Category: The Senedd

A Visitor’s Guide to the Senedd

A Visitor’s Guide to the Senedd

Visiting Cardiff for the UEFA Champion’s League Final? You’ll find a warm welcome in the capital city of Wales. We are a country full of culture and heritage, and Cardiff is a fantastic place to soak up the atmosphere of this amazing sporting event.

If you find yourself in Cardiff Bay for the UEFA Champion’s League Festival, why not pay a visit to the Senedd and visit one of Wales’ most modern and most important buildings?  We’ve put together a handy guide to help you make the most of your visit.

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IMG_7855What is the Senedd?

The Senedd is the home of the National Assembly for Wales, and represents the heart of democracy in Wales. A modern parliamentary building which celebrated its tenth birthday last year, the Senedd is also one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales.

It is also a public building, welcoming visitors seven days a week, and boasts a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Most importantly it’s free to visit and offers some of the best views in Cardiff Bay, so please come inside and have a look around.

What’s inside?

The debating chamber

The Senedd houses the debating chamber of the National Assembly for Wales. Look down below the huge funnel and you’ll be able to see where our politicians sit during parliamentary debates. Take one of our free tours to discover more about the building and what happens here.

chamber-agle

Café and gift shop

The Senedd has also has a café (more on that below) and a shop, which stocks local produce, souvenirs and gifts. Pick up Welsh whisky, Melin Tregwynt textile products and Senedd branded souvenirs as mementos of your visit.

Exhibitions

Next to the café is an exhibition area which regularly hosts a variety of events, exhibitions and other activities throughout the year. Come along and see what’s happening!

Take a guided tour

The best way to get to know the Senedd is through a guided tour. Visitors will learn about the history and the unique architecture of the building and discover more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

The tours are FREE. All you need to do is turn up and we’ll let you know what time the next one starts.

Enjoy a taste of Wales

The Senedd’s café offers a selection of hot and cold drinks, or you could sample some traditional Welsh treats – enjoy a Welsh cake or a slice of bara brith (Welsh fruit cake) with a nice British pot of tea.

The views from the seating area are fantastic – watch boats sailing on the sparkling water of Cardiff Bay, or view the hustle and bustle of the Champions League festival from below the Senedd’s impressive canopy.

Facilities and access

As with any government building, all visitors are required to go through security on their way in to the Senedd. Our security team are trained to be aware of the needs of visitors with disabilities, or who might have specific requirements based on their religious beliefs.

The Senedd is fully accessible with ramp access at the front of the building and lifts to all floors inside. A hearing loop system is available to hearing aid users.

The building offers fully assisted changing facilities and gender-neutral washrooms which are suitable for all.

Take a selfie with our Snapchat GeoFilter

If you are on Snapchat – keep an eye out for our special filter and share your photos on social media!

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

World Architecture Day 2016: Professor Thomas Herzog visits the Senedd

By Lucy Hodson, Information Specialist, Assembly Library

The iconic Senedd building is famous as both the home of Welsh democracy and for being a beacon of sustainability. It has won a number of architectural prizes and has also received the highest ever rating awarded in Wales under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Earlier this year the Senedd was visited by Professor Thomas Herzog, the world-renowned German architect known for his interest in contemporary technologies and the supply of energy from environmentally friendly sources. He has received a number of honours throughout his career for his work, including the PLEA 2013 Award for excellence in the field of passive and low energy architecture and the 2009 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.

L-R Matthew Jones (Sustainability Manager), Thomas Herzog (Architect, Thomas Herzog Architects), Ester Coma Bassas (Architect, Welsh School of Architecture), Werner Lang (Architect, University of Munich), Richard Gwyn Jones (Visitor Tour Manager)
L-R  Matthew Jones (Sustainability Manager), Thomas Herzog (Architect, Thomas Herzog Architects), Ester Comma Bassas (Architect, Welsh School of Architecture), Werner Lang (Architect, University of Munich), Richard Gwyn Jones (Visitor Tour Manager)

Professor Herzog was given a tour of the Senedd by our Sustainability Manager Matthew Jones. After the visit he shared his thoughts:

“During the past decades I was rarely so moved and taken by a piece of modern architecture as the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay.

