As the magnifying glass pores over the statistics of Team GB’s incredibly successful Rio Olympics, one statistic stands out: Britain won gold in 15 different sports, a spread of talent that no other country came close to achieving. As we continue to toil with our national sports, hope, heroes and success have emerged from the shadows and margins and more sports than ever have made their way into our consciousness.
And as the public looks away from Wembley and Hampden and the Millennium Stadium to find its stars and nurture the next generation of champions, so other venues and grounds – like the competitors that use them – move into the spotlight and offer previously unexplored opportunities.
The NAEC Stoneleigh is just such a venue. Operated since 2013 by Grandstand who are themselves the force behind one of the UK’s largest indoor sporting events, the Horse of The Year Show; significant investment has seen the NAEC go from a consumer exhibition site to a conference, exhibition and sporting venue with unparalleled versatility. Established shows with a sporting background like Your Horse Live and Race Retro have been joined by national competitions like the Archery GB Combined Indoor National Championships, Race for Life, three of the UKs largest Ultimate White Collar Boxing events and further equestrian competitions including the British Showjumping National Championships and the British Dressage National Championships.
The organisers of these events have no doubt been drawn to the truly unique mix of 800 acres of green outdoor space, natural and man-made arenas, and over 21,000 square-metres of indoor space that the NAEC Stoneleigh provides. Neighbouring the magnificent Stoneleigh Abbey and based at Stoneleigh Park – an area perhaps best known as the location of the Royal Show from 1968 to 2009 – the NAEC Stoneleigh offers the best of the outdoors and a series of indoor spaces that clearly lend themselves to competitive sport and the audiences that it brings. Just a stone’s throw from Leamington Spa, Coventry, 4 major rails stations and the motorway network, arrival by private or public transport is simple. Once on site, Halls 1 and 2 offer up to 7900m2 as a single space with LED lighting and extensive access points, while there is more than 13,000m2 in the adjacent halls enabling all sorts of sports and physical activities to be housed and viewed in comfort. Outside, professionally managed green spaces of a variety of sizes combine with a private road network and an all-weather equine arena to create a genuinely versatile blank canvas. And whether you are an organiser, competitor or spectator, finding the NAEC and staying is easy: There is free car parking for upwards of 19,000 vehicles, a truly central location, a hotel on site and a further 1000 hotel rooms within 5 minutes.
Organisers are increasingly seeking out different and unique venues, as saturation of the market by opportunistic developers makes delivering a memorable experience more and more difficult. Character and heritage are delights for visitors and burdens for developers, though the presence of both can indicate under-investment. It is therefore rare to find a site where modern facilities sit in historic surroundings; where the outside is as impressive as the inside; and where opportunities to showcase sporting excellence are so easily accessible, yet the NAEC Stoneleigh offers all this and more.
To make an enquiry or booking please call 02476 696969, or visit www.naecstoneleigh.co.uk