Everything everyone has said previously is true. More than true.
This is a grand space for a giant event. I was here for the Great British Beer Festival and it was perfect. Giant enough to hold thousands and thousands of people but still give enough room to walk around and see what's going on. It's a beautiful old building with grand architecture and multiple floors so you really can see everything.
However, getting here is a giant pain in the ass, made especially annoying because there is an underground station literally right outside of the hall, but since trains run few and far between (or at all, during the week they don't unless it's a very special event) then you're screwed.
So five stars for a great venue, minus one star for being stupid to get too. And now you know.
London Olympia is the Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde of exhibition halls.
Olympia 1 is beautiful, bright and grand. Its tube station (High Street Ken) affords the visitor a lovely and picturesque walk past a parade of boutique shops and stately homes.
Olympia 2 is a shithole - dark, cavernous and miserable. Its tube station (West Kensington) affords the visitor a grim walk past council estates and betting shops.
A really nice facility that has clearly been around for a very long time. Wikipedia says it was built in 1885. On the inside, the exhibition floor is around the size of an Olympic pool or maybe a football pitch ("soccer field" to Americans). Very light and airy with a high arching roof.
It's located right next to Kensington Olympia Underground station, but Olympia is on a spur that does not get served very well. You might be better to exit the Underground at Kensington High Street and take a bus or taxi.
Depending on the event, there may or may not be food offerings. Today for the Unified Communications Expo, there is a coffee and pastries bar in the center of the floor, plus two "permanent" sandwich stores where the prices run towards expensive.
No organic wifi, unfortunately. For this event, O2 is here and has set up a social media lounge and provided free access.
The Olympia is a great venue. If you're there it's likely to be for an exhibition of some kind. I was there for the 'Vitality Show' - which I wouldn't have gone too if it wasn't for me getting free tickets. It was great though, as everywhere I turned people were handing out free things, it was like being in Tesco all over again (I've just found out the things in Tesco weren't free, but how was I to know at the time?).
Anyways, the venue is lovely to look at, it's clearly been around for years. Hold on, let me google and find out how many years.Okay, the google search hasn't gone so well. But trust me when I say it's been around for ages, you can tell by the smell and by the way old people seem to enjoy being there. And the smell of the old people.
The annoying thing about Olympia is how impossible it is to get there. Well not impossible, I mean - if it was - how would the man get there in the morning to unlock the doors?. But it's certainly more impossible than getting to your bathroom. The reason is that it is on this curious part of the District Line that only runs about once every 40 minutes; and it's sole destination is Olympia. Even when you're on this train it seems to sit around for about 10 minutes, teasing you, pretending it's going to go to Olympia. Of course, it eventually does.
Event-wise, it's probably the best. It's got more character than the Excel Centre, and it's got a more personal, likeable tone to it than the other sized King-Of-Exhibitions, known better as Earls Court.
I like this venue, I promise I do, but it's such a sod to get to. It should be simple but when the District line is being stupid, arriving on time is a bit of a challenge, and lets face it, the District line is a bit of a little sod most of the time. Actually not quite fair, it's not as bad as some (i.e. the Circle Line), that think it is perfectly acceptable to run one service every 10 or so minutes. Grrrr!
Rant over, the architecture is beautiful, ornate and decretive designers. Which is always a pleasure to gaze upon when you're rushing around stall and displays eating and drinking lots.
Generally speaking you are guaranteed a good day because you really only go out that way for something that you really want to see and experience.
London Olympia is indeed a beautiful Victorian building. Unfortunately Olympia 2 (which does not, and I guess shouldn't really have its separate yelp page) is not. Having now been to both London Olympia and Olympia 2, I can knowledgeably tell you that it is like going to heaven and hell. Or what I perceive as heaven and hell anyways.
You see, "Beautiful Old Buildings" are great (think Elizabeth Taylor). Their beauty simply mask the 101 flaws they might have, and if they didn't age well, you blame the owner of the building for being horrible people. This is the Original Olympia building. Unfortunately, then you have the "less beautiful, "we don't really need to preserve this sh*thole" middle-aged buildings" (think courtney love x jordan, and fast-forward about 20 years), where they then decided to gut it out and replace it with a "functional" interior. Then everything becomes annoying, and just, well dirty looking. This is Olympia 2, where evidently, the lack of a enormous arching roof meant that they could do whatever the f(*& they wanted to it. Yeh, it might just about work as a venue, but it is as ugly as heck. And the toilets are really dirty.
Couple that with a bad exhibition and you have hell. HELL i tell you! Well, to tell you the truth, since it was Hyper Japan and it was filled with Cosplay people it was more like the Rapture with people wielding enormously large, well made plastic swords vs the cutie pies dressed up as lolitas. Actually this sounds like a good premise for a Japanese Movie, I might trademark it.
