Updated travel info released for BLE attendees

Published on: 27th September 2023

Wondering how to get to Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) next week? The team behind the the UK’s leading licensing trade show brings readers the latest travel options that’ll ensure they’re there and ready to do business, plus information on extended opening hours. 

Informa Group, the organiser of Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) – which returns to London Excel from 4th-6th October 2023 – has released the latest up-to-date travel information for those looking forward to attending the premier licensing trade show next week. With visitor registrations +34% up on the 2022 show, Anna Clarke and her team are working round the clock to ensure everyone can get to BLE successfully and with as little hassle as possible.

It’s worth noting that it’s highly unlikely the planned National Rail strike taking place on 4th October, the opening day of the show, will be called off. The London Underground strikes taking place on 4th and 6th October might yet be called off, but any resolution might not be reached until very late the day before BLE opens its doors.

With this is mind, travellers are being encouraged to look into their options now, in good time. To facilitate this, the team at Informa has compiled some very helpful information summarising the current situation, the most salient points of which we will share below.

Wednesday 4th October (Day 1 of BLE)

  • National Rail strike
    • Does not affect: Caledonian Sleeper, Grand Central, Heathrow Express, Hull Trains, Lumo or Merseyrail
    • Some lines are running limited services including Southern from Gatwick Airport to Victoria
    • Up to date timetables are available here
  • London Underground strike
    • Does not affect: Elizabeth Line, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, Cable Car or Tram Services
    • There may be some station closures if those stations are shared with London Underground – information will be available on the day

Thursday 5th October (Day 2 of BLE)

  • No strikes planned – expect a later start to London Underground services

Friday 6 October (Day 3 of BLE) 

  • London Underground strike only – same information as per October 4th

Due to the potential for disrupted journeys, the BLE team has updated the show hours to give attendees additional time for meetings:

  • Wednesday 4th October – 9am-6pm (optional additional hour)
  • Thursday 5th October – 8am-7pm (optional additional two hours)
  • Friday 6th October – 9am-3pm (earlier close to allow attendees to make a head-start on their onward travel)

There are also now two drinks receptions on the show floor from 5-6pm on 4th and 5th October. These remain free to attend and are likely to be very popular.

There are currently multiple ways for attendees to get to Excel via public transport, such as on one of the multiple London bus routes, and some London train lines.

By Train

The Elizabeth Line will be in operation, though travellers should check for closed central London stations before they set off. The Docklands Light Railway will also running, offering access to Excel from Stratford, Tower Gateway, Bank and Canary Wharf. The Beckton line takes travellers straight to Custom House station. The London Overground will be in operation, covering a large area of London. There are several interchanges with both the Elizabeth Line and the DLR so again, check before you travel.

By Boat and/or Cable Car

If you’re not in a hurry, the Uber Boat covers south, central and east London. The nearest station to Excel is North Greenwich. which has an interchange with the Cable Car. Those parking at the O2 or staying in North Greenwhich can take the cable car across the river. Excel is within easy walking distance of the drop-off point.

By Car

There are three recommended car parks, although these are not for the exclusive use of BLE attendees so drivers are strongly encouraged to arrive early if they wish to secure a space.

  • Excel – 1,500 spaces, open 24 hours
  • O2 – 2,100 spaces, car parks 1/3/4 open 24 hours, car park 2 open from 9am
  • Westfield Stratford – 5,000+ spaces, open 24 hours. Then take the DLR or Elizabeth Line to Custom House.

Other Modes of Transport

  • National Express coaches travel from all airports and most cities within the UK
  • London has an extensive taxi network spanning Uber, Bolt, Freenow and London Black Cabs. Visitors are strongly advised to book in advance and allow extra journey time. Addison Lee is recommended for advance bookings.

International visitors to BLE are likely to experience the least disruption owing to the city’s proximity to major airports and good travel links. Those flying into Heathrow can take the Elizabeth Line to Custom House without having to change trains. The Heathrow Express will also be in operation; check the timetable for the first train. Arrivals into Gatwick, Luton or Southend airport, or via the Eurostar, should arrange a private car transfer on Wednesday 4th. Travellers arriving at City Airport can take the DLR from London City to Custom House station via Canning Town.

Anna Clarke, SVP at Informa Markets, commented: “The feedback we’re getting indicates that those who were planning to attend BLE next week still are, and we’re both proud of, and thankful for, the community that’s rallied around this year’s show. There is so much to look forward and be excited about: we’re even exploring ways to make visitors’ arrivals at Excel extra special in light of the travel disruption they may have experienced. The team here is pulling out all the stops to ensure everything runs as smoothly as it can, and we can’t wait to see everyone next week.”


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