Town Guide

The National Exhibition Centre is perhaps one of Birmingham's most famous tourist attractions, and it draws thousands of visitors to the city each year.

The NEC is actually made up of several seperate areas, each with their own specialties. These include the NEC Arena, the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham Symphony Hall and the International Convention Centre.

Between them, these buildings stage nearly 200 seperate exhibitions and events each year, making the NEC the busiest exhibition centre in the whole of Europe.

| NEC Arena | National Indoor Arena | International Convention Centre | Symphony Hall |

NEC Arena

The NEC Arena is perhaps the most well-known of the National Exhibition Centre's buildings, mainly because it is the host of some of the NEC's biggest events.

These range from rock concerts and opera recitals to huge sporting events - and during some events the hall can seat as many as 12,000 people.

Because of its size, this hall is also home to one of the busiest box office's in Europe, with over 2 million tickets being sold here every year.

National Indoor Arena

TBirmingham's National Indoor Arena, part of the famous National Exhibition Centre group, is the premier venue for British sporting events. Seating around 13,000 people it is also one of the biggest indoor sports venues in the UK.

Most commonly associated with British Athletics, it can also play host to over 30 different types of sport and has been the venue for several World and European championships.

Aside from sport, the National Indoor Arena is also used to hold a wide variety of other events including conferences, exhibitions and even the Eurovision Song Contest.

International Convention Centre

Birmingham's International Convention Centre was opened by the Queen in 1991, and was Britain's first purpose-built convention centre.

However, the history of the centre dates back much further. For way before today's International Convention Centre was built in Centenary Square, Bingley Hall stood on the site.

Bingley Hall was built in 1851 and for over a hundred years was the venue of numerous meetings, shows and exhibitions. But sadly the hall burnt down in the 1980s, and so the International Convention Centre was built to replace it, at a cost of over £200 million.

The massive Centre has eleven separate halls, including the world famous Symphony Hall, and can be used for all manner of events.

The Centre has been a central features of Birmingham's rejuvenation for Birmingham is now Britain's foremost convention city with around 80% of the UK's trade conventions taking place here, many of them at this centre.

The building in itself is very modern and not to everyone's taste, but nevertheless the conventions held here account for tens of thousands of visitors who travel to Birmingham every year.

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall, located within the International Convention Centre, is home to the acclaimed Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

This award winning orchestra has become world famous and it cited by many as one of the primary catalysts for the recent rejuvenation of Birmingham.

The Symphony Hall has an excellent reputation for its superb acoustics. In fact some experts regard it as "the best concert hall in Europe".

As you would expect the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra holds regular recitals here, but other visiting companies also use the hall for a wide variety of performances.

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