Wembley Arena (currently known as OVO Arena Wembley for sponsorship reasons) is an indoor arena that currently has a capacity of 12,500, making it the second largest indoor arena in London after The O2 Arena.
Originally known as the Empire Pool, it was built for the 1934 British Empire Games and held the boxing, wrestling, swimming and diving competitions. The boxing, swimming, diving and water polo were also held at the venue for the 1948 Summer Olympics.
The venue was renamed Wembley Arena in 1978 and became known for hosting many high profile music acts. However a number of different sporting events have continued to be held at the arena.
From 1934 to 1990 the Wembley Professional Championships men’s tennis event was held at the venue and was one of the most prominent tournaments on the circuit – with Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl among the multiple winners.
Ice hockey has also been regularly played at the arena, the Wembley Lions and Wembley Monarchs played their home matches there across the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The play-off finals weekend of the British Hockey League were held at Wembley until the league disbanded in 1996, whilst the NHL held two preseason games in 1992 and 1993.
The Horse of the Year Show, an equestrian event was held at Wembley from 1959 to 2002 before it moved to Birmingham. From the late 1960s to 70s, the Skol 6-Day cycle race was held there – becoming Britain’s first indoor velodrome.
Other events include the boxing World Championship bout in 1980 between Alan Minter and challenger Marvin Hagler, won by TKO by Hagler in the third round. Two NBA exhibition matches were held at Wembley in 1993 featuring the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic. The final of the Premier League Darts in 2009 and 2011 were held at the arena, as well as the 2010 playoff finals.
The Summer Olympics returned in 2012, hosting the badminton and rhythmic gymnastics.
Tickets at Wembley Arena
Ticket information for events at Wembley Arena is available on the official website.
Location & Travel to Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena is located in the area of Wembley in northwest London next to Wembley Stadium, approximately 12 miles away from central London.
Airport: The two busiest airports in the UK serve London and between them have flights to most of the world’s prime destinations – Heathrow Airport is 20 miles west of Wembley, with Gatwick Airport approximately 60 miles south of the stadium.
From Heathrow Airport you can catch the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station and use the Underground to reach Wembley from there. Or the airport sits on the London Underground Piccadilly Line, which you will have to change lines at least a couple of times to reach the stadium.
From Gatwick Airport, you can use the Gatwick Express to reach Victoria Station and use the Underground to reach Wembley from there.
Thinking of flying? Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Bus: Bus numbers 83, 92 and 182 all offer access to Wembley Stadium but it is not advised to get the bus on event days.
Coach: Megabus offers cheap travel to London and offers over 10 routes from Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich and Sheffield. You can search and book your tickets here.
Driving & Parking: Wembley is located just off the A406 North Circular Road. There are options to park at Wembley Park, booking through the official website here.
London Underground: Wembley Park Station (Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines) is about a 10 minute walk away from the arena, whilst Wembley Central Station (Bakerloo Line, London Overground) is approximately a 15 minute walk away.
Train: Wembley Stadium Central is on the Chiltern Railways line with trains to the Midlands, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and is less than a kilometre away from the stadium.
Wembley Central Station (London Midland/Southern) also has trains stop here with destinations including Milton Keynes. The station is approximately a 2km walk from the stadium.
Hotels near Wembley Arena
Food & Drink in Wembley
The nearby London Designer Outlet has a number of restaurants, including Frankie & Benny’s, Handmade Burger Co, Nando’s, Pizza Express and TGI Friday’s. However these do get very busy on event days so it is highly recommended to pre-book.
What to do in Wembley/London
Wembley itself doesn’t have much to offer in the way of tourist attractions. However central London and all the sights it has to offer is about 30 minutes away by Tube. London’s most famous attractions include the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace to name just a few.