St Davids may be the smallest city in Britain but there are plenty of things to do in this historic place.
This pretty city was awarded its city status in 1995 and is named after the patron saint of Wales, who lived here way back in the 5th century.
Set within the spectacular Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, discover this pretty city with its quaint streets, cute cafes, brilliant boat trips, beautiful boutiques and gorgeous galleries. Take a look at our full guide to things to do in Pembrokeshire for even more holiday inspiration.
Take your very own pilgrimage to this special place and stay in one of our hand-picked properties for a holiday to remember in St Davids.
St Davids cottages
⭐ Getting around
⭐ Stay in St Davids
Attractions in St Davids
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions to visit in St Davids.
St Davids Cathedral
Founded by St David himself and dating back to the 6th century, the eye-catching St Davids Cathedral is well worth a visit. There’s nowhere else in Britain where there is a more ancient cathedral settlement.
Pope Callixtus II said that two trips to St Davids was equal to one trip to Rome. St Davids soon became the centre of pilgrimage for the West. Many pilgrims have travelled to St Davids to pray for help with life’s difficulties. Today there is rising interest in the idea of pilgrimage for the benefits of health and well-being, gaining perspective, connecting with creation, and as a response to faith.
Explore this special place and you’ll find St David's Shrine, a magnificent organ, a 15-foot-high gatehouse and bell tower, stunning stained glass, ornate ceilings, a treasury, a library and much more.
St David died on 1st March in 589, known as St David's Day, and his last words were “Be joyful, keep the faith, do the little things you have seen me do”. The phrase ‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd’, or ‘Do the little things in life’, is a popular maxim in Wales even now.
Refresh at The Refectory, a tranquil retreat to enjoy afternoon tea at the cafe or a three-course meal at the restaurant. The lovely folk here have been serving high-quality, healthy, organic and locally sourced food, ales and ciders for generations. Imagine mouth-watering, award-winning cawl, delectable desserts and special Sunday roasts.
The Bishop’s Palace
This magnificent medieval palace was created by Henry de Gower, elected bishop of St Davids, who had a passion for architecture.
Henry turned a building fit for ‘servants and animals’ into a posh palace, hosting feasts and welcoming distinguished pilgrims in the showy great hall.
With walls raised in rubble and covered with painted plaster, he stuck to a budget and used expensive carved decoration for the main focal spots with the most impact. The local stone used was Caerbwdi sandstone with its magnificent purple colouring giving a unique, elegant look to this majestic building.
Henry’s skills didn’t end at crafting The Bishops Palace; he also remodelled the nave, choir and tower of the neighbouring cathedral!
Oriel y Parc Gallery
For more visual treats in Pembrokeshire visit Oriel y Parc Visitor Centre and Gallery, home to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and displaying art from the national collection and exhibitions inspired by the varied landscapes of Pembrokeshire.
The visitor centre and gift shop sell a range of products to help you remember your special holiday in Pembrokeshire. From handcrafted items such as stoneware vases and exclusive designer jewellery to art supplies, cards and locally made jams, you’ll be sure to find a token for your trip to St Davids here.
In the St Davids Room, you’ll find paintings, prints and etchings. Venture to the Discover Room and discover 3D artworks including jewellery, ceramics, score and glass.
Refresh tired feet at the Pilgrims Cafe at Oriel y Parc for some tasty treats.
Top restaurants in St Davids
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to grab a bite in St Davids.
For somewhere extra-special check out the stylish Blas Restaurant, a two-AA-Rosette restaurant that specialises in fresh local produce, creating seasonal dishes to wow. Imagine afternoon tea, indulgent cocktails, flowing champagne, wines and delicious desserts.
For a refreshing treat, grab an ice cream from the oh-so-sweet Bench ice cream parlour with so many delicious flavours to choose from you may just be there all day!
For traditional pub grub with a family-friendly setting check out The Bishops. You can’t miss this centrally-located pub which offers a traditional menu along with some seasonal specials in a warm and welcoming rustic setting.
For something completely different try The Grub Kitchen - yes, it is what you think, an insect restaurant! Mixing quality cooking with entomophagy (eating insects), you’ll be set for an unforgettable dining experience. If you don’t fancy chowing down on some tasty bugs then non-bug food is also available.
For a truly local farm-to-fork experience try St Davids Gin & Kitchen. Taste their own plentiful premium gins accented with botanicals hand-picked around the St Davids Peninsula. We’re talking fantastic local seafood, glorious Welsh beef and burgers, and tasty traditional Sunday lunches.
Pssst… locals will also tell you to try out The Sloop for delicious locally produced food and a refreshing drink overlooking the harbour, and The Shed Bistro for fresh local fish and chip dishes in nearby Porthgain, a charming fishing harbour.
The stylish Cambrian Inn in pretty nearby Solva is also perfect for a relaxing dining experience.
For more foodie inspiration, visit our full guide to St Davids restaurants, cafes, pubs and more!
Shopping in St Davids
Discover some treasures in St David’s quirky shops, mainly clustered around the old cross - you can’t miss it! The seasonal local market is also hosted here on Thursdays between April and September. Discover deli delights and fresh local produce to whip up a delicious treat.
Beaches near St Davids
There are so many beautiful beaches in Pembrokeshire but the gems that lie close to St Davids have to be Whitesands and Caerfai Bay.
Take a trip to wonderful Whitesands, a vast expanse of golden sand popular with surfers, overlooked by the imposing Carn Llidi hill. Whitesands is a must-visit for a memorable photo opportunity.
Nearby Caerfai Bay is a south-facing sheltered suntrap with an idyllic sandy beach at low tide. Explore the magical rock pools and enjoy panoramic views across St Brides Bay.
Image by Visit Wales
Activities in St Davids
Image by Voyages of Discovery
Go on an adventure with a boat trip to Ramsey, Skomer or Grassholm Island, departing from the old RNLI Lifeboat Station at St Justinians. Thousand Islands Expeditions and Voyages of Discovery also run exhilarating boