Top ways to experience the Commonwealth Games

Birmingham Canal full of canal boats

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games promises one colourful summer, with many shared celebrations. Taking place at venues across the West Midlands in the heart of the UK, from the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton to the parks of Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Sutton Coldfield, you’ll find sport is just the beginning.

The Queen’s Baton Relay

In the run-up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay makes its way to all corners of the Commonwealth, visiting and connecting 72 nations and territories across a 294-day period. The 16th official running of the event commenced in October 2021 as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed a message for the Commonwealth within the baton. Her Majesty, or one of her representatives, will then receive the baton at the end of its journey, with the message read out at the opening ceremony to mark the start of the Games.

Did you know? In an attempt to reduce the event’s carbon footprint, the baton will travel almost half the distance it travelled for the previous Commonwealth Games – covering around 140,000km in total.

Key sports and venues

There will be many shared celebrations in Birmingham with women’s cricket, basketball 3x3, wheelchair basketball 3x3 and mixed synchronised diving all making their debut at the Games. Around 4,500 elite athletes will compete across 19 sports at a number of different venues in the West Midlands. Each is easily accessible from major rail and road routes, with local bus, train and tram travel included with tickets. Shuttle bus services will also operate between the main venues.

The newly renovated Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, just to the north of Birmingham city centre, will host the athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The city’s premier cricketing venue, Edgbaston, to the south of the city centre, will host the women’s T20 competition, with rugby sevens, judo and wrestling taking centre stage in Coventry Stadium and Arena.

Both basketball 3x3 and beach volleyball will take place at Smithfield, a temporary Games venue in the heart of Birmingham, just a five-minute walk from New Street station. The diving and swimming competitions will make a splash at the brand-new Sandwell Aquatics Centre, in Smethwick, just to the west of central Birmingham.

If you’re a fan of badminton, boxing, table tennis, netball and weightlifting, you’ll be able to catch the action at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), close to Birmingham Airport, while a number of parks across the region will host cycling, triathlon and lawn bowls events.

Discover more than sport

Following in the footsteps of previous Commonwealth Games in host cities such as Manchester and Glasgow, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will see a spectacular programme of events come to the region, celebrating culture, art and diversity in the West Midlands.

The programme will kick off with aerial circus performances and digital displays in the heart of Birmingham. Whether it’s telling stories of the city’s cultural past or finding creativity through artwork and sculptures, the jam-packed agenda spans six-months – allowing you to discover more about the West Midlands, beyond the live-action sport of the Games. Pride House Birmingham will also provide a safe and inclusive LGBTQI+ space in the run-up to the Games and beyond, accompanied by an extensive entertainment programme.

Looking to the future

Aiming to be the most sustainable Commonwealth Games yet, the legacy of the Games looks to positively impact the city, its people and local communities. On top of this, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games marks the first games to have more female medal events than male medal events, and will play host to the largest para-sport programme seen in its history.

Expect electric vehicles, accessible venue and routes, free drinking water refill points and accessible public transport to take you to and from each sporting event. Look out for 72 tiny forests – no bigger than the size of a tennis court – sprouting up throughout the West Midlands too. Representing each competing nation and territory, the new community urban areas will put an emphasis on nature and the environment. As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, over 150 projects will also shine a light on diversity by bringing together Community Groups and artists to produce a range of creative work.

Getting tickets

All remaining tickets are on general sale, for the latest information on event and festival tickets, go to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games official site. Accessible tickets are also available to purchase.

Fan zones

From the opening and closing ceremonies to a world-class arts festival, fan zones and the Queen’s Baton Relay, Birmingham 2022 will be a region-wide celebration of art and culture. The arts festival will show the West Midlands in a new creative light and the live sites will allow locals and visitors an opportunity to experience the thrill and excitement of every single event. Fan zones are planned for areas across Birmingham, although details for these are yet to be finalised.

 

You are encouraged to always check individual websites for the latest information, as details are subject to change.

28 Jul 2022(last updated)