10 must see UK Pavilion attractions at Expo 2020 Dubai

From October 1st 2021, Dubai will play host to the World’s Greatest Show – Expo 2020 Dubai. For the first time in the event’s history, all of the 191 participating nations will have their own pavilions, promising immersive cultural experiences while showcasing what makes each country unique.

The UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is no different and is shaping up to be an unmissable experience for families, businesses, investors and students alike. If you’re considering a trip and want to witness first-hand how the UK will be ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’ then read on to discover the top 10 attractions at the UK Pavilion.

1.    The UK Pavilion, a feat in modern architecture 

The first thing you’ll notice upon visiting the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is quite how breath-taking it is, with a striking 25-metre-high cone structure coming straight from the mind of artist and designer Es Devlin OBE, working in collaboration with global brand agency Avantgarde.

Es conceived the design to reflect the UK’s openness to trade and tourism, with the radial timber cone welcoming international visitors into a carefully curated journey of sights, sounds and experiences which showcase British innovation and invite collaboration on solutions to global challenges.

Visit our UK Pavilion virtual tour.


2.    The Collective Message 

Inspired by one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, the ‘Breakthrough Message’, the UK Pavilion invites you to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves – as humanity - should we one day encounter advanced civilisations in space.

Visitors are invited to donate an inspiring word to the Collective Message which an AI algorithm, trained on the works of over 100 contemporary British poets, will then compose a unique poetry couplet for you. This will then form part of an evolving continuous poem that illuminates the façade of the UK Pavilion and welcomes in new visitors from across the Expo 2020 Dubai site.


3.    Maze of Aspiration 

Your visit begins with an interactive digital journey through our Maze of Aspiration. Here, you’ll be guided through the story of how the UK’s role in artificial intelligence and space is impacting humanity, with augmented reality experiences and an enriched digital journey. 

The Maze will also allow you to explore some of the UK’s latest pioneering ideas and innovations, while showcasing how some of our partners address our theme – ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.

4.    The Choral Space

As you step into the Choral Space, you’ll be cocooned in a soundscape conceived by lead designer Es Devlin OBE, featuring voices and sounds from across the world. Submissions have been accepted from people of any age, playing any instrument and have been woven into a seven-minute long tribute to virtual choirs, orchestras and music sections that symbolise humanity’s resilience, creativity and optimism.

By inviting voices from Bangkok to Brighton and instruments from bagpipes to sitars, the crowd-sourced composition will also echo the Pavilion’s goal of honouring the range and diversity of people from around the world.

5.    1851 Restaurant & Bar

The UK has a rich history of delivering at World Expos, having hosted The Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, London. We’re leaning into that heritage with the 1851 restaurant and bar at the UK Pavilion, by showcasing traditional UK hospitality with innovative style.

You will experience the best of British food and drink from all over the UK while shining a light on reinventions of traditional British food with new unique dishes and flavours to bring your tastebuds to life. We’ll also be collaborating with up-and-coming and Michelin-star chefs to curate menus and themed moments.

6.    UK National Day, 10th February 2022

Join us for a unique experience which will bring the imagination of Glastonbury Festival and the creativity behind the GREAT campaign of Great Britain to Expo 2020 Dubai. We’ll be celebrating extraordinary people, places, technology, film, sport, music, food and fashion to give you a slice of the UK in Dubai.

A showcase of acts will join some of our most established talents from UK music and performance to present the fresh ways that innovation from across the Commonwealth is creating the sharpest ideas for a shared future. UK National Day promises to be a real highlight of our programme. 


7.    NextGen10 final 

In the spirit of our ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’ theme, we’ve partnered with HSBC to bring the NextGen10 final to the UK Pavilion on 7th December 2021. The competition is a celebration of the ingenious ideas and innovations the next generation can bring to life.

The competition was launched at the start of the year and called on children aged 10-14 who believe they have the solution to one of the great challenges of our time – from global warming to creating a more healthy and equal society. To hear first-hand from the finalists and see which three lucky winners will be awarded AED20,000 to bring their idea to life, visit the UK Pavilion in December 2021.

8.    Young Chef Young Waiter 2021

For the first time ever, Young Chef Young Waiter will be stepping up to an international audience by bringing 20 UK semi-finalists to Dubai for the final rounds of the competition, with the award ceremony taking place on 16th November 2021 on the UK Pavilion.

Whether you’re the ultimate foodie, or simply intrigued at the potential of seeing the next Raymond Blanc or Heston Blumenthal, both of which are past winners, then visit the UK Pavilion during the week-long ‘In the Future, What will we Eat?’ event.

9.    World Majlis events 

Since the Great Exhibition in 1851, World Expos have brought together global thinking and leaders and this tradition continues on the UK Pavilion’s Inspiration Gallery. We’ll be hosting three World Majlis events during the six-month programme, each of which both students and visitors are encouraged to attend and contribute to.

Themes for the forums taking place on the UK Pavilion are as diverse as the experts leading them.

Sustainability For All on 5th October 2021 will look at innovative policies, technology and lifestyle solutions that can help us live a healthier and more affordable life in balance with nature, while the Digital Twins session in January will explore the new realities opened up by the evolving world of data. The third and final UK-centric World Majlis, the Chemistry of Happiness Majlis on UK National Day, will look at the role technology can play in supporting the mental health of people across the globe.


10.    Witness live sculpting

Earlier this year, the Royal Society of Sculptors announced a competition in partnership with the UK Pavilion – the Live Sculpture Commission. The winning artist will be creating a piece live in-sight of visitors to the UK Pavilion between 1-8 November 2021 inspired by the theme of ‘Seeing Things Differently’.

The final piece will be unveiled at a VIP reception before the sculpture is then on exhibition for the remainder of the event which closes on 31st March 2022.

To find out more about the UK Pavilion’s full activity programme, you can browse the event calendar.