More than 14,000 outdoor enthusiasts attended the first edition of The National Outdoor Expo in partnership with Ordnance Survey at the NEC, Birmingham this weekend (19-20 March 22), immersing themselves in the best that the outdoor industry has to offer. The sun shone, fun was abundant, sustainability was discussed from every angle and visitors came face-to-face with the famous faces who inspire and motivate them to live a healthy, active, sustainable lifestyle, absorbing the best mother nature has to offer.
The show’s two stages played host to experts and adventurers from across the world of outdoor pursuits including Ben Fogle, James Cracknell, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Iwan Thomas, Sabrina Pace-Humphreys, Julia Bradbury, Ed Stafford, Anna McNuff, Darren Edwards, Mario Rigby and Dwayne Fields, regaling packed theatres with the highs, lows, achievements and failures from a life spent in the outdoors.
The show was created for runners, campers, climbers, walkers and lovers of outdoor cooking, excursions, open water swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. Visitors in their thousands spent the weekend enjoying the incredible spring weather out of Pendigo Lake, making the most of the Expos’ watersports offering from NOWCA, Venture by Pyrahna and Red Paddle Co. Budding climbers tested their skills on the Climbing wall sponsored by Montane X BMC, learned bushcraft skills in the special zone run by Wildway Bushcraft, tested the terrain on the trail running track from Decathlon and OS and learned new skills in The Outdoor Kitchen feature with Camping and Caravanning Club.
Visitors were able to shop their favourite brands, get the latest kit and tech and discuss their requirements with the experts. Top brands including Ordnance Survey, Whereabouts, Decathlon, adidas TERREX, Salomon, Vango, Red Paddle Co, Cotopaxi, Rumpl, Teva, 2XU, Mountain Hardware, Grayl, Earthwear, Knog, Fulfil Nutrition and Nomad Trailers were on hand to help visitors find the right kit for them.
The Expo attracted adventurers of every age with families, couples, friends and solo visitors travelling from as far afield as Shetland and Cornwall to attend the event. Packed full of interactive activities, visitors cheered each other on as they battled it out in the Speedtent Challenge with Vango. Other features included a Wildlife Pavilion with Actively Outdoors plus a special Director’s Cut film and Q&A with Kendal Mountain Festival. The team at The Outdoor Guide were on hand to ensure that visitor’s outdoor accessibility needs were met, with brands including All Terrain Wheelchairs, ICE trikes and Mountain Trikes assisting visitors to find the right equipment to help them be active outdoors.
Esther Beal, event director at The National Outdoor Expo, said: “The feedback we have had after this weekend’s event has blown us all away. We are a small team with a huge heart for the outdoors and to have been able to welcome so many people to our first event and give them an opportunity to meet some of their hero’s was mission accomplished. The weather was on our side and the active outdoor element of the Expo worked seamlessly with the inspiration and retail opportunities inside the hall. Our plans are already underway for 2023 and it is going to be bigger and better than ever.”
The National Outdoor Expo will return on March 18-19, 2023, tickets will go on sale on September 1. To be notified when tickets go on sale register for the Expo’s newsletter.