Your Complete Guide to the NEC, Birmingham
The National Exhibition Centre is the largest trade show venue in the UK. Home to some of our favourite shows, we’re regularly there installing stands and chatting with exhibitors. We’re experts when it comes to this venue and this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the NEC Birmingham.
In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know about the NEC in Birmingham. This includes:
- How to get to the NEC
- Hotels, campsites and restaurants near the NEC
- How to get an exhibition stand at the NEC
- And so much more
If you’re exhibiting at a show in 2021, you’re going to need an exhibition stand at the NEC. Get in touch with our team for your free design concept and quote.
About the Venue:
Where is the NEC?
The NEC is located in Birmingham, a short distance from Birmingham airport.
Birmingham is a central business hub with lots of transport links, making the NEC easy to access. Over 48 million people live within a three-hour drive.
NEC, Birmingham Address
National Exhibition Centre (NEC)
Here are some key facts and statistics about the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
- The NEC is 80% larger than the UK’s next largest exhibition venue
- The venue boasts 182,000 Sq. meters of covered indoor space
- 75% of the UK’s population live within a 3 hour drive of The NEC
- It take 90 seconds to travel from Birmingham Airport to The NEC
- Birmingham International Railway Station is physically connected to The NEC
When did the NEC Open?
The Queen opened NEC Birmingham in 1976 after 3 years of construction. Architects, Edward Mills and Seymour Harris, designed the building.
Originally, the NEC was going to be built near Leicester just off the M1 motorway. Leicestershire Country Council turned down the plans claiming that the big shows would never move away from London.
Little did they know, this venue was going to attract the largest trade and consumer events in the UK.
NEC Birmingham Events
The NEC is the largest venue in the UK and hosts over 500 events each year. The exhibitions attract both trade and consumer audience demographics.
Key events that always draw in a crowd include:
- The Emergency Services Show
- Lamma Show
- A Place in the Sun Live
NEC Birmingham Capacity
On a record-breaking day, the NEC welcomed over 100,000 visitors. To this day, the venue has never reached full capacity. NEC welcomes over 2 million visitors annually.
How many halls does the NEC have?
The NEC has 20 interconnected halls that cover 2,000,000 sq. ft. of floor space. The fully flexible event spaces hall make NEC a suitable venue for events of any size.
As well as exhibition halls, the venue offers 34 specialist conference and meetings suites. They also have the Resorts World Arena on site, with a capacity of 15,685. This venue records the highest ticket sales of any arena venue in the UK.
Who owns the NEC, Birmingham
The NEC Group have over forty years’ experience developing and managing dynamic venues. The also own and operate:
- Resorts World Arena
- ICC Birmingham
- Utilita Arena Birmingham
- The Vox
They contribute billions to the Midlands economy and have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the area. The NEC Group are the UK’s leading live events business operating in exhibitions, conferences, music, sports, family entertainment and hospitality.
Using their expertise, they have also launched The Ticket Factory, Amadeus and Amplify – solutions that cover all event organisation needs.
Exhibiting at the NEC gives your business access to the largest audience in the UK.
Industry shows such as the Food& Drink Expo, The Health & Safety Event and Lab Innovations attract highly-target audiences who are looking for businesses like yours. There are loads of reasons why exhibit at a trade show.
How to get a Stand at the NEC
To get a stand at an exhibition taking place at NEC, Birmingham, visit the event organiser’s website and book a floor space.
You’ll find a list of upcoming events on the NEC’s website, including trade and consumer shows. Follow the link to the event website and inquire about a floor space. A member of their team should be in touch with you to discuss your options.
How Much Does a Stand Cost at NEC, Birmingham
Stand prices vary from show to show. Event organisers sell space by the square meter. As an average, you should plan for £300 per m².
This cost only covers your floor space. It is important to make sure you have enough money left in your trade show budget to cover the cost of your exhibition stand, furniture rental, staffing and other expenses.
If you’re exhibiting at, or attending, an event at the NEC then you’re going to need to know how to get there.
