The Senedd

Address: Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA, Wales
Telephone: +44 845 010 5500

- Free


The heart of an independent Wales.

Besides the Welsh signs and place names, Cardiff largely behaves like any other city in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland. That is until you arrive at the Senedd. Wales’s very own house of parliament, it’s the very heart of a devolving country.

Its quirky architecture was a source of hot debate when the Senedd first opened for business on St David’s Day, March 1, 2006. Many argued its concrete and railed entrance resembled football terraces while other people disagreed with its wavy wooden roof saying it looked like a floppy fisherman’s hat.

I actually think the building has settled into the bay’s landscape really well. I’m not sure about their claims that the wooden roof doesn’t need treating for 100 years; perhaps it’s the gentle fading of the roof that’s helped it blend into the area.

It’s what’s inside that counts. Once you and your bags have undergone a high-security X-ray check, you can help but marvel at the inner architecture. The huge windows and great use of space are highlighted by the wood and iron structure. The social areas have a respectable but vibrant buzz about them, and the public gallery, complete with TVs to zoom in on faces and headphones to hear Welsh politics in motion, is an enlightening look into the progress of a proudly independent country.

Value for money

Price advice

The Senedd is free to visit.

Expert tips

The best time to visit the public gallery is Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons as all 60 Assembly Members will be in attendance for their weekly meetings.

You can actually take a tour right this instant by visiting the website and getting an insightful virtual view.

Recommended for

  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • Mature travellers
  • Education
  • People watching
  • Design and architecture