena opened as the "Birmingham International Arena" in December 1980 with a concert by Queen.


The NEC was originally going to be built adjacent to the M1 motorway (junction 21) near Leicester but it was turned down by Leicestershire County Council with claims that "The big shows won't move away from London." [2]

M1 motorway motorway in central England connecting London and Leeds

The M1 motorway connects London to Leeds, where it joins the A1(M) near Aberford, to connect to Newcastle. It was the first inter-urban motorway to be completed in the UK; the first motorway in the country was the Preston By-pass, which later became part of the M6.

Leicester City and unitary authority area in England

Leicester is a city and unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and close to the eastern end of the National Forest.

Leicestershire County Council British administrative authority

Leicestershire County Council is the county council for the English non-metropolitan county of Leicestershire. It was originally formed in 1889 by the Local Government Act 1888. The county is divided into 52 electoral divisions, which return a total of 55 councillors. The council is controlled by the Conservative Party. The leader of the county council is currently Nick Rushton, who was elected to the post in September 2012. The headquarters of the council is County Hall beside the A50 at Glenfield, just outside the city of Leicester in Blaby district.

In November 1971, the Secretary of State for the Environment granted outline planning approval for the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. On 16 February 1973, then Prime Minister Edward Heath travelled up from London to cut a white ribbon and initiate its construction. [3] The NEC, originally comprising 89,000 m2 of exhibition space, was opened by the Queen on 2 February 1976. The building was designed by Edward Mills.

The Secretary of State for the Environment was a UK cabinet position, responsible for the Department of the Environment (DoE). This was created by Edward Heath as a combination of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Public Building and Works on 15 October 1970. Thus it managed a mixed portfolio of issues: housing and planning, local government, public buildings, environmental protection and, initially, transport - James Callaghan gave transport its own department again in 1976. It has been asserted that during the Thatcher government the DoE led the drive towards centralism, and the undermining of local government. Particularly, the concept of 'inner cities policy', often involving centrally negotiated public-private partnerships and centrally appointed development corporations, which moved control of many urban areas to the centre, and away from their, often left-wing, local authorities. The department was based in Marsham Towers, three separate tower blocks built for the separate pre-merger ministries, in Westminster.

Edward Heath Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1970–1974)

Sir Edward Richard George Heath, often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. He was a strong supporter of the European Communities (EC), and after winning the decisive vote in the House of Commons by 336 to 244, he led the negotiations that culminated in Britain's entry into the EC on 1 January 1973. It was, says biographer John Campbell, "Heath's finest hour". Although he planned to be an innovator as Prime Minister, his government foundered on economic difficulties, including high inflation and major strikes. He became an embittered critic of Margaret Thatcher, who supplanted him as Tory leader.

Expansion of the complex

The seventh hall of the NEC complex, a multi-purpose indoor arena, opened in December 1980 as Birmingham International Arena (currently named Resorts World Arena).

Plaque commemorating the opening of the "second phase of delevopment" in 1989 NEC plaque 11y07.JPG
Plaque commemorating the opening of the "second phase of delevopment" in 1989

On 23 March 1989, the Queen opened three further halls, increasing the space to 125,000 m2. Four more halls were added in 1993, the total exhibition space increasing to 158,000 m2. Another four new halls, opened in September 1998 by Neil Kinnock, then European Commissioner for Transport, took the total space to 190,000 m2 (2,045,142 square feet). These buildings were designed by Seymour Harris.

Neil Kinnock British politician

Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock, is a Welsh Labour Party politician. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995, first for Bedwellty and then for Islwyn. He was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1983 until 1992.

European Commissioner for Transport

The Commissioner for Transport is the member of the European Commission. The current commissioner is Violeta Bulc.

The NEC is nearing completion of a five-year, £40 million venue improvement programme which has seen improvements made to everything from the car parking to signage, seating and catering. The most obvious result of this development has been the redesign of the Piazza – the central space around Halls 1 to 5, which has received a contemporary update.


NEC Atrium entrance 2 (2005) Atrium Entrance 2, National Exhibition Centre - - 81173.jpg
NEC Atrium entrance 2 (2005)
NEC Atrium entrance 3 (2007) NEC atrium entrance3 10y07.JPG
NEC Atrium entrance 3 (2007)

The NEC was home to the British International Motor Show from 1978 to 2004. It also hosts the Classic Motor Show.

