NOTE: This advice is based on "First Impressions" and readers are asked to
contribute their own opinions in order to build up a comprehensive picture.
Seating advice for events using an arena will be added over the next few months
after events have taken place and views assessed.
The Arena has a large flat space in the centre,
either for seating or standing; with two blocks of seats down
the long sides. The long side seating blocks are permanent and divided into front and rear sections
by aisles between rows H and J. What is done with the seats placed in the flat
space in the middle depends where the stage is put. Notes
This Advice deals with "End Stage Layout" events - the most usual
arrangement. In this layout, most common for all events including pop concerts, a wide stage is at the
West end of the arena. The flat space in front of the stage is filled with seats. Most of side blocks
N and S 1 to 3 may not be used or have a "restricted view" depending on the
position of the stage and any equipment placed there.
CENTRAL ARENA SEATS
Flat on the floor, facing
Behind and either side of these blocks rise up the tiered seating,
Four sections of seating here - A, B, C and D.
A blocks are nearest the stage - 24 rows of seats.
B blocks are directly behind - 22 or 23 rows without a break between
them and block A.
Then comes a gap before the C blocks - 17 rows.
Behind these is a gap before the D blocks - 21 rows.
In sections A and B there is no rake (sloped floor) so if someone
tall sits in front, tough.
Section C is raised on a single plinth - the first row about five
inches above the 47 rows ahead of them.
Section D is shallowly stepped, raising all seats slightly above
those in front.
Pretty acceptable in all
seats in this area for all but the tallest over 6ft or so. A reader
agrees: "Leg room was good (A block) and the seats were reasonably
comfortable. I can't recall if this is a change, however they were
padded (on the seat part) I don't think they were before."
The monkey recalls seats in the side tier sections being padded, but not
the floor ones...but is happy to be corrected!
Choosing Seats in General:
These are the ones that
the Box Office push hardest in Theatremonkey's experience. There is a
good reason for this. In this monkey's opinion you have to be out of
your mind or desperate to buy most of them beyond the front rows of
section A. Regular Wembley goers know this and avoid sitting here unless
utterly insane to get a ticket. The moaning he endures form those seated
All the seats in blocks A to D are normally at top price. Taking each
section in order from front to back:
Section A is split into three blocks. Block A3 (seats 22 to 39) is
the most central, with A2 (seats 1 to 20) and A4 (seats 41 to 60) either
side of it.
Rows 1 to 8 in all blocks are best - take the row furthest forward is
the monkey advice here, before worrying about how central they
are...though central is prime of course!
Lately, the first few rows of block A - the good stuff remember -
have had a further premium mark-up added. Trust monkey, it is worth
paying to sit in the first 5 rows. Even though it is a VERY greedy thing
for promoters to do to fans. Turn purple with anger and pay up.
Next come rows 9 to 14 - also a reasonable bet, though shorter folk
may have a problem seeing over anyone ahead.
The rest of the rows in sections A and all rows in section B offer a
view of heads (especially if you are shorter) and little else to
recommend, except being closer to the stage than sections C or D.
Section C is split into five blocks - C3 the most central - the front
three rows of Blocks C1, C2, C4 or C5 are the emergency fall back
position. The plinth raises you slightly above the poor souls in row 22
of block B. You may see the stage, though the performer looks like a
Block C3 in the centre of the arena looks a good bet, until the sound
mixing desk is dumped in the front of it. Take it from the monkey,
nobody in blocks C3 or D3 enjoy the view much. Luckily, these seats are
normally left unsold, or sold last or cheap as "restricted view"
Behind section C, section D is the only section on the floor area to
have seats "stepped" in a shallow tier arrangement.
D2 or D4, from about 3 rows back may provide a little more view, but
again remember that shorter people could have up to 84 rows of people
standing up in front of them between themselves and the stage.
A reader suggests taking N/S15 before the back rows of block D because,
"You're in line with the back of block D which is ore expensive, so in
that respect it is better value than being at the back of block D. If
you're in the front row of the block then you have an unobstructed view,
albeit at a head-turning angle 80 degrees to the left (or to the right
if in block S15). Those who suffer neckache beware"
General Hazard Notes:
Blocks A and B are not
raked. If anybody tall is in front, or when everybody stands up and you
are sorter... unlucky.
The stage is VERY high, so the front rows won’t see feet – still, you
are better of than those in the rear rows who see only matchsticks.
Speakers at the front and sides of the stage can affect views.
Block C3 is behind the sound desk. All you see is the back of the mixer.
Luckily, they are not often sold.
