Earls Court has been chosen as the venue to host the Volleyball competitions at the London 2012 Games, whilst other key indoor events such as basketball, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, handball, weightlifting and wrestling are being shared between the Basketball Arena, Copper Box, ExCeL and North Greenwich Arena.
The superb West London venue of Earls Court will therefore welcome the volleyball competitors from Saturday 28th July right though until the conclusion of the Games on 12th August, though they will not be the first Olympians to compete at the venue. The Olympic games have already visited Earl's Court, when boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting and wrestling competitions took place there in 1948.
Earls Court has been an exhibition, conference and event centre since 1937, first opening its doors to the public for a confectionery exhibition, with the Motor Show following soon afterwards.
Those shows were housed in what is now known as Earls Court One, which was built at a cost of £1.5million. The £100million Earls Court Two was added in 1991 and still boasts Europe's biggest unsupported roof span. The venue has staged some memorable events — including 'The Winter Cavalcade' in 1938, which included a huge ski run stretching the length of the arena; pop music's Brit Awards, which were held there from 2000 to 2010; agriculture's Royal Smithfield Show; and the Royal Tournament.
Music has been a great part of Earls Court's history, either through grand opera or concerts by world-famous pop stars and groups, but this year it is the turn of sport and the London 2012 men’s and women’s indoor volleyball competition to take centre stage at this iconic venue.
Beach volleyball is also part of the Games, but will be held separately at Horse Guards Parade.
Public facilities: As one of the leading exhibition centres and show venues in the world Earls Court does not lack for public facilities. The venue is well served by places to eat and drink within the halls, but if those facilities are not to your liking, the local area is comprehensively served by restaurants, cafes and bars. 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, transport updates, lost and found services and pushchair and wheelchair storage.
History: In the 19th century the Earls Court site was a show ground, home to a Wild West Show and a giant observation wheel, but in the 1930s the land was purchased by new owners who decided build a world class exhibition and concert venue.
Earls Court opened in 1937 as the largest exhibition space in the world and has hosted countless prestigious events over the subsequent decades. The Earls Court Two area was added in 1991 and Earls Court now holds numerous shows and exhibitions each year.
What’s on?: Volleyball (July 28-August 12).
How do you get there?: The quickest and best ways to reach Earls Court are by underground or bus. Transport for London runs eight bus services to the exhibition centre — the 74, 190, 328, 430, C1, C3, N31 and N74 — while Earls Court's underground station is served by two lines, the Piccadilly and District.
Find it on the map: here.
Location – in relation to other venues: Earls Court is in the heart of West London, approximately 10 miles from the Olympic Park at Stratford in East London.
Location – on the tube: Earls Court (Piccadilly and District lines)