#Steddfod2018 and Geraint Thomas help bring record number of visitors to the Senedd
This year's National Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay helped bring record numbers of visitors through the doors of the National Assembly for Wales. 18,371 people visited the Senedd, which formed the 2018 Eisteddfod Maes, and 29,285 visited the Pierhead.
The Senedd and Pierhead were key venues at this year's National Eisteddfod Cardiff, which was held from 3-11 August. The iconic Pierhead building was home to Shw'mae Caerdydd, the centre for Welsh learners on the Maes, while the Senedd was home to Y Lle Celf (Arts Exhibiton) as well as the Societies Pavilions.
As part of the week's activities, members of the public were allowed for the first time ever to visit the debating chamber of the Assembly, the Siambr, with 5,595 doing so. The highlight for many was the opportunity to sit in the Llywydd's chair to have their photo taken.
Reflecting on the impact of the National Eisteddfod, y Llywydd, Elin Jones AM, said: "This year's National Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay was an unique opportunity for us, not only as a host to some of the festival's main events, but also to welcome such high numbers of first-time visitors through our doors. Up to a half of the visitors to the Senedd had never visited before. The Eisteddfod was a resounding success for us, as we engaged with people from across Wales and visitors from further afield.
From the response we received, it was obviously a valuable way to enhance people's understanding of the Assembly and their interest in our work. I very much hope that this will lead to further similar opportunities, and I look forward to seeing the National Urdd Eisteddfod here next May."
Another highlight of the week for the National Assembly was the Geraint Thomas homecoming when the Welsh winner of the Tour de France was thanked on behalf of people of Wales by the Llywydd and the First Minister on the Senedd steps, in front of cheering crowds.
Bringing democracy live to a new audience
As well as being home to the Eisteddfod's Societies Sessions, the National Assembly hosted its own sessions throughout the week, bringing topics such as women in politics and Votes at 16 to a new audience. The sessions were also broadcast on Facebook Live, allowing people from all over the world to experience the sessions.
Next year, the Senedd will be the home of the National Urdd Eisteddfod, which takes place from 27 May – 1 June 2019. The Urdd Eisteddfod is an important cultural event for young people in Wales, and comes to the Senedd in what will be the first year of the new Welsh Youth Parliament. Further details on the Urdd Eisteddfod will be announced in the New Year.
Details of upcoming events and exhibitions can be found on the 'What's On' section of the National Assembly's website, or by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and announcements.