St Davids Cathedral is the focal point of this wonderful little city. In the valley of St Davids, it gradually becomes more visible as you walk down the high street. The tower is striking against the backdrop of rolling fields and the sea beyond. It is a view that will take your breath away at sunset.
Why does St Davids have a Cathedral?
There has been a church on the site of the Cathedral since the 6th century. Saint David founded a monastery there and it has been considered a holy site ever since. In the 12th century, Pope Calixtus II declared it a place of pilgrimage. Since Saint David’s first church, the site has been through a lot, from Viking invasions to earthquakes! However, the community and worship endured and resulted in the Cathedral we see today, which was begun in 1181.
Learn more about St Davids Cathedral with this fascinating timeline of its history.
Who is buried in St Davids Cathedral?
The Cathedral is home to the tombs of many figures of Welsh history. The Welsh prince, Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd as well as his son are reputed to rest here. So does Edmund Tudor, the grandfather of Henry VIII. The latter’s presence is thought to have protected the nearby shrine of Saint David from damage over the centuries. Even the most brutal of raiders were conscious of the potential spiritual consequences of unsettling royalty.
There are many unnamed tombs within the Cathedral. Some are thought to be priests that served here and others are less clear. These are said to serve as a memory of the part the wider community have played in protecting this site.
How to get to St Davids Cathedral?
We recommend parking at the Merrivale car park at the bottom of St Davids and making your way along the lanes that lead to the Cathedral. Its grand presence is eye drawing and jaw-dropping from this direction. Alternatively, if you would rather a gradual reveal, park at the top of St Davids near the tourist information centre and make your way through the High Street and down the famous steps.
The best way to see St Davids Cathedral?
When you enter the Cathedral, the complete silence and peace within is clear. There is so much to see, but pay special attention to the ceilings of each chapel, which are beautifully ornate. Find the trumpeting angels, light a candle, and visit the shrine of St David.
After you have explored the Cathedral, move next door and visit the ruins of the Bishops Palace. Discover the tales of Bishops past, or simply wander through the ruins and imagine what rich history took place within those walls.
If you can’t wait to visit, take a virtual tour now!
St Davids Cathedral Events
Events are frequent and popular. The St Davids Cathedral Festival is an annual music event that draws people from all over the country. During the summer within the Bishops Palace, a youth arts group performs Shakespeare plays and uses the ruins as their stage. There are many other events that take place throughout the year, visit the Cathedral’s website for an up to date programme.