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Exhibitions in the UK: A Guide To Exhibitions and Trade Shows


Exhibiting in the UK: A Trader's Guide to UK Exhibition Spaces


Exhibition Centres across the UK

For businesses outside of the UK, exhibiting in the UK can be a highly rewarding experience with some of Europe's leading exhibitions taking place up and down the country. Exhibitions provide the opportunity for face to face meetings with brands and business folk alike, and when executed well can open up new doors in business. 

If you're exhibiting in the UK from abroad, there may be a few differences in how the trade shows work than you're used to, so we've put together a few points that you will need to think about to make the most out of your time here.

Choosing the right exhibition

The UK boasts dozens of world class exhibition venues, so choosing the right one can be difficult. London is well known throughout the world as the UK's business hub and features iconic venues such as Wembley Stadium and Excel London, but don't think it's the only place to exhibit. Further afield you have the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Bournemouth International Centre to name but a few. Don't be tempted to flock straight to London, consider your audience, and speak to the event organiser about expected attendance number, the quality of visitor as well as how many other exhibitors have made a firm booking. The biggest exhibitions aren't always necessarily the best. It's easy to get lost in the noise of other companies.

Keep in mind factors such as booking space and your trade stand location. The best spots tend to be on corners or near the entrance, that's where you're most likely to capture attention.

Types of Exhibition Stands

At UK trade shows there are four main types of exhibition stands that are commonly known, but new systems are being launched all the time. The main four are shell scheme stands, pop up stands, modular stands and custom built stands. 


With shell schemes, you are assigned a blank shell by the exhibition organisers. They come in various sizes, but it essentially includes grey blank walls in metre gaps, a fascia board with your company name, carpet and power. You can make the stand look fantastic without breaking the bank through products such as shell scheme panels and banner stands.


Pop Up stands, as the name suggests, is based on pop up products such as banner stands, flags and pop up displays. They're easy to set up and take down, and the products tend to be re-usable. It's up to you what you make of the stand and what products to include.


Modular stands are kits that can be re-used and put together in different ways. They consist of different parts that can be joined to produce custom sizes and shapes.The main purpose of the modular display system is to allow you to be able to easily erect the display stand your self in a short time. This will remove the need for expensive exhibition installations.


Custom built stands are exactly as they sound: custom built to your requirements. This might be for a one off event, or they might be re-usable. It's dependent on how often you exhibit in the UK, where you are exhibiting and what message you are looking to portray.

What you need to remember when exhibiting in the UK

Not all venues are the same or offer the same benefits. Choose wisely for your business, product, customer market and branding to find the perfect fit.


Budgeting for your exhibition can be a logistical nightmare when you are an overseas exhibitor. Getting your stand set up and on time is crucial in order to make a success of your event. Having your stand transported to the venue from abroad can be costly, it's often advisable to work with a UK based company who can work with you to meet your requirements. 

Away from the exhibition, remember costs can often differ hugely to what you're used to. In areas such as London, the cost of accommodation and food can be excessive for some. Weigh up the pros and cons of staying a few extra days to set up your stand and whether it's worth the outlay.


If you're exhibiting from abroad, how do you plan on following those golden sales leads from a different country? Have a clear and set strategy on future communications, perhaps it might be a scheduled video call or a sample product sent. Don't make the fatal mistake of assuming your paths will cross again, exhibiting in a foreign country is all about making concrete connections. 

In the United Kingdom, it's common for exhibitors to meet after the show for informal drinks or a meal. These are great networking opportunities where relationships can be established, so do some research and find out if the organisers have anything planned. 

Exhibition Venues in the UK

Below are some of the most popular exhibition venues in the UK.


Exhibition Map in UK


Open since 2000 and expanded in 2010, ExCel London is one of the largest and most modern UK exhibition venues on the map. ExCel London currently has six hotels, and over 30 venues that include restaurants, bars and cafes. Most importantly it has 3 different complexes of function rooms, perfect for all types of businesses!


Olympia has had many names since is 1886 opening. Since the early 20th century it has been a central trade location in London. Olympia is a highly spacious exhibition venue with four event venues and a main conference hall. It has special privilege among exhibition centres in London with the fact that it has its own London underground station.


The NEC is an incredibly modern and fashionable exhibition centre in Birmingham. It has hosted thousands of iconic events, and is extremely accessible by all forms of transportation.


A highly versatile venue in Liverpool. ACC has a stunning seafront location, housing the famous eleven thousand seat Echo Arena, as well as the EC convention centre which is a full on venue with all the services you may require.

Use the Experts

Here to help!

Creative Solutions have over 20 years of experience in the exhibition industry, providing expert advice and products for companies up and down the country. We are able to design, print and install your exhibition stand giving you complete peace of mind on your visit to the UK. 

If you have an enquiry, just use the form below and let us know how we can help. Alternatively give us a call and speak to our friendly sales team on 01297 630130, or email us at with your requirements. We'll always provide a free no obligation quotation.

Let's Discuss your Exhibition Requirements

Posted by Rob on May 25th 2022

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