As we mentioned on our Solihull culture page, the NEC is the largest exhibition centre in the UK and the busiest in Europe. It now boasts 20 exhibition halls, the biggest of which is the Genting Arena – an indoor venue with a whopping capacity of 16,000.
The Genting Arena was given the grandest of openings by the Queen in 1980, when it was called the Birmingham International Arena. It’s clearly a case of ‘begin as you mean to go on’. The quality of acts you can see here has always hit the highest of standards, with more than three million people visiting each and every year.
It’s welcomed the biggest names in entertainment, including comedians like Peter Kay, Ricky Gervais and Michael McIntyre. The Spice Girls have performed there too, as have David Bowie, Beyoncé, Adele, Justin Bieber, Metallica and Lady Gaga. In fact, Prince played there not once, not twice, but ten times, beating U2’s measly tally of seven visits.
To see what’s on during your stay in Solihull, take a look at the Ticket Factory website. It’s the official box office for the Genting Arena, so there’s no better place to book your tickets.
If you fancy a bite to eat before a show, be sure to explore the Forum Live. You’ll find all kinds of different food, depending on what tempts you. There’s the Burrito Cantina for – you guessed it – burritos. Meanwhile, Theo’s Street Food serves Middle Eastern cuisine, the pizzas from Neo Pizza are freshly baked and very tasty, Hot Wok is your option if you’re craving Chinese food and, on top of all these, there’s always the Burger Kitchen, or the nation’s favourite – fish and chips.
Forum Live also has plenty of bars where you can wet your whistle, and The Amstel Stage gives unsigned, up-and-coming artists the chance to perform at one of the best venues in the country.
Getting to the Genting Arena is really easy. Just off Junction 6 of the M42, it’s less than a 15-minute drive away from our Solihull Town Centre hotel. Once you get there, the NEC site has over 16,000 parking spaces, so parking isn’t a problem. Along with Resorts World Birmingham (home of the largest casino in the UK, shops, restaurants, bars and an 11-screen Cineworld) and the nearby National Motorcycle Museum, you really can turn a visit to the Genting Arena into an entire day out.
Our Solihull hotels are all ideally located for visits to the Genting Arena and The National Exhibition Centre. You can also combine your stay with a trip to Brueton Park and make the most of some of Solihull's popular pubs and restaurants.
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