Changes for the current production:
Block A3: “Dolly Parton”
(March 2007). Unfortunately this means that you can't see anything that is
further back than about two metres from front of stage. We didn't see Dolly
make her entrance and when she sat down to play piano all we could see was
the top of her head ! Probably about four rows back from the front would be
better. (Interesting comment felt the monkey, who would add that to an
extent what you see depends on the height of the stage, staging and your own
height - all of which are variable).”
"Block A4, 47 to 50: “The Who” (June 2007). Great, high energy show as usual
but in all the times (16), that I've seen them live, I've never been as
close to the stage as that night. We were third row from. Great view even
though everyone stood throughout. The stage wasn't too high and there was
only a narrow pit between the front row and the stage unlike some concerts
where you could park a bus and still have room to drive round it. I'd
realised a few days before that my not quite 5' tall daughter might struggle
to see if everyone stood but she just stood on her seat and no-one seemed to
Tickets were pretty steep at £65 but most of the seats were that price so
we'd have paid that or the lesser price of £50 anyway. At least they didn't
make the first few rows gold or premium grade to push the price up even
more. Also nice to go to a completely no-smoking venue which the arena has
been for a while now."
“Block A: “Dolly Parton” (March 2007). I thought it might be good to mention
something about the Central Arena Seating which bugged me when I saw Dolly
Parton on 25th March 2007. Sitting in the second row of block A3 (seats 17
and 18) we were joined by to teenage boys, which I was not in the slightest
bothered by as you get everyone at concerts. Well the teenage boy that was
sitting right next to me decided it would be good to continuously shake his
leg up and down with the music (which again is fine by me) but in A3,
because the seats are detachable, all of our 4 seats were attached and with
his shaking came constant rocking back and forth of the seating. So it might
be worth mentioning this. (Brings a whole new meaning to "shake, rattle and
roll" thinks the monkey, who was upset to hear about this behaviour).”
Block B: (Lee – regular reader). Not sure why you have seats in block B as
Red because they are fine for every show I have seen at Wembley, the stage
is high enough that the lack of rake is never really a problem but I guess
others may disagree. (The monkey comment is that because the stage is not
permanent, there can be problems if the design varies in height. Also, the
taller you are, the better in block B as there is no "slope" to raise each
row above the ones in front).”
Block D: “Kylie Minogue's” (January 2007), (John). As well as Block D being
on a rake, Block C is stepped too. C and D merge into one another with only
the row numbers going from 17 to 1 to signify this. Each step in height is
shallow and has 2, yes 2, rows on it. Hence if you're in the 2nd row and
short too you're really up against it. The front rows on each step are odd
numbers in Block C and even numbers in Block D. If you're in C/D blocks then
I'd recommend you choose these rows every time, as at least the step gives
an advantage over the row in front. The sound desk is at ground level so C3
and D3 can see over it as they're raised above, but the step/height problem
will remain regardless."
"D4 Row 3 Seats 53 and 54: Good view in my opinion. Bit too expensively
priced generally as they are on the flat. If you get stuck behind someone
tall, you're doomed. Comfortable (I think) as I was standing up most the
time! Sound is fine."
EAST TIER SEATS
Also known as "East Terrace" seating
Grandstand tiers at the very back of the arena.
Rows rise steeply upwards (around a 45 degree angle).
Seating is split into E2 and E3, the central sections which look
straight down the arena centre, and E1 and E4 which, at the extreme ends
(seats 1 to 12 and 91 to 102) look over the side terraced seating
towards the stage.
Acceptable in all seats for all but the tallest.
Choosing Seats in General:
Seats here are usually cheaper. Unless a vertigo sufferer, once seats at
the front of the arena have gone, buy these. You will see an ant in the
distance - the performer... but you will SEE the performer, and the video
screens, without necessarily having the view even more badly obstructed by
the back of someone in front of you.
Worth a first thought here are seats F16 to 23 and F79 to 87. These
look over a low wall - not a problem except for the shortest person, the
monkey felt... but an advantage having nobody in front of you...
Then take E2 and E3, the central sections which look straight down
the arena centre, from row back, so that you can see over those ahead of
Row P seats 14 to 16, 34 to 36, 66 to 68 and 87 to 89 may also be
desirable as they face down the aisle with either a fully or partially
clear view (nobody in front of you!).
General Hazard Notes:
Metal work at the front of this block can be annoying for the front four
rows, when in place.
Rear rows are not suitable for vertigo sufferers as they are high up and
at a steep angle from the ground.
F16 to 23 and F79 to 87 look over a low wall, not suitable for the
Dancing in the aisles is not permitted so be prepared to do what you can
in your own space.
