Your Guide to Exploring the Senedd: Tours, Plenary, and More!

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The Senedd, Wales’ dynamic Parliament building, is more than just a place for politicians. It’s a hub for history, education, and engaging experiences open to all! Whether you’re passionate about politics or simply curious about Wales’ governance, the Senedd has something for everyone.

Witnessing Democracy in Action

Dive into the heart of Welsh politics by observing live plenary sessions! You can have a front row seat to watch Plenary Sessions at the Senedd and witness democracy in action.

Plenary is the meeting of the whole Senedd which takes place in the Siambr, the Senedd’s debating chamber. It’s where Members of the Senedd (MSs) debate and vote on important issues affecting Wales.

Plenary meetings are held twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and are free and open to the public to come and watch from the public gallery (seating is limited, so arriving early is recommended).

You can also watch Plenary meetings live or watch past meetings on demand on Senedd TV. There is also a transcript of all Plenary meetings that you can find by looking for The Record of Proceedings, available on the Senedd website.

Outside of the Senedd building

Unveiling Wales’ Past

If you’re looking for something free and interesting to do when in Cardiff, explore the stories of Wales’ people and places through interactive displays and historical artefacts.

The Senedd’s frequently changing exhibitions are usually shown directly above the debating chamber. Just across the way from the Senedd is the iconic Pierhead building, which also houses free Senedd exhibitions. The building itself is steeped in history as it was built in 1897, and is a Grade I listed building.

Examples of exhibitions include showcasing the history of Tiger Bay and the Docks from 1880 – 1950 and the design of the Senedd building.

We recommend that you download the free Senedd app for interactive features and information about the building and exhibitions.

Outside of the Pierhead building. It is tall with vibrant red bricks and a clock on what looks like a tower.

Activities and Events

Delve deeper into the Senedd’s story with a free guided tour. Learn about the building’s unique architecture, its historical significance, and its commitment to sustainability. Book your free tickets for tours and events in advance, especially during peak times.

The Senedd also hosts talks and workshops on various topics related to Welsh politics and governance. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events.

The Senedd is also very family-friendly. There’s a small play area for babies, toddlers, and young children. On weekends, there is a craft table in the lobby. During half-terms, there is a range of free activities for everyone to enjoy.

During the festive seasons, the Senedd is included in the Cardiff Bay Snow trail, which includes a range of significant waterfront partners such as The Coal Exchange and Giovanni’s. Find 8 characters hidden around Cardiff Bay, all with a letter. Unscramble this to create a word, either in English or Welsh, to be in with the chance of winning a raffle prize. Previous prizes have included a hotel stay and bowling!

Wooden funnel and roof inside the Senedd building

Planning Your Visit

Cost: The Senedd is open to the public for free!

Opening Times: Their general opening hours are Monday – Friday between 9:00am and 4:30pm. On Saturdays and bank holidays, opening times are 10:30am – 4:30pm. Last entry is at 4:00pm. Please check the Senedd website to double check ahead of your visit.

Accessibility and Inclusivity: The Senedd is fully accessible, with ramp access, lifts, and hearing loops available. They also offer assisted changing facilities and gender-neutral washrooms, which have free period products in all toilets. There’s also two quiet rooms which can be used by asking at reception.

Food and Drinks: Refuel after your explorations at the Senedd cafe. Enjoy a selection of hot and cold drinks, light bites and cakes and desserts, all while soaking in the stunning views of Cardiff Bay.

Security: The Senedd has a security procedure in place. To access the building, you must go through a security check and follow the instructions of the security staff. You should allow enough time to go through the security checks.

The Senedd aims to be neurodiverse-friendly. If you find queuing or security checks difficult, please ask to speak to security staff who may be able to arrange that you go through the security search quickly. The Senedd has created a guide which describes the process of going through security and other aspects of the building that may cause increased sensory issues.

Photograph of the Pierhead and Senedd building next to each other

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