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A Cathedral City near the northwest Pembrokeshire coast

St Davids City Centre

St Davids or in welsh ‘Ty Ddewi’ is Britain’s smallest city; it is set in the North West of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

In the 6th century, David founded a monastery and church at Glyn Rhosyn (Rose Vale) on the banks of the River Alun and is his final resting place. The city is named after him and he is also the Patron Saint of Wales.

St Davids is the smallest city in terms of population and urban area but the smallest city by local authority boundaries is the City of London.
This association between having a cathedral and being called a city was established in the early 1540s when King Henry VIII founded dioceses. This status was lost in 1886 but at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, restored in 1994.
The present cathedral was built by the Normans and contained many relics, including the remains of St David. It was visited by many pilgrims, many of whom were nobles and kings, including William the Conqueror in 1077.
Pope Calixtus II decreed that two pilgrimages to St Davids were equivalent to one to Rome. Evidence of the Pilgrims Way can be seen in several places notably the Pilgrims Cross in Nevern Nr Newport a rough cross hewn out of the rock with a very smooth stone underneath, where the pilgrims stopped to pray during their journey. Where they knelt down to pray has been worn smooth.

St Davids is now a thriving tourist destination, other attractions have grown around the Cathedral and Bishops Palace. Art galleries abound and the iconic building Oriel y Parc Gallery which is a Class A landscape gallery, run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in conjunction with National Museum of Wales and often houses the works of Graham Sutherland and has prestigious exhibitions annually.

There are many excellent walks in the area and the links below are no exception. This is a short walk estimated about an hour, starting from the National Park Car Park at Oriel y Parc, I’m sure it will be longer as you will stop to look at the views, Ramsey Island, St Nons and more. Caerfai (PDF)

Another shorter interesting walk is The St Davids City Walk and the route follows wooded Merry Vale. The small crag above the valley is called Clegyr Boia, an outcrop of very old volcanic rock. It is said to have been a stronghold of St David’s adversary Boia, a Celtic chieftain. David managed to convert Boia’s followers, but not the pagan chief himself. He died a follower of the old faith and it takes you to sites other than the more well-known Cathedral and Bishops Palace. St Davids City (PDF)

If you feel like some fun or fancy eating something a bit different visit:

Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm

Food, farming, research and conservation are all equally important.

This is an attraction with a difference not only can you sample a bug burger or even GFC grub fried chicken.

They also have an educational programme and give lectures and workshops to show how important bugs are in our lives.

The farm supports a herd of Welsh Black cattle and crops such as barley and wheat are grown. There is a wide range of wildlife habitats including wildflower meadows, marshy grassland and heath.

Whitesands Bay

An award winning Blue Flag beach and surfing destination situated outside St Davids and overlooked by Carn Lidi to the north. With a shop, cafe, toilets, seasonal lifeguard and a camp site for tents. No dogs from 1st May to 30th September.

Ramsey Island

RSPB owned Ireland that abounds with breeding seabirds, large breeding colony of grey seals, porpoises and dolphins. If you wish to land on the island you can get there with who operate from Easter to 31 October.

Map showing the location of St Davids

More things to do in Pembrokeshire