Changes for the current production:
Also known as "Grand Tier" (rows A to H) and "Upper Tier" (rows J to W) seating.
Long rows of tiered
seating down the sides of the Arena either side of the central floor
Split into the lower "Grand Tier" and higher "Upper Tier" section. In
practise, the gap is simply a wall and space for gangways.
Depending which side of the arena the seats are, they are either in the
"North" (N) or "South" (S) tiers, but the numbering of seats and
sections is identical - the monkey talks about both sides simultaneously
by using the abbreviation N/S.
In all blocks except N/S 1, 2 and 3, there are entrance doors
breaking up the seating.
In the Grand tier the doors are in the "lower" number halves of each
block, and the first row above the doorway is F. Rows A and B are
missing in these halves too, to allow gangway access / wheelchair
In the Upper Tier the doors are in the "higher number" halves of each
block and the first row is N above the doorways. In the rest of the
block, the front row is J.
OK to generous for all but the tallest in most seats.
Least legroom is found in the front row of the section behind
gangways, and most will find it pretty comfortable.
Worth seeking out are the seats in the centre of the block in rows H
and W. These are on the gangway with nothing / only half a seat in
front, and can prove more comfortable for many. Identify them by
calculating the numbers missing beside the aisles in the other rows.
Choosing Seats in General:
For those lucky enough to be behind the doorways you get a low wall
(nobody in front to look over) that is unlikely to trouble many but the
shortest. Low safety bars also run along in front of each doorway in the
Upper Tier, but don't affect the view enough to worry about, in the monkey
For those in the Upper tiers, seating in rows L and M on the highest
numbers halves, around the doorway, may not be the greatest as there is
a wall to one side. Worth going a row behind, feels the monkey.
First choice of seats is in blocks N/S 6. Seats 20 to 28 are actually
closer to the stage than the first row in the centre of the arena. Rows
C to F are best. Blocks N/S 4 at the front of N/S 6 are the prime
wheelchair spaces, users should take this first over the rest.
Next take blocks N/S 8 seats 80 to 92, rows A to F then rows G to H,
then blocks N/S 10 seats 93 to 105 or else try blocks N/S 3 and 5 rows J
to N (but not L and M highest numbers if possible) seats 30 to 66. For
wheelchair users, block S/N 8 is next choice.
Finally, there is a choice. Either take the seats in row O back in
blocks N/S 3, 5 and 7 (remember that they are high up with a viewing
angle that can cut off the view of the back of the stage).
The other option is to try for either N/S 10 seats 109 to 121 or rows
J to N in blocks N/S 9 seats 84 to 108. Then the rest of the rows behind
row N in this section. These are half way down the arena but have a good
view compared to seats in the centre block as you are raised above heads
in front. For wheelchair users, block N/S 10 is next choice.
All the above mentioned seats are better than anything past row 12 in
the central arena blocks in this monkey's opinion.
The rest of the blocks along the side, except small parts of N/S 15
which are down the sides of blocks E1 and 4, are preferable to anything
in the centre arena. At least you will see the performer even at a great
distance, rather than just heads of the people in front. And you pay
less for the privilege.
Blocks N/S 12, then 9, 11, 14, 13 and 15 in order are the choice -
though remember to take anything in section E (from row E back) before
block 13 (seats 164 to 175), and all of block 15 . Take the furthest
forward seats available in each block, deciding whether to move further
along the row rather than sit more rows back each time. For the monkey,
it prefers to sit further back but closer - but other readers are
happier with front rows but further along.
Blocks N/S 12 and 14 have wheelchair spaces. The plus side is they
are at the front of the block, the minus is they are a very long way
from the stage. Take block 12 spaces first.
Blocks N/S 15 are in the far corners of the arena. Often unsold, you
will see less, and folk further along leaning forward can be a problem.
Also, avoid seats L199 and 200. These face a black wall and have less
legroom than usual. Claustrophobic and totally avoidable even for those
who "just want to be there" in the monkey view.
Most of side blocks N/S 1 and 2 are not used for end stage concerts
as they are behind the stage. They are, on occasion sold to personal
callers as restricted view seats at the last minute. Ask about them. You
can often only see the very front of the stage, but at least it is close
to the performers. These seats are worth trying for if anyone will sell
them to you and you just want to "be there", but remember that you may
well not see as much as you hope.
General Hazard Notes:
Make sure you on arrival that you choose the correct side to enter, as
it is a LONG walk around to reach the other sections!
Every block in both Grand and Upper tier is split into two by an aisle.
