About this view
St Davids Cathedral is one of the jewels in Pembrokeshire’s crown, attracting hundreds of thousands of people every year.
The site is of obvious interest to Christian pilgrims but is also popular with other sightseers including photographers and walkers visiting the breathtaking St Davids peninsula.
Together with the neighbouring Bishop’s Palace, the Cathedral is a must-see for anyone visiting the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
St Davids and the Cathedral Close make up one of 14 Conservation areas in the National Park. Since 1988 hundreds of buildings have benefited from Conservation Area grants provided by the National Park Authority and Cadw, with the aim of conserving the exterior fabric of historic buildings.
St Davids City - Short Walk
St Davids Cathedral is built on the site of a monastery founded by St David the Patron Saint of Wales, who is said to have been born on the cliff top at nearby St Non’s, which is named after his mother.
St David is believed to have died in around 589AD but work to build the present Cathedral did not begin until 1181. The building endured a turbulent early history, involving a collapse of the tower, damage by an earthquake and even an attack by Parliamentary soldiers.
Work to restore the Cathedral was started in the late 1700s by John Nash and was continued in the 1800s by Sir George Gilbert Scott.
More recent work at the Cathedral includes a new cloisters and the restoration of St David’s Shrine, which was completed in 2012.
The neighbouring Bishop’s Palace, which was largely built during the time of Bishop Henry de Gower in the 1300s now lies in ruin and is run as a visitor attraction by Cadw.
St Davids’ reputation as a centre for pilgrimage began in around 1123, when Pope Calixtus II is said to have decreed that two pilgrimages to St Davids would be equal to one to Rome.
Queen Elizabeth II conferred city status to St Davids in 1995, making it Britain’s smallest city. Today St Davids has a population of around 1600 people.
How to get there
St Davids can be reached via the A487, which runs from Haverfordwest in the south east and Fishguard in the north east.
As Britain’s smallest City, St Davids can become very congested with traffic during busy periods so we would recommend you travel by bus. Service bus St Davids 411, *Puffin Shuttle 400, *Celtic Coaster 403, *Strumble Shuttle 404 (*seasonal, hail & ride)
Visit Pembrokeshire Greenways for timetables and more information about Coastal Buses.
For further information on service buses see the timetables on Pembrokeshire County Council’s website.
If you do travel by car, there are several seasonal pay and display car parks around St Davids, including the Merry Vale near the Cathedral.
For up to date travel information contact Traveline Cymru on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.traveline-cymru.info.