A weather-protected place that uses the prominent surrounding panorama of the city at the port as a space-defining backdrop. An elevated public space-enlivened and used by citizens and politicians-stands in contrast to the plenary hall with its geometry, spatial order and exposure to light, Although the assembly room is the place of public inspection, it nevertheless ensures the appropriate distance, and is –in its effect determined by the central, concentrated exposure to natural light from above.

The building is a lesson-even in terms of a self-confident, citizen-oriented democracy – and is brilliant with its clear spatial concept and its attention to technical detail. The Senedd demonstrates how meaningful architecture can be for our modern life, an architecture that communicates though transparency in a differentiated grading between opening and concentration. A stroke of luck for the country and its people.”

Senedd

To celebrate World Architecture Day on 3 October the Senedd is hosting a special architectural tour which will showcase the building in all its glory. This new tour will explore in detail the concept and design of one of Richard Rogers’ most iconic buildings. You’ll discover the Senedd’s incredible features which make it one of the most sustainable buildings in Wales. The guide will take you to usually unseen parts of the Senedd to add to this ‘one-off’ experience.

As part of the visit, a free Senedd book will be given to all who attend, a real prize for those who are interested in architecture and the building.

If you’d like to attend one of our specially tailored tours, contact us on 0300 200 6565 or email contact@assembly.wales

For more information including opening times and how to get to us please visit the Assembly website.

More information about the Senedd including its history, concept drawings and environmental features.

Senedd Summer Fun

Gareth Coombes, Tour Manager, talks about the joys and challenges of organising a Family Fun Weekend at the Senedd, home of the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay.

When you think about the Senedd, the first thing that comes to mind is Plenary, the meeting where the 60 Assembly Members make Welsh laws, debate Welsh issues, question the First Minister and the make sure the Welsh Government is doing its job. The second thing you think about is usually the handsome tour guide who works there, but maybe you wouldn’t imagine that the Senedd could be also be turned into a giant play area for children and young people.

Capture

 

Well that’s exactly what happened last weekend! To celebrate the Cardiff Bay Harbour Festival and as a continuation of the Senedd’s 10th birthday celebrations this year, we hosted a Fun Weekend for all the family. Activities included soft play, Lego station, skittles, face painting and a craft area.

The day before I was really nervous, thinking that no one was going to turn up and it would just be me playing Lego all day by myself! I kept busy by setting up all the activities, making sure all the toys were in the right place, the face painters had a table and that the Welsh cakes were tasty enough (I took this job very seriously and tasted many, many Welsh cakes just to make sure) and that everything else was just right. The night before, when nearly everyone had left, I just walked around what we had created in the building, feeling excited about the days to come.

The weekend started quietly, with the weather being its usual miserable self. But as soon as the sun came out, I knew the Bay would get busier, which of course it did!

 

FullSizeRender (3)

One of the most popular activities over the weekend (and for good reason) was the ball pit in the middle of the room. Our job was to make sure that all the balls were kept in and around the ball pit, not an easy job I’ll add! On the last day I was tidying up the ball pit, putting two or three balls back at a time, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a young boy running as fast as he could towards the soft play from the other end of the room. At this point everything went into slow motion. The boy was nearing, there was nothing I could do, and before I could react, he jumped, as high as he could, and landed like an Olympic long-jumper in the middle of the ball pit. Again in slow motion I saw about 50 balls catapult out of the pit into every conceivable direction on the Welsh slate floor, and knowing I had lost the battle, I put my head down, rested on the soft play and laughed!

