Visiting the smallest city in Britain might not sound like a worthwhile trip, but St Davids is special and has plenty to offer. Situated alongside some of the most beautiful stretches of the Pembrokeshire coast, and with some fascinating history to explore, the city has a bit of everything for everyone. Here are our favourite things to see and do there:
St. Davids Cathedral
This is the most ancient cathedral settlement in Britain, dating back to the 6th century. If there is anything which is a 'must-visit' during your time in St Davids, it's this cathedral.
Of special interest are the Tower Gate House and Bell Tower. Within the former you'll find the lapidarium which includes a collection of religious stones, and below that you'll find the bishop’s dungeon.
This such an impressive building and is definitely worth a visit, learn more here - stdavidscathedral.org.uk
St David's Head coastal walk
Just a few miles away from St Davids you can enjoy the St David's Head coastal walk, which takes you along some of Pembrokeshire's most spectacular coastal headland. Now managed by the National Trust, this area is safe to explore but still retains a wild and untouched feeling which is really special. At almost 4 miles long the walk isn't quite what you'd describe as straightforward, but the terrain is pretty easy to navigate and you don't need to worry about any particularly steep climbs. The route is circular and typically you'll start and end at Whitesands beach car park, which we'd recommend as you don't want to get lost! National Trust signs are along the route so following them is the way to go, learn more about this walk here - nationaltrust.org.uk
Speaking of the coast at St David's, this was actually where coasteering originated - in the late 1980s a local outdoor activity centre started to take groups out along the cliff coastline to take part in this activity. The idea is to move along the coastline on foot or by swimming, without the use of boats, boards, or other any other craft. It can be a very dangerous activity if attempting it on your own, but there are lots of groups in Wales who can take you out coasteering in and around the St Davids area. Some of the most popular companies include TYF, Celtic Quest, and Be Adventurous.
St Davids is a great Welsh location for coasteering, but you can do it anywhere you find suitable rocky coasts, including many of the locations that we highlighted in our Pembrokeshire Coast Path guide.
We've mentioned this beach already, but it absolutely deserves its own spot - Whitesands Beach is stunning and is definitely worth a visit during your time in St Davids. Often described as the best surfing beach in Pembrokeshire, it's also a Mecca for anyone who loves catching waves. But even if surfing isn't your thing, you can still enjoy a lovely stroll down the sand backed by the hill of Carn Llidi. A great day out (in our humble opinion) is a walk North along the beach, then jumping onto the aforementioned St Davids Head coastal walk.
During the summer months, you'll probably be best leaving your dog at home sadly as there are restrictions, but for the rest of the year your furry friend is welcome to explore the beach alongside you!
St Davids Bishop's Palace
This medieval palace might not be as popular to visit as the nearby cathedral, but we think it almost matches it in terms of beauty and wow factor. Built more than 700 years ago, it was a medieval canon lawyer called Henry Gower who spent vast amounts of money to create such a grand-looking building. Visitors are often surprised how small the site is when they arrive, but there is still plenty to explore and appreciate here. The passageways are fascinating to walk through, but the real treat (if you can brave it) is the walk up the narrows stairs to the top of the building where you can enjoy views of the Palace, Cathedral and gardens. Definitely visit this lovely palace, especially if you've already been to the cathedral. Learn more here - cadw.gov.wales
Dr Beynon's Bug Farm
After all this grandeur and beauty, the thought of going to look at some bugs might seem a little downmarket. But stick (insect) with us here! Dr Beynon's Bug Farm is much more than just a collection of bugs, and if you've got kids with you then it's a great way to spend a few hours during your time in the city (it's a mile away, but close enough). At the farm you'll get the chance to interact with creepy crawlies like stick insects, beetles and ants (the ants in the museum are amazing). It's a proper hands-on experience which often surprises people. If you're feeling super brave then you can try some food at the Grub Kitchen, the UK's first edible insect restaurant. Not for us thanks. Learn more here - thebugfarm.co.uk
St Non's Chapel and Holy Well
This beautiful and slightly mysterious site is said to be the birthplace of St David. Although the ruin cannot be accurately dated, we know that St Non's Cross (a large standing stone on the site) dates back to somewhere between the 7th to 9th century, although it is not known where the stone came from. The ruins are not much more than just a few crumbled walls, but it is the views across St Non’s Bay which are really worth the trip - they are breathtaking. Keep an eye out for the well on the path leading up to the chapel - it is believed to possess curative powers. We think this is well worth a visit, learn more here - cadw.gov.wales
Places to eat and shops to visit
St Davids is a small place but it is still a city, so you've got a few great places to eat and enjoy a drink which are popular with tourists and locals alike. St Davids Gin & Kitchen is a popular joint serving up locally inspired dishes and their own premium gin. The Bishops is another place which is particularly popular with locals and has a beautiful interior. And if you're looking for something a bit different, Saffron is a wonderful Indian restaurant.