I visit Olympia for the craft shows including the one at Christmas, which is my favourite. The tickets are over £10, which seems a lot but you can find things here you have to really search for in London without the hassle. They have christmas decorations, cards, gifts of all kinds and a food hall too, where you can try everything from toffee vodka to pickled garlic. You can buy for young and old here.
I have also been to the baby show, which is delightful. Even though the bit I enjoyed most were the german sausages, probably because I don't have a child though. If you do, they have everything you could ask for and more.
Olympia is one of the oldest, largest and most famous exhibition centres in the UK.
Its history goes back to the success of the Agricultural Hall built in Islington in 1862. This staged all sorts of shows and events, but it became clear that a larger venue was needed to house the sort of impressive spectacles the public increasingly demanded. To this end, the National Agricultural Hall Company was founded and in 1885 purchased over 6 acres of land - then used for market gardens - just over Kensington's border in Hammersmith.
Henry E. Coe (who designed the Islington hall) was chosen as the architect, and built the original Great Hall. This opened in 1886 with the Paris Hippodrome Circus, which included some 400 performers, 300 horses and six elephants. In 1922-23, a smaller additional hall was built on the south side, named the National Hall, and in 1929-30 the Empire Hall was added to the West. The Great Hall was subsequently renamed the Grand Hall, and the Empire Hall is now known as Olympia Two.
The venue became the site for a number of high profile exhibitions, including the Ideal Home Show and - as early as 1905 - the Motor Show. Both later moved to the newer Earl's Court Exhibition Centre, along with events like the Great British Beer Festival (and in the case of the Motor Show, then on to the NEC in Birmingham).
In 1936 the Olympic Garage was built on Maclise Road, with parking for 1,200 cars - the UK's first multi-storey car park.
The original Grand Hall is an impressive structure, and resembles the overall roofs of the railway stations then in vogue: 152 metres long, it has an iron glazed roof 52 metres in span, with braced lattice ribs. The façade, which faces the railway station, is an attractive classical composition of red brick walls with stone dressings, albeit somewhat obscured by later accretions.
The National Hall is built in a similar style, and contrasts markedly with the modernistic style of the Empire Hall built just 6 years later and which fronts Hammersmith Road. By Joseph Emberton, this is an uncompromising modernist design and takes it accents from continental buildings such as the Einstein tower in Potsdam.
Even more sensational in architectural terms, however, is the car-park. Completed in 1936, also by Emberton, this concrete and brick faced building looks incredibly modern, and still fulfils its original function.
Today, the venue is still busy with exhibitions, fairs and other events, from travel shows and career fairs to the BBC Good Food Show. Although it can get incredibly stuffy in the height of summer - all that glass - there's no doubt that the original halls are impressive pieces of architecture.
The halls are adjacent to the railway and underground station at Kensington Olympia, which provides the best means of access for most people. There are also buses along Hammersmith Road.
The venue has a wide range of food and drink outlets, although they tend to be a little expensive. Most of the areas have step-free access - but not all. The website provides a large amount of information about accessibility.
What can I say? I've been here a couple of times. Both visits, I hated the event but was in awe of this beautiful Victorian Structure. Last time was for the BBC Good Food Show:
I suppose if you're like me, then you're not one for large convention style events, but find yourself at such happenings from time to time. Well, if so, at least Oympia's a cool building to roam around.
As Olympia is quite a confusing location at the best of times, quick caveat here to say that I am alluding to the London's Olympia Grand Hall which is famous for its stunning Victorian architecture, magnificent galleries and barrelvaulted roof. Usually home to sprawling exhibitions, such as the recent La Dolce Vita.
However the real beauty of this venue is the 19,325sqm of exceptional space and flexibility, which makes this once of the best gig venues in London. Choose where you stand and how much you want to see, long live the mosh pit and no queues for the drinking hoards!
Came here for the MasterChef Live event. The venue is large and has very decent access to toilets. Things were laid out nicely and the event was well organised. Plenty of light, both artificial and natural. Pretty easy to get here. I suppose these are all the major things a big exhibition centre needs, and this place has them.
I went to an allergy show here not too long ago and I have to say it was not only helpful, it was quite fascinating. There's so much to see and do, and once you have the tickets, you have the key to the kingdom. They hold big horse races, motor shows, allergy shows, and basically any big event. There are various cafe's inside, and plenty of stalls to visit, try test and buy! Positioned in the center it is very busy lovely, and lots happening. This is a good day out.
Olympia is the best-connected exhibition centre located next to Olympia station and it has all the fcilities that you would expect. Olympia 2 is one of the smaller exhibition halls in the complex with access from the main road rather than the station area.
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