It’s the smallest city in Britain and a has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Travel writer and St David’s local Alf Alderson takes us on a tour, highlighting his favourite things to see and do in and around this miniature metropolis.
St David’s Cathedral
The 12th century St David’s Cathedral, built on the site of a much older religious buildings, is the reason for little St David’s outsize city status. Constructed from dusky purple sandstone, it’s one of Wales’ most iconic religious sites and sits tucked away in a sheltered vale beside the River Alun. Here you can learn about the history of St David’s, visit the impressive Treasury collection and enjoy home-cooked and locally-sourced food at The Refectory.
Oriel y Parc Gallery
Located in the National Park Information Centre, Oriel y Parc gallery hosts displays from the collections of the National Museum of Wales alongside work by local artists and craftspeople. It’s also home to works by abstract painter Graham Sutherland, who left a collection of his dramatic and imaginative landscapes to the people of Pembrokeshire, stipulating that the paintings should be seen in the place which had inspired them.
The Bishop’s Palace
The brooding Gothic ruins of the Bishop’s Palace lie on the opposite bank of the river from the cathedral and provide a suitably dramatic backdrop for open air theatre performances in the summer. Bishop Henry de Gower’s legacy consists of the simpler east range, his private domain, and the grander south range, built for banqueting in the great hall.
Island boat trips
Boat trips to the wild offshore islands of Ramsey, Grassholm, Skomer and Skokholm offer an opportunity to get close to the sea life that call this rugged landscape home. Catch a glimpse of puffins, gannets, porpoises, dolphins and whales and choose a 15-minute island hop or a leisurely cruise depending on how sturdy your sea legs are.
Pebbles Yard Gallery and Espresso Bar
This welcoming Pebbles Coffee Shop is the ideal spot to grab a bite to eat and take a break from exploring. Catch the sun and people watch in the courtyard with an espresso, then head inside to see works from local wildlife and landscape photographer Jacki Sime. Alongside Sime’s striking images, you’ll find Pembrokeshire’s largest collection of jewellery and a range of changing exhibits from contemporary artists and designers.