IMG_3520#SeneddSelfie was used on Twitter and Instagram throughout the weekend so that our guests could share their experiences with us. Some great pictures were taken, and it was so nice to see lots of smiles in them. Many people clambered into the giant deck chair outside the Senedd, and there were some fantastic photos of children with their faces painted, with lions and butterflies galore!

Overall the weekend was a huge success with over 3,500 people visiting the building! From what I could tell, everyone thoroughly enjoyed as much as I did.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along – see you again next year!

 

 


 

The Senedd is the home of National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay. Open to the public seven days a week, its distinctive design and incredible architecture attract visitors from all over the world, and in 2015 the building was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Free tours are available daily, and a selection of drinks and refreshments are available to purchase from the Oriel Café.

You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd. If you visit during the week you could even watch the political action unfold as it happens in the public gallery of the Siambr, the Senedd’s debating chamber.

If you’d like to book a tour (unfortunately we can’t promise that it will be with Gareth) please call us on 0300 200 6565, email contact@assembly.wales or pop into the Senedd for more details.

The Senedd is open:

Weekdays – term time
Monday and Friday 9:30 – 16:30, Tuesday to Thursday 8:00 – end of business

Weekdays – recess
Monday to Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

 (Please note that last admission is 30 minutes before closing).

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

View this post in Welsh

Visit the Senedd and Pierhead: Cadw Open Doors 2016

What is Open Doors?

On 10 September 2016 the National Assembly for Wales will be offering exclusive access to the public as part of Cadw’s annual Open Doors event.

While the Senedd and Pierhead are open to the public throughout the year, Open Doors visitors will be able see what happens behind the scenes in some areas not usually open to the public.

Senedd and Pierhead buildings from outside. Interior of Senedd showing the funnel and seats.

Where is it?

The Open Doors tour will take visitors on a journey through the history of both Cardiff Bay and the National Assembly for Wales.

It will include all three buildings within the Assembly’s Cardiff Bay estate:

The Pierhead
Start your journey through time in 1897 with the Pierhead, an iconic late Victorian building where visitors can discover the history of Cardiff Bay. The Pierhead is now a museum and exhibition centre, open to the public seven days a week.

Ty Hywel
The original home of the Assembly’s debating chamber, Ty Hywel hosts the offices of both Assembly staff and Members.

The Senedd
Celebrating its tenth birthday this year and boasting a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, the Senedd is the heart of democracy in Wales. A modern parliamentary building and home of the debating chamber of the Assembly, the Senedd is also one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales. Visitors will learn about the history and the architecture of the buildings and discover more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

This is the last stop on the tour and to celebrate the Senedd’s tenth birthday, Open Doors visitors this year will also receive a free tea or coffee from the Senedd’s Oriel café.

Coffee cup in the Senedd

Address: National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

When?
10 September 11:00am

How do I book my place on the tour?
Booking is essential as we can only offer a limited number of places on this exclusive behind the scenes tour.

Please call 0300 200 6565 or email contact@assembly.wales to book your place.

Further information

Cadw Open Doors is an annual celebration of the architecture and heritage of Wales and is part of European Heritage Days, which take place in 50 European countries each year in September.

For more information, including other participating attractions around Wales, please see the Cadw website.

Visiting the National Assembly for Wales

If you can’t make it on 10 September you can still visit the Senedd and Pierhead buildings which are open to the public seven days a week.

The Senedd regularly hosts a variety of events with performers, singers, exhibitions and activities happening throughout the year so come along and see what’s happening!

You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd’s debating chamber.

The Senedd is currently open:

Monday – Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

 

Pierhead building with open door

Celebrate ten years of the Senedd with afternoon tea

Enjoy afternoon tea, guided tours and exceptional views at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The Senedd is the home of National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay. Open to the public seven days a week, its distinctive design and incredible architecture attract visitors from all over the world, and in 2015 the building was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

On St David’s Day 2016 the building celebrated its tenth birthday, and as part of the ongoing celebrations we are now offering afternoon tea to visitors.

