Back to top

Our history

The building of London’s Royal Docks introduced a new world of commerce to the capital.


The docks drew produce and people from all over the world; they survived the bombings of World War II but the final challenge was the creation of containerised cargo.

This far more efficient method of moving goods required much larger ships that could not navigate down as far as the Royal Docks. Gradually the Royal Docks business fell into decline. Despite the difficulties, they survived longer than any other upstream docks finally closing to commercial traffic in 1981.

ExCeL London opened in November 2000, in an area of huge regeneration in London’s historic Royal Docks. Today, ExCeL London has been at the forefront of the regeneration. Every year the venue hosts over 400 events, welcoming 40,000 exhibiting companies and over 4 million people, from across the globe. Events hosted at ExCeL are responsible for delivering £4.5bn in economic impact to London, supporting 37,600 jobs and driving 25% of London’s inbound business tourists.

See the story of how Royal Victoria Dock has emerged to become a hive of industry and activity once again.

play