Special places of faith to visit in West Wales

West Wales, home to our patron St David, has a fascinating religious heritage with much of it still possible to enjoy. Here are some suggestions for special places to visit across the area.

  • St David's Cathedral in St Davids, Pembrokeshire
    St David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire by seentwistle

    A site of continuous daily Christian worship since St David founded his mission here in the 6th century. The current cathedral, started in 1182, and the adjacent ruined 14th century Bishop’s Palace do real justice to the accolade of being the most visited faith heritage sites in Wales. The ancient tradition of Pilgrimage is still strong here and St David’s shrine was fully restored in 2012 with a new pilgrimage centre opening in 2013.

  • St Non's Well in Pembrokeshire
    St Non's Well, Pembrokeshire

    St Non's Well is a place of pilgrimage for many and without doubt one of the most sacred wells in Wales. Located on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and part of the complete Wales Coast Path. It is said to have sprung up when the Blessed Non gave birth to St David.  The healing water from the well was thought to be particularly good for eye problems. A modern chapel next to the well is kept open for visitors. 

  • The ruins of St Dogmael's Abbey
    St Dogmael's Abbey, Pembrokeshire

    St Dogmaels in North Pembrokeshire is well known as the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, it is also home to the Abbey that gave the village its name. Once famed for its impressive medieval library, its poignant ruins now stand alongside a Victorian church. Its story is told at the adjacent Coach House Heritage centre and café that also has an impressive collection of 9th and 10th century Christian stones.

  • Rooftops of Caldey Abbey on Caldey Island
    Caldey Abbey on Caldey Island, Pembrokeshire

    Open to visitors Easter to October, a short boat ride from Tenby will bring you to Caldey Island where Cistercian Monks still live and worship in a striking Italianate Arts and Crafts style Abbey built in 1906. Not only can visitors explore the lovely island complete with an historic old Priory, lighthouse and lovely beaches, but also purchase the fine fragrances and chocolates made by the monks. 

  • Interior of Burnett's Hill Chapel
    Burnett's Hill Chapel in Martletwy, Pembrokeshire

    A rare surviving early Methodist chapel that is now also used as an unique venue for live music gigs. Burnett's Hill Chapel has been kept open for all to enjoy, the chapel was built in 1812 just a year after the Methodists split from the church and has survived almost unaltered. The story of the local coal miners who built the chapel for their own worship is told in the chapel porch.

  • The ruins of Lamphey Bishops Palace
    Lamphey Bishop's Palace, Pembrokeshire

    Where medieval bishops went to get away from it all! Lamphey's is a lavish country palace credited to the dynamic Henry de Gower, a 14th century bishop of St Davids. This was country living at its best. In a great state of preservation with a visitor centre and regular guided tours, just keep an eye out for the singing nuns who reputedly still have a ghostly presence there.

  • St Govan's Chapel in Pembrokeshire
    St Govan's Chapel in Pembrokeshire

    St Govan was a 6th century saint who lived in a tiny fissure in the cliff. The holy spring that used to rise near the chapel became known for is curative properties and in the 14th century a tiny hermit’s cell was built for the pilgrims. A steep flight of steps, that legends say cannot be accurately counted by mortals, takes you to the chapel halfway down. A truly splendid  setting but definitely not for the faint hearted!

  • Tomb Effigies of Mansel Family inside Margam Abbey, part of Margam Country Park
    Effigies of the Mansell family in Margam Abbey, Swansea Bay, Mumbles & Gower

    A fabulous collection of 28 Christian stones from the Roman era up until medieval times,including several famous cart wheel crosses of the 10th and 11th centuries, housed in a sweet old church schoolhouse. Margam Abbey itself was a Cistercian Abbey that after three hundred years of neglect was rescued by the Talbot family in the 19th century and has never looked better.

  • With views rolling out to the cliffs and the sea, St Andrew's is the most authentic late Georgian example of a simple Anglican church in the south. Approached by a wooded lane and floating in a sea of ferns, its simple and dignified Georgian interior with the painted and paneled pulpit, reading desk and box pews is hugely atmospheric and feels totally untouched by time

  • Exterior of St Teilo's church
    St Teilo's Church, Carmarthenshire

    The original home of the Llandeilo Gospel Book, a beautiful 8th century illuminated Biblical manuscript, which contains within its margins some of the earliest surviving examples of written Welsh. Removed to Lichfield in the 11th century, a digital copy of the book is now available at St Teilo's for visitors to enjoy once more at its original home.

  • St Cenydd's Church in Llangennith, Swansea
    St Cenydd's Church in Llangennith, Swansea by Paula J James

    Take a short detour from the Wales Coast Path to visit the Gower Peninsula’s largest medieval church, St Cenydd’s, which dominates the coastal village of Llangennith.  The church, part of the Gower Church trail, dates back to a 6th century llan or churchyard and retains its original footprint.  Step inside to find a carved effigy of a 13th century knight, presumed to be one of the local De la Mare family, knicknamed  ‘Dolly Mare'.