National Exhibition Centre



The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is an exhibition centre located in Marston Green, Solihull, West Midlands,
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separated from continental Europe by ...
. It is near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and is adjacent to
Birmingham Airport Birmingham Airport , formerly ''Birmingham International Airport'', is an international airport located east-southeast of Birmingham city centre, west-northwest of Coventry slightly north of Bickenhill village, in the Metropolitan Borou ...
and Birmingham International railway station. It was opened by
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during ...
in 1976.


The NEC was originally going to be built adjacent to the M1 motorway (junction 21) near
Leicester Leicester ( ) is a city, unitary authority and the county town of Leicestershire in the East Midlands of England. It is the largest settlement in the East Midlands. The city lies on the River Soar and close to the eastern end of the National ...
but it was turned down by
Leicestershire County Council 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 t ...
with claims that "The big shows won't move away from London". The building was designed by Edward Mills. In November 1971, the
Secretary of State for the Environment 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 T ...
granted outline planning approval for the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. On 16 February 1973, then Prime Minister
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), 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. Heath a ...
travelled up from London to cut a white ribbon and initiate its construction. The NEC was opened by
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during ...
on 2 February 1976.

Expansion of the complex

The seventh hall of the NEC complex, a multi-purpose indoor arena named the Birmingham International Arena (currently branded Resorts World Arena), opened in December 1980. On 23 March 1989, Queen Elizabeth II opened three new halls. Four more halls were added in 1993, and another four new halls, designed by Seymour Harris and built by John Laing, were completed in January 1998. A five-year, £40 million venue improvement programme which saw improvements made to everything from the car parking to signage, seating and catering was carried out between 2006 and 2011.


The NEC has 20 interconnected halls covering of floor space. Regular exhibitions in the past have included the British International Motor Show and the international dog show '' Crufts''. The NEC has 16,500 parking spaces spread around the site, with a shuttle bus service operating to and from the car parks. In 2020 the all-day parking fee for public exhibitions was £16.00.

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. Birmingham City Council placed the NEC Group up for sale in 2014. After short-listing three contenders to purchase the company, the sale to Lloyds Development Capital, the private equity unit of Lloyds Banking Group, was completed in January 2015 for £307 million. In October 2018, Blackstone acquired NEC Group from Lloyds Development Capital, paying around £800 million for the group.

Emergency hospital

From early April 2020 the NEC housed NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham, an emergency hospital scheduled to open on 10 April, and receive its first patients on 12 April, as part of a network of NHS Nightingale Hospitals in response to the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
. On 1 April 2021 the hospital was closed without ever treating a patient.


File:NEC hall 3a 11y07.JPG, Preparations for an exhibition in Hall 3a File:NEC inside atrium 11y07.JPG, View from inside the atrium File:NEC atrium roof 10y07.JPG, Atrium roof structure File:NEC atrium gallery 11y07.JPG, The atrium showing an upper level called the ''Gallery'' File:NEC horizontal escalator 11y07.JPG, Moving walkway File:The NEC Pavilion - - 985608.jpg, NEC Pavilion (2008) File:Atrium Entrance 2, National Exhibition Centre - - 81173.jpg, NEC Atrium entrance 2 (2005) File:NEC atrium entrance3 10y07.JPG, NEC Atrium entrance 3 (2007) File:NEC shuttle bus 10y07.JPG, An NEC Plaxton Pointer 1 bodied Dennis Dart SLF
shuttle bus A shuttle bus is a bus that travels a shorter route in comparison to most bus routes. Typically, shuttle buses travel in both directions between two points. Shuttle buses are designed to transport large groups of people who are all travellin ...
outside atrium entrance 2


External links

The NEC Birmingham Business event calendar
{{Authority control Indoor arenas in England Exhibition and conference centres in England Buildings and structures completed in 1976 Buildings and structures in Birmingham, West Midlands Buildings and structures in Solihull Esports venues in the United Kingdom London Spitfire 2022 Commonwealth Games venues Table tennis at the 2022 Commonwealth Games Weightlifting at the 2022 Commonwealth Games Boxing at the 2022 Commonwealth Games Badminton at the 2022 Commonwealth Games Powerlifting at the 2022 Commonwealth Games