Since 1991, the NEC has been the venue for the international dog show Crufts . Held over four days and using five halls as well as the Genting Arena, Crufts attracts an estimated 160,000 visitors annually. The 1991 show was also Crufts centenary year and as part of the celebrations to mark the occasion, the Guinness Book of Records gave official recognition of the event's status as the world's largest dog show, with 22,973 dogs being exhibited that year.

The NEC was the venue for the Iron Maiden live album Maiden England .

Yearly events

Young Driver

Driving for 11- to 16-year-olds with Young Driver happens regularly at weekends in the car parks. [7]

Christmas Party World

In May 2013, The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) announced it would be hosting a series of corporate Christmas parties for the first time. [8] The parties run from 8 to 21 December 2013. [9]

Davis Cup match

It was also the venue for Great Britain's Davis Cup match against Holland in 2007.

Resorts World Arena

The Resorts World Arena (previously The NEC Arena, LG Arena and Genting Arena) is part of the complex.

Car parks

An NEC Plaxton Pointer 1 bodied Dennis Dart SLF shuttle bus outside atrium entrance 2 NEC shuttle bus 10y07.JPG
An NEC Plaxton Pointer 1 bodied Dennis Dart SLF shuttle bus outside atrium entrance 2

The NEC has 29,000 car parking spaces spread around the site, with a shuttle bus service operating to and from the car parks.

From 1 April 2015 the all-day parking fee for public exhibitions is £12.00, [10] which contributes directly to the upkeep of the car parks, running of the shuttle bus service, maintenance of road surfaces and lighting and manning of the areas with traffic stewards.

NEC Group

Parent company The NEC Group also owns and operates the Arena Birmingham and ICC Birmingham, both in central Birmingham, and the Resorts World Arena, based on The NEC site. [11] In October 2018, Blackstone acquired NEC Group from Lloyds Development Capital, the private equity unit of Lloyds Banking Group. [1]

Related Research Articles

ICC Birmingham

The International Convention Centre (ICC) is a major conference venue in Birmingham, England. The centre incorporates Symphony Hall and faces Centenary Square, with another entrance leading to the canals of Birmingham. The Westside area, which includes Brindleyplace, is opposite the building on the other side of the canal. The centre is owned and operated by the NEC Group, who are also responsible for the nearby Arena Birmingham, just to the west of the complex.

Arena Birmingham Sports arena

Arena Birmingham is an indoor sporting and entertainment venue in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Arena, which is owned by parent company, the NEC Group, is situated in central Birmingham. When it was opened in 1991, it was the largest indoor arena in the UK.

Singapore Expo

The Singapore Expo is the largest convention and exhibition venue in Singapore with over 100,000 square metres of column-free, indoor space spread over 10 halls. Built and managed by PSA International, and funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the S$220 million building was built in the east of Singapore in the town of Tampines. Currently managed by Temasek Holdings, Singex Venues Private Limited, the government-owned building was designed by Cox Richardson Rayner.

SEC Centre Exhibition centre

The SEC Centre is Scotland's largest exhibition centre, located in the district of Finnieston on the north bank of the River Clyde, Glasgow. It is one of the three main venues within the Scottish Event Campus.

Cobo Center convention center in Detroit, Michigan

Cobo Center, formerly Cobo Hall, is a convention center along Jefferson and Washington avenues in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It was named after Albert Cobo, who served as mayor of Detroit from 1950 to 1957.


The AsiaWorld–Expo is one of the two major convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong along with Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It was opened on 21 December 2005 by Donald Tsang, the second Chief executive of Hong Kong, and it is operated by AsiaWorld–Expo Management Limited. It is located on Chek Lap Kok island, next to the Hong Kong International Airport.

Earls Court Exhibition Centre exhibition, conference and events venue in London, England

Earls Court Exhibition Centre was an internationally renowned exhibition and events venue in London, considered iconic by many visitors, that originally opened in 1887. A permanent structure in art moderne style was not built until 1935–37. Its heritage listing was refused after it was acquired by developers and demolition was completed, in 2017.