Dancing here is harder than in the centre arena and the staff don't
let you stand on your seat.
Low walls protecting door entranceways may restrict views for the
shortest. For seats behind them, everybody else will enjoy not having to
look over heads / standing folk in front.
L199 and 200 face a black wall and have less legroom than usual.
Some seats are not always sold, the monkey notes. As a rule, if they
are, then you should be OK seems to be reader feedback. Wembley don't
knowingly sell poor seats without a warning, and sometimes tickets are
released once a set has been built and sightlines confirmed by the staff
Changes for the current production:
“Block 10: Seats in row
were O.K. - could have had worse! I did wish I was much closer as I could
not see the singer properly except on the big screen. (Pretty much sums up
the experience from half way down - you pay for the atmosphere as much as
the view. Editor).
“Block N, Row L, 65 and 66: “Billy Joel” (July 2006). I know people have
made comments about these seats not being too good. For me they were fine.
You could sit right back and see whole stage. But seat 64 would be a
nightmare. You would have to lean way forward to see the whole of the stage,
are next to a wall with the top/ side of the door blocking almost half the
stage. It's disgraceful that they charge full price for that seat."
“Block N7, Row J73 and 74: Much better than Block C, D and E. Don't have a
problem with tall people standing in front of you on the flat like in these
blocks. You are also very close, so get a good view and doesn't really feel
like a side view even though it is. Sound is perfect. Would get these any
"Block N15: Far back but not bad for sound positioning. You're in line with
the back of block D which is more expensive, so in that respect it is better
value than being at the back of block D. If you're in the front row of the
block then you have an unobstructed view, albeit at a head-turning angle 80
degrees to the left (or to the right if in block S15). Those who suffer
“Block S3: OK, but a bit side-on maybe."
“Block S5 M66: It appears they do not sell seats in the following
positions.... S/N3 Row L37 and M 38 & 37. S/N5 Same relative position to the
previous. These seats have a restricted view because of the entrance door
surround to their left/right. I was in seat S5 M66 and if I was sitting in
my seat straight then I would not be able to see the left 1/3rd of the
stage. As it was not much was on it and if I leaned forward I could see.
Anybody not six foot tall like me is likely to have a greater reduction. I
would propose marking those seats as red on your plan. (The monkey has done
so, and with the seats in similar position down the whole arena).”
"Block S5, Row N, 65 and 66: "Muse" (November 2006) Reading the other
comments on this site I was a bit apprehensive but I have to say the seats
were superb. My friend and I had a full view of the stage. I'd go as far as
to say I would recommend these seats to others as the view was pretty
awesome. Saying all that, I do think that the seats L64 and M64 would have
been pretty poor, especially M64. I reckon you'd need to stand to see
"Block S5, Row J, 48 and 49: “Bruce Springsteen” (November 2006), (Jason).
Thought I would let you know some positive feedback about the seats I had.
They offered a clear view of the stage and there was no walkway or aisle
near to distract you. Considering the seats were right behind the VIP area,
I thought they were great value seats considering how much people, possibly,
paid to sit in Block S6/8. I would definitely try and get similar seats if I
were to go to Wembley again."
"Block S6, Row G, Seats 33 and 34: “Dancing on Ice” (Pip). The best seats by
far in the house as you don't have to worry about being on the big screen
and can see everything. The view is perfect and action so close! Wonderful,
delightful. Seats are never comfortable here but good legroom makes up for
that. Would pay full price for this. However, for main stage concerts, you
will get a side view but I still think you'd get your money's worth."
“Block S8, Row E, 64 to 66: "The Cure" (March 2008), (Christopher H). We
had. These were incredibly satisfying, except seat 66 had a slight
restricted view which was caused by the handrail. I was excited because the
monkey had given this a green rating, although you should advise people
about the handrail at the end of the rows. There was nothing special about
this arena, I would probably prefer the O2, but if you go remember to pick
seats in either blocks S6, S8 or N6, N8; or, if you want to experience the
whole atmosphere of the concert, take central arena standing if available."
"Block S13 Row V Seats 155 and 156: Much better than flat seats blocks A -
D. Bit far away from the action if just the normal stage, fine for 'Dancing
on Ice' (with centre rink). Bit far back and dark. Seats definitely
comfortable although little legroom, can see past past tall people.
Sometimes ridiculously priced, and I would rather not come at all then pay
full price when D was the same price for this particular event!"
Capacity is around 12,200 fully seated.
This is a no smoking venue throughout. Thanks to new ticketing technology,
"Pass Out" permits are available to allow smokers to leave the building and
re-enter if they require.
