Place Category: Feature
The smallest city in the UK, stories of saints, a stunning Norman cathedral and the magical Pembrokeshire coastline – St David’s is steeped in history yet offers a modern visitor experience with great places to stay and a range of things to do.
Although St David is said to have been brought up in Llanon, Ceredigion, he founded the monastery that takes his name on the banks of the River Alun in the 6th century. The original cathedral was a regular target of Viking marauders, eventually destroyed in 1078, with a new Norman cathedral constructed in its place. A hub for pilgrims, particularly after Pope Callixtus II declared that 2 pilgrimages to St Davids were equivalent to one to Rome, the city received many important visitors and grew rich. However, as pilgrimages fell into disrepute, so did the fortunes of St David, only really reviving with improved transport links and the growth of the tourist industry. With a beautiful Norman Cathedral at its heart, St Davids offers a spiritual experience even for non-believers visiting the area. For those looking to discover the more spiritual corners of Pembrokeshire, why not follow a Saints and Stones pilgrimage? The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park dominates this area. Whitesands Bay offers some of the best surfing in the UK, or head further north for coasteering or south to Solva for bustling harbour life. Enjoy stunning coastal walks, visiting the well of St Non, or be fascinated by insects at Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm. Browse round the shops and galleries – there’s handmade glassware, tempting ice creams, handmade chocolates or reading material from St David’s Bookshop.
ACCOMMODATION FOOD & DRINK
Camp at Glan y Mor or enjoy the youth hostelling experience; B&B at the Coach House or the City Inn, or at Craig y Mor, the most westerly B&B in Wales. You can also indulge in a hotel: The Penrhiw, Warpool Court and Twr y Felin are all well situated to enjoy St Davids. If you’re self-catering or just after a foodie treat, St Davids Food and Wine is a must, as is meat from butcher Gwyn Davies and fruit and veg from Peter’s Fresh Fruit and Veg. For the very brave, the Grub Kitchen offers a memorable place to eat…
NEED TO KNOW
Getting there: St Davids is at the end of the A487 from Haverfordwest.
Parking: Car parks at Oriel y Parc, National Park Visitor Centre; Merrivale on Pit Street for the Cathedral and Quickwell Hill; limited on street parking around the town.
Public Transport: The nearest rail station is Haverfordwest. Coastal bus services: the Strumble Shuttle (to Fishguard) and the Puffin Shuttle (to Milford Haven) serve St Davids. The Celtic Coaster covers the area local to St Davids including Whitesands Bay and St Justinians.
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