Wembley Arena - The Games Venue Guide
London 2012 will be Wembley Arena's second Olympic Games, as it hosted boxing, diving, swimming and water polo in 1948, albeit under its old guise of the Empire Pool, which was the venue's name from its opening for the 1934 Empire Games until 1978.
The venue was purpose built for those British Empire Games (now called the Commonwealth Games) and as indicated by its former Empire Pool title, the main feature of arena was originally a swimming pool - but the 1948 Olympics was the final occasion it was used for competition.
The site underwent a £35million redevelopment between 2005 and 2006 when the adjacent Wembley Stadium was also updated, and is now London's second biggest indoor stadium after the North Greenwich Arena (O2 Arena).
Although Wembley Arena is probably best known as a pop concert venue, sport has played a part in its recent history, with badminton, basketball, boxing, ice hockey, snooker, darts and wrestling events taking place there on a regular basis.
The north-west London arena’s neighbouring Wembley Stadium will also be hosting Olympic competition, as several matches from the men’s and women’s football tournaments are to be played there.
As Wembley Arena is a regular host to sporting events, only a small amount of preparation is required to prepare it for the badminton and rhythmic gymnastics competitions, for which it will have a capacity of 6,000 spectators.
The venue played host to the 2011 Badminton World Championships, which was one of several successful London 2012 test events.
Public facilities: A 160-seater restaurant and several bars and food stands. The Games Mobility service will be present, plus there is a London 2012 Shop. There will also be London 2012 information points for venue and sports information, refreshment stands, transport updates, lost and found services and pushchair and wheelchair storage.
History: The venue was purpose built for the 1934 British Empire Games (now called the Commonwealth Games) and its main feature was originally a swimming pool – it was known as the Empire Pool before later becoming Wembley Arena, a multi-use concert and sports facility.
What's on? Badminton (July 28th to August 5th) and Rhythmic Gymnastics (August 9th to 12th)
How do you get there? Rail, tube or bus are the recommended methods of transport, as there will be no official car parking near the arena during the Games. The venue is on five Transport for London bus routes (79, 83, 92, 182 and 224) and is close to two National Rail stations and two London Underground stops. National Rail trains run to Wembley Stadium station from London Marylebone and to Wembley Central from Euston, while the Jubilee and Metropolitan tube lines serve Wembley Park, and the Bakerloo line stops at Wembley Central.
Location – in relation to other venues: Wembley Arena sits next to Wembley Stadium, approximately 12 miles to the north west of the Olympic Park across London.
Location – on the tube: The Jubilee and Metropolitan tube lines serve Wembley Park (a 10 minute walk to the arena), and the Bakerloo line stops at Wembley Central (a 20 minute walk).