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40 years of show business | NEC history
It’s fair to say a lot has changed since HM The Queen officially opened the NEC in 1976. We’ve grown significantly in size and reputation for starters, to become the UK’s number one venue of choice for organisers, exhibitors and visitors. We originally had seven exhibition halls - today we have 20. Not to mention 34 conference suites and a host of additional outdoor spaces
The NEC is where brands are born, products are launched and networks are made. Welcoming around 2.1 million visitors each year, the venue hosts over 140 diverse trade and consumer shows and more than 400 live events and conferences.
The venue team is dedicated to putting on great events. In addition to recurring events such as Spring Fair, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Gardeners’ World and Clothes Show Live, the NEC also welcomes the likes of Range Rover – who launched their Range Rover Evoque at the venue - Severn Trent, BskyB, Sainsbury’s and Royal Mail for everything from launch events and TV shows, to product engagement activity and conferences.
At the NEC we put the live into life, creating unforgettable live experiences!
Easy to get to
Location is one of our many strong points and we really couldn’t be better placed – we have a physical connection to Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Railway Station, meaning you don’t even have to step outside to reach us! If you prefer to drive, we’re just minutes off the motorway and within a three hour drive time of almost 75 per cent of the UK’s population. On site, we have 16,000 car parking spaces, so we’re well equipped to accommodate you all!
All the food and drink options you’d need
In addition to great events, the NEC offers visitors fantastic facilities on site. Award-winning caterer Amadeus provides everything from 200-seater cafes to quick-snack bars, while there are also well-known outlets like Starbucks, JD Wetherspoons and Jimmy Spices to choose from.
Looking for flexible space?
The NEC occupies a 650-acre site which offers unrivalled flexibility across more than 186,000sqm of covered exhibition space through 20 interconnecting halls. We’ve also got 34 dedicated conference rooms, offering space for 20 to 720 delegates! In addition, the NEC now provides free visitor Wi-Fi in all halls (excluding hall 16), all conference suites, organiser’s offices, in-hall catering outlets and the Bridgelink.