Not air conditioned but such a barn it does not get too uncomfortable. Avoid
rows P to W if really susceptible to heat though as heat rises. Take a jacket or
sweater to ice shows as the place gets cold. Something to do with the stage
surface muses theatremonkey.
Wheelchair users have access to places in five blocks, level from the foyer.
2 lifts are also available for users.
Adapted toilets available near each section, and to a very high quality with
automatic doors, space to manoeuvre in each cubicle, grab rails and alarm cords. Guide dogs can be dogsat but are not allowed in the
auditorium. Occasional performances are signed. A hearing loop is now
installed to help those requiring it. Wheelchair users also have low
counters available at food and souvenir stands, and in the box office.
Access bookings can be made on 0208 782 5629 – if it goes to voicemail
the customer may leave a message with their contact details for the box
office to call them back. The office hours are 10am to 4.30pm Monday to
Friday. THIS NUMBER CANNOT BE USED TO MAKE GENERAL PUBLIC BOOKINGS FOR
ANY EVENT. IT IS STRICTLY FOR ACCESS USERS ONLY.
Car users with appropriate Blue or Orange disabled badges are given a discount,
and may book at the time they reserve their event tickets. Designated disabled
spaces are in the Yellow Car Park on the South side of the arena - Lakeside Way.
Call 020 8782 5500 (Monday to Friday 10.30am to 4.30pm) for more information or
to book. NOTE: This line is for disabled assistance ONLY and is not available
for general public enquiries.
A "venue access guide" from the team who created
book "Theatremonkey: A Guide to London's West End," is available to download in PDF format
by clicking here.
Camera use depends on the promoter's
decision for each event. Most ban cameras completely, others do not allow
flash photography. If the promoter does allow anything, then it is generally
that normal cameras may be tolerated,
taking pictures for personal use, but NOT digital cameras, professional
equipment of any kind, camcorders or sound recording equipment. Anything they don't like will be confiscated at the
door, so check with the box office if you are not sure. You could
well be searched and 'frisked' too. If they find concealed equipment by doing
this, your ticket will be cancelled. The whole risk is pointless anyway as, even
with a flash, pictures will often barely come out. Since a concert programme is
often the price of a disposable camera, monkey advice is to buy the programme.
Choice of bars, a 200 seat restaurant (open from 3 hours before the show -
bookable with your ticket) and takeaway snacks available throughout the
The restaurant overlooks the new entrance plaza and the fountains /
illuminations. It was also the original "hospitality" area for the performers
when the stage was at the other end...so you could be sitting where your
favourite star has sat. There is also a hospitality area behind the new stage
and packages are available to businesses. Beer fans will be interested to know
that all beer in the venue is carried by pipes (look for the black ones on some
of the concourse staircases) that keep the beer at 4 degrees for every glass!
The monkey suggested hooking these pipes to the fountain supply outside, but was
told that regrettably there would be "logistical issues" to that idea.
Adequate toilets for Gentlemen and ladies. Some toilets can be reassigned for performances popular with
women. Check the door symbol before entry gentlemen!
A reader notes that:
"The extra toilets downstairs below the vendors are a bonus, although my
perception last night (4th April 2006) of the existing toilets were that they
seemed generally smaller than before. Certainly less urinal space and more
cubicles. The venue is now non-smoking. Gone are the mass fogs that used to make
the old bar/food areas along the side so unpleasant. The venue are also very
tight on this. When I was in the toilet last night, they pulled a guy out of the
cubicle who was smoking and escorted him out.
Basically, the gents are now
situated only at either end of each corridor and all the loos in between have
been given over to ladies (plus one of each in the Atrium). This is on balance
(putting my male head to one side for a moment) the best use for them.
There a further one of each down the stairs and under the vendors. These are
badly (or not!) signposted so you could end up going down to be faced by a
woman's loo door. These because they are badly signposted are often the quietest
and worth looking out for. "
Wembley say that they are working to improve
signage in this area, though another reader says,
"there do not seem to be enough Men's toilets whilst there are women's at every
turn. Great for women but last night (2nd January 2007) there were massive
queues at the few men's available."
From the ladies' viewpoint, a comment was,
"The toilet wash facilities have been designed by a male! Strange sloping sinks,
and the distance to the tap means that we brush up against the shelf when
washing our hands!"
Two cloakrooms for checking your coats in are
available at the front of the building. Not large enough for all 12,500
coats, but sufficient to meet demand so far, the venue say.
The monkey gratefully
thanks Mr Peter Tudor and everybody at Wembley Arena for their massive help in
compiling this information.