St David's (Tyddewi) is to be found on the St David's peninsula in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire south west Wales. The town, or to be correct the City, is as attractive to visitors today as it ever was to medieval pilgrims visiting the shrine of St David. The City is named after David the patron saint of Wales who according to tradition was born on the cliff tops nearby. He later founded a monastery where today the magnificent Cathedral stands. St David's Cathedral has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for many hundreds of years and must be visited if only for the stunning architecture of the Nave and its unique sixteenth century Irish oak ceiling. Adjacent to the cathedral stand the magnificent ruins of the medieval Bishops Palace.
The town itself though small has more facilities than might be expected, and offers both a Marine Life Centre and the National Trust's St David's Visitor Centre with information on National Trust properties throughout the county. The village square, Cross Square is a pleasant meeting place for both locals and tourists. The central gardens offer a chance to sit and watch the world go by. Browse one of the many galleries or enjoy refreshments in the tea gardens.
Each May and June for nine days the cathedral is host to a feast of classical music and in late summer in St David's town itself there is an annual festival that celebrates food and countryside crafts with cookery demonstrations, tastings, local foods and crafts.
St David's Cathedral: Built upon the site of St David's 6th century monastery, St Davids Cathedral has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for many hundreds of years and remains a church serving a living community. For nine days annually in May and June the cathedral is host to a feast of classical music at the St Davids Cathedral Festival under the artistic direction of Timothy Noon, the cathedral organist. The perfect acoustic and stunning architecture of the Nave, including its unique sixteenth century Irish oak ceiling, provide a concert venue unrivalled in Wales.
St David's Bishop's Palace: Imposing palace within the defended perimeter of the cathedral precincts. The surviving buildings date chiefly from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, particularly the work of Bishop Thomas Bek (1280-93) and Bishop Henry de Gower (1328-47). It is de Gower's celebrated arcaded parapet, which is one of the glories of the site.
St David's is also a centre for those who prefer a more active holiday with local companies offering training or simply equipment hire for sea kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, climbing, and coasteering (jumping off cliffs into the ocean). Or you may take a boat trip to Ramsey Island RSPB Reserve with it's dramatic scenery and abundant wildlife. Another company offers wildlife adventures around the islands with opportunities for dolphin and whale watching.
The whole of the St David's peninsula is steeped in history and the county is dotted with Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stones, healing wells and tiny chapels. To the north west there is Castell Henllys the site of an iron age fort, that has been excavated and huts rebuilt to represent the living conditions of the iron age inhabitants. Close to Fishguard is the village of Nevern and the ancient church of St Brynach's. The tower is post Norman and there are many outstanding early stones including a 10th-early 11th Century Celtic Cross. In the churchyard there is a also a bleeding Yew tree that periodically weeps a thick blood red sap.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path passes within a mile of St David's with beautiful walks from St David's Head through Whitesands Bay beach, and on round Point St John, and Point St Justinian with panoramic views across Ramsey Sound to Ramsey Island, and on past Porthlysgi Bay and Carreg Fran to St Non's Bay. To the south is St Bride's Bay and the award winning beaches of Newgale Sands, Broad Haven and Little Haven with the magnificent estuary of Milford Haven just a few miles further south.
Caerfai Bay Beach: The nearest beach to St Davids is at Caerfai Bay. The beach has a sandy beach with excellent water quality (2008). It nestles in a small rocky cove between spectacular cliffs. The beach is located on the west coast of Pembrokeshire just a mile south from St David's. The beach is popular for swimming, sea-canoeing and sea-angling. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs above the beach and has lovely scenic views of the cliffs and seabirds.
Whitesand Beach: Whitesand Beach in St David's Bay is located between St David's Head and Point St John near St David's. The fine white sandy beach curves north towards Trwynhwrddyn and on toward the rocky headland of St David's. This westerly facing beach is one of the best surfing beaches in Wales. The beach is also popular for swimming, windsurfing and canoeing, with beach zones for safety.