This venue is conveniently located in the West Midlands, just off major routes including the M42, M40 and M6. You can also travel to the NEC by bus, train, coach or plane (and the cycle lanes aren’t too shabby either).
NEC Birmingham Parking
The NEC has 16,500 parking spaces on-site. The car park is a short walk from the exhibition halls. Alternatively, a free shuttle bus will transport you from the car park to the venue.
NEC Birmingham Postcode
If you are driving to the venue following a Sat Nav, use this postcode:
NEC Birmingham by Train Station
Birmingham International Railway Station is connected to the venue. You can travel from A to B in under five minutes.
You may need to travel to Birmingham New Street first, depending on where you are coming from. The connecting trains run frequently. And the journey still takes less than fifteen minutes.
NEC Birmingham by Bus or Coach
Book a National Express or Megabus coach from anywhere in the UK to Birmingham Airport for easy access to the NEC.
Birmingham Airport and the NEC are linked by a free air-rail link. This cuts the journey down to 90 seconds. Shuttles run every two minutes.
While you’re there:
Exhibiting at trade shows across the country gives you a chance to explore new areas. Although you’ll be very busy over the duration of your show, you’ll have evenings free to try new restaurants and activities.
NEC Birmingham Hotels
The NEC is located within walking distance of Resorts World. Here you will find over hotels, restaurants and more.
There are 126 hotels and holiday homes available near Birmingham’s NEC.
For a luxury stay, book a room at the Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC, Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport or the Genting Hotel. With rooms for as little as £50 per person per night, you won’t have to sacrifice your trade show budget!
If you’re looking for a low-cost accommodation, both the ibis and Travelodge at Birmingham Airport offer rooms for under £30 per night.
Campsites near NEC Birmingham
Two of the most popular consumer shows that take place at the NEC are:
- The Motorhome and Caravan Show
- Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show
If you’re attending either of these, you may need an outdoors solution to accommodation. There are five campsites to choose from within 10 miles of NEC Birmingham:
- Somers Wood Caravan Park
- Kingsbury Water Park Camping and Caravanning Clun Site
- Umberslade Adventure
- Mousley House Farm Campsite and Glamping
- Chapel Land Caravan Club
Whether you’re pitching your tent or cruising in a caravan, one of the local campsites will have all of the facilities you need.
NEC Birmingham Restaurants
Whether you want to get stuck in to a famous Birmingham Balti or take advantage of your allocated food budget, you’ll find a restaurant a short distance from the NEC.
Grab a snack at the Nachos Bar or sit down for dinner at Miller & Carter, Las Iguanas or Pizza Express – all located within Resorts World. Do you want to try something a bit different?
Opheem is a Michelin starred restaurant celebrating Indian cuisine. TimeOut magazine voted it the sixth best restaurant in Birmingham in 2019.
What to do near NEC
If you’re spending a few days at your trade show, you have more time to explore. There are loads of things to do near the NEC in Birmingham.
Enjoy cocktails at the High Line New York Bar & Lounge to relax after a busy day. Get the pain of being on your feet for ten hours straight massaged away at the Santai Spa. Or, put your skills to the test at The Bear Grylls Adventure.
There are also great team building activities, such as Escape Hunt, located within Resorts World. And, of course, the NEC Group also own Resorts World Arena so check to see if there are any gigs on before you go.
Exhibiting at the NEC? We’ll see you there
Quadrant2Design install over 600 exhibition stands a year. We go to the NEC a lot.
Our project managers and professional stand builders are probably going to the same show as you. Last year, we had exhibition stands at:
- Printwear and Promotional Live
- The Foodservice Show
- Spring Fair
- Packaging Innovations
- What Career Live
- What University Live
- Hemp & CBD Expo
- Dementia, Care & Nursing Home
- Homebuilding and Renovating Show
- Natural and Organic Products Europe
- Euronics Showcase
- National Convenience Show
- The Security Event
- The Health and Safety Event
- Commercial Vehicle Show
- Vape Expo
- Makers Central
- Dentistry Show
- Utility Week Live
- And more!
We’re looking forward to getting back into the NEC and seeing everything you have been up to in the last year.