Makuhari Messe Japanese convention center in the Mihama-ku of Chiba city

Makuhari Messe (幕張メッセ) is a Japanese convention center outside Tokyo, located in the Mihama-ku ward of Chiba city, in the northwest corner of Chiba prefecture. Designed by Fumihiko Maki, it is easily accessible by Tokyo's commuter rail system. Makuhari is the name of the area, and Messe is a German language word meaning "trade fair".

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre convention center in Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) is a convention centre in Brisbane, Australia. It is located in South Brisbane and occupies most of the block formed by Grey Street, Melbourne Street, Merivale Street, and Glenelg Street. The centre is owned by South Bank Corporation and managed by AEG Ogden.

ASB Baypark Stadium

Trustpower Baypark Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. It is currently used for dirt track Speedway and jetsprints events during summer, and various other events throughout the year.

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) owns and operates the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, which is the largest exhibition venue in the Middle East. It is part of an international venue development and business management company overseeing the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ExCeL London, the Al Ain Convention Centre, Capital Gate, and Capital Centre. It can also be referred to as ADNEC Group.

Winter Gardens, Blackpool entertainment complex in Blackpool, England

The Winter Gardens is a large entertainment complex in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, which includes a theatre, ballroom and conference facilities. Opened in 1878, it is a Grade II* listed building, operated by Blackpool Entertainment Company Limited on behalf of Blackpool Council, which purchased the property from Leisure Parcs Ltd as part of a £40 million deal in 2010.


Multiplay (UK) Ltd is a UK-based family company which was incorporated in May 1997 by Craig Fletcher. They have been running gaming events for over a decade. They have achieved mass exposure as the producers of the Insomnia Gaming Festival, the UK's largest video games festival, and as the Events Producer behind Minecon - the Minecraft convention held in Disneyland Paris. Multiplay is also known as a worldwide Games Service Provider. Their servers host players from 195 different countries and hold a PCU of over 25,000. The company is owned by Game Digital plc.

Flanders Expo

Flanders Expo is a multi-purpose arena and convention center located in Ghent, Flanders, Belgium. Flanders Expo was founded in 1986 and officially opened in May 1987 with the third edition of Flanders Technology International. It serves as a venue to host a large variety of events including concerts, exhibitions, trade fairs and sports. The first CEO was Marc Mortier from 1986 till 2002.

Baku Expo Center

Baku Expo Center - is an international standard, purpose-built events venue. It is located in H.Aliyev ave., Surakhany district, Baku, Azerbaijan. It provides over 30,000m² of exhibition space and includes facilities for hosting conferences, meetings, seminars and presentations. It was opened in June 1, 2010 with "Caspian Oil and Gas 2010" exhibition. It is the second largest Expo center after Moscow Expo Center among the CIS countries.


EventCity is a large 28,000 sq metre exhibition and conference venue on Barton Dock Road close to the Intu Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester, England. It opened in 2011 and is the largest exhibition space in the North of England, with over 28,000 square metres (300,000 sq ft) of space in four halls.

The Ticket Factory

The Ticket Factory, previously known as the NEC Box Office, is a primary ticket sales and distribution company based in the United Kingdom. The Ticket Factory was launched in 2007 and is a trading division of The National Exhibition Centre Ltd. The Ticket Factory head office and contact centre is based at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

Resorts World Birmingham is an entertainment complex in Birmingham, England. It has the largest casino in the United Kingdom, shopping mall, restaurants and cinemas. Construction began in February 2013 and finished in autumn 2015. The Casino is owned by Genting.


  1. 1 2 Rachel Dunachie (12 October 2018). "Blackstone acquires the NEC Group". (Press release). Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  2. Brown, Graeme (16 January 2015). "Ten top facts about the NEC". birminghammail. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  3. "Assessing the future: your qualification, our regulation". GOV.UK. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. "The Education Show - NEC Birmingham, 16-18 March 2017 - The recognised education & learning community platform across the UK".
  5. "Makers Central". National Exhibition Centre. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  6. "Warley Exhibition Home".
  7. "Young Driver - Junior driving lessons for under 17s / teenagers".
  8. The NEC and Vivid Experience to launch the UK's largest Christmas party venue
  9. "Amazing Christmas Parties in Birmingham". Birmingham Christmas Parties.
  10. "Car Parking".
  11. Griffin, Jon (14 January 2015). "NEC Group Set to Be Sold for Price Tag Up to PS300m". Birmingham Mail  via  HighBeam (subscription required). Archived from the original on 31 March 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2017.