The National Exhibition Centre is Britain’s largest and busiest exhibition venue. Often described as an ‘exhibition village’, it was constructed in the centuries-old, sparsely populated area known as the Hundred of Hemlingford. The NEC was formally opened in 1976 by Queen Elizabeth II. Since then, it has undergone major expansion. The Atrium, after which these premises are named, is one of the two main public areas which provide access to the exhibition halls.