JOIN our family travel Facebook community run by travel experts – helping you to navigate Covid & holidaysJOIN NOW

Dubai World Expo 2020

By Sally Bendall – 21st September 2021
Dubai World Expo 2020

What is Dubai World Expo 2020?

First things first…

What is Expo?

Ever since I visited the Parque das Nações in Lisbon, their Expo heritage park and enormous Oceanarium, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of Expo and the symbolism of nations coming together to celebrate, connect and share. Exploring the work of other countries, sharing ideas and information surely unites us all in a time where the world could use a bit more unity.

Previously known as the World Trade Fairs, these are the exhibitions that gave us the Eiffel Tower, Crystal Palace and the Space Needle in Seattle.  Since they began, these huge international events have allowed countries to showcase their achievements, usually focused on a theme.  The Dubai World Expo 2020 opens this year after being delayed because of the pandemic, with the motto ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

Think Disney’s Epcot, meets the Eden project and large-scale Grand Designs with a dash of the Science Museum. Be prepared to be wowed!

I can hardly believe that am actually visiting Expo 2020 for it’s opening week, I’m absolutely delighted! I’ve never travelled so far away from home on my own, so I’m quite nervous, good nervous mostly though. I’ll be keeping you up to date with my experiences as I go along.


The Dubai World Expo 2020

This event has been widely anticipated across the world, and the excitement has been building since Lionel Messi kicked off the 3-month countdown in July.  More recently HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan made a European visit and posed with French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron and then Boris Johnson, all wearing their Expo wristbands.

The opening ceremony is on 30th September 2021 and looks set to be an absolutely spectacular performance with more than 1000 performers and technical crew, aiming to change the way people around the world see Dubai and the UAE.

Opening to the public on 1st October, this event, delayed but not renamed, sees Dubai playing host to 191 countries for six months in a purpose built 4.38sqkm site. The Expo is divided into three areas; Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity, with a drive to ‘inspire visitors to preserve and protect our planet, explore new frontiers and build a better future for everyone’.

This will be the first Expo to take place in the Middle East, and it is set to be the largest and most diverse Expo ever held.

Over the 6-month duration there is a packed programme planned; Arts & Culture, Innovation & Technology, Architecture and Business Entrepreneurship, as well as weekly themes, such as ‘Climate & Biodiversity’ in October and ‘Travel & Connectivity’ in January. In case this all sounds a bit stuffy, don’t worry, there is plenty of family friendly entertainment and the whole park will come to life daily with a vibrant music and dance parade every lunchtime, what’s not to love?

The Pavilions

Each of the 192 participating countries has it’s own pavilion, so I’m packing my comfortable shoes, and probably my fitbit – that’s a lot of steps!  I’m excited to see what each country has to show, as well as how they adapt to the theme of the district where they are situated. The Austria Pavilion looks like it’s made from sandcastles, Canada’s Pavilion is a wooden 360-degree immersive theatre, and our own UK Pavilion is inspired by one of Stephen Hawkins final projects – thinking about what message we would send to advanced civilisations if we one day encountered them in space.


The Women’s Pavilion

As well as country pavilions, there are special project pavilions. The Women’s Pavilion bears the statement ‘When Women Thrive, Humanity Thrives’ and that’s a call that really resonates with me given what’s going on around the world at the moment.  Showcasing ‘worldwide initiatives and solutions by women and their ripple effect to create a better world’, I’m looking forward to finding out more about the positive impact that women have on the world, and the challenges that they still face.


The Sustainability Pavilion

Terra – the Sustainability Pavilion, has almost 5000 solar panels on it’s canopy and it’s Energy Trees, these generate 4GWh of alternative energy per year, which is enough electricity to charge more than 900,000 mobile phones. This pavilion helps visitors to rethink their choices to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact.


The Food

As well as more than 200 food and beverage outlets, there is ground-breaking cuisine going on at Expo, with internationally renowned Bompass & Parr hosting their Epochal Banquet. Diners will have the opportunity to taste super-light delicacies formed using the same technique that NASA uses to collect comet dust! Vogue magazine said, “Expect edible creations that glow in the dark, flavour-changing desserts, and rare ingredients including new-to-the-plate plants.” The banquet sounds absolutely amazing, and it’s a communal dining experience, so I won’t feel out of place as a lone traveller, bonus!


Follow Me

If this post has piqued your interest can follow my experience of the Dubai World Expo 2020 here on my blog page and on the @girlabout.travel Instagram account.  I’ll be looking out for fun, innovation, and sharing the best of what Dubai World Expo 2020 has to offer.


If you’re considering a trip to Dubai World Expo 2020 it’s worth knowing that under 18’s, students with ID from any education establishment in the world, and the over 60’s get free entry for the duration of the event!

The Expo is a 20 minute drive from Dubai Parks & Resorts so it’s perfectly placed to visit during your family holiday.

Contact our travel partner Charitable Travel for a good deal on flight and hotel packages, while supporting your chosen charity.

If holidaying in the UAE is your thing, you might enjoy my article on family friendly activities in Abu-Dhabi

Thanks for reading!



All images courtesy of Dubai World Expo 2020

girl about leeds sally bendall
Share it on your own social media channels or with friends


Become a Girl About Travel Club member and benefit from our travel concierge service, itineraries, rewards, offers, discounts, resources, retreats and more!

Featured Articles & Sponsored Posts