Cake stand with sandwiches and cakes. Text reads: Afternoon tea - Join us for afternoon tea at the Senedd, only £14.95 per person

For £14.95 per person you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the Oriel café, sipping Welsh tea and tucking into our freshly made scones, finger sandwiches and pastries. A number of tables on the balcony will be reserved exclusively for those having afternoon tea, so you can enjoy the outstanding view whatever the weather.

White travel mug with Senedd logo on, the Senedd's funnel in the background.To celebrate the Senedd’s tenth birthday, for this summer only a Senedd travel mug (pictured) is also included in the price of the tea.

Visitors can have a free guided tour of the building either before or after their tea, where they will learn about the building’s fascinating history, architecture and sustainability. You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd’s debating chamber.

The Senedd regularly hosts a variety of events with performers, singers, exhibitions and activities happening throughout the year so come along and see what’s happening!

 

If you’d like to book afternoon tea and a tour, call us on 0300 200 6565, email contact@assembly.wales or pop into the Senedd for more details.

Afternoon tea is available Monday – Friday 14:00-16:00, and bookings must be taken before 12:00 on the day you’d like to visit. Please inform us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

Visiting at the weekend? Free tours are available daily, and a selection of drinks and refreshments are available to purchase from the Oriel Café throughout the summer.

The Senedd is currently open:

Monday – Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

We are proud to have retained the @Autism Access Award for the second year running!

The National Assembly for Wales’s estate has been awarded the National Autistic Society’s Access Award for the second year. The Award is a best practice standard for buildings and facilities, designed to provide assurance to people with autism and their families and carers.  It demonstrates that the facilities are autism-friendly, and that there is a commitment to making sure people with autism can access them.

The Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler, and Sandy Mewies AM, holding the National Autistic Society Autism Access Award
The Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler, and Sandy Mewies AM, holding the National Autistic Society Autism Access Award

“This is yet another acknowledgement that the National Assembly takes the issue of equality of access very seriously,” said Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM.

“For democracy to truly work in Wales, its law-making institution must engage with everyone in Wales, and that means ensuring that our facilities, services and information are accessible to all.”

Sandy Mewies AM, the Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for equalities issues, added:

“The Autism Access Award demonstrates that the Assembly is committed to being an accessible venue for visitors who are on the autism spectrum.”

Below are some of the things the Assembly did in order to achieve the accreditation:

  • Created a section on our website dedicated to visitors with autism.  The section provides information links to specifically designed resources in different formats;
  • Established designated quiet areas for people with autism to rest and de-stress;
  • Ensured relevant staff received disability confidence training, which includes a section on autism;
  • Identified Autism Champions from across the organisation;
  • Established links with National Autistic Society;
  • Created a feedback form, to enable continual feedback from visitors with autism.
Logo for the National Autistic Society Access Award
Logo for the National Autistic Society Access Award

Planning to visit the Assembly? Check out our website or contact us by phone, on 0300 200 6565, or email us at mailto:contact@assembly.wales.

npower visit

On Wednesday, 21st November 2012 members of the npower group were given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the engagement process with the National Assembly for Wales. Having been given an introduction to the work of the Assembly and its remit by Kevin Davies, Outreach and Liaison Manager, the group were escorted on a tour of the Senedd and sat in on the Enterprise and Business Committee’s meeting on Integrated Public Transport.

After lunch, members of the group were provided with the opportunity to view plenary, where they were able to see their field of expertise in action. Questions were put to John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, on domestic energy prices and the importance of small scale renewable energy schemes in rural Wales.

Terry Ballard, from npower’s Policy and Public Affairs Department had praised the presentations given on scrutiny and legislation provided by members of the Finance and Legislation Departments, stating that they were “particularly impressed that our visit to the plenary session coincided with questions on energy prices and Natural Resources Wales”.

“Our company is a major investor in Wales. This visit provided a useful opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the work of the National Assembly for Wales, its duties and responsibilities. We look forward to our continued engagement”.