There’s nowhere quite like St Davids. More small town than bustling metropolis, Britain’s smallest city is full of great eateries, charming lanes, quirky shops and friendly locals. It’s perhaps most famous for its beautiful 12th Century cathedral, but there are other lovely landmarks to visit on a day trip. The historic locations in and around the city are some of the most culturally significant in Wales. So, if you want to come and explore St Davids’ historic sites, these are our must-see monuments.
St Davids Cathedral
Where better to start than with our most well-known site, St Davids Cathedral? Reputedly the final resting place of Wales’s patron saint, it was once one of the most important sites of pilgrimage in the world. In fact, during the Middle Ages, the Pope decreed that two visits to St Davids Cathedral equated to one pilgrimage to the Holy City of Rome.
Rather than dominating the skyline like cathedrals in most other cities, St Davids lies in a slight dip, making it even more of a delight to discover as you explore the streets. If you want some stunning pictures for your photo album or Instagram page, you’ll get plenty here – especially as you look down onto the site from the walls above. Even when the grounds are busier during the summer months, there’s a really tranquil atmosphere here. A lovely spot for a lazy post-lunch wander.
You can also go inside the cathedral to take a closer look at its stunning interior, have a coffee in the refectory, attend a service or, if you’re holidaying near the end of May, enjoy one of the many concerts that take place during the St Davids Cathedral Festival. The cathedral is famous for its incredible acoustics – so if you get the chance to listen to music or a choir, we highly recommend it! Keep an eye on their ‘What’s On’ page for more events.
St Davids Bishop’s Palace
While you’re at the cathedral, you can also take a walk around the ruins of the St Davids Bishop’s Palace that sit adjacent. Once a seat of immensely rich and powerful bishops, the palace was transformed by Henry de Gower, Bishop of St Davids, into one of the grandest buildings in medieval Wales between 1328 and 1347.
After the Reformation, it sadly fell into disrepair but the structure that remains still gives you a sense of its former glory and place in Welsh history. Again, it’s a peaceful spot to unwind and admire the architecture while buzzards circle over head and the warm summer breeze ruffles your hair.
St Non’s Chapel and Well
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a scenic 20-minute walk through leafy country lanes to the south of St Davids and you’ll discover St Non’s Chapel and Well. Perched high on the clifftops within a Neolithic stone circle on the edge of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, this is another site of huge significance in the story of St David. It’s said to be the place where his mother, St Non, gave birth to him during a savage thunderstorm around 500AD.
Legend has it that at the moment he was born a well sprang up from the ground nearby, which became the Holy Well of St Non. The waters here are reputed to have healing powers and, like the cathedral, the chapel and well are still a place of pilgrimage to this day. Even if you don’t visit for religious reasons, this picturesque (and very photogenic) beauty spot is definitely worth a visit, especially on a clear day when the coastal views are nothing short of incredible.
Book your Pembrokeshire camping holiday
One of the best things about our campsite at Rhosson Ganol is that it’s so close to St Davids. If the weather’s a bit wet, you can hop in the car or onto the bus that passes the end of the lane and you’ll be there in a few minutes. When the weather’s good, or you just feel like taking a scenic walk there and back, it’s only half an hour on foot. However you get there, it’s worth it!
For a laid-back summer getaway on the stunning cliff tops of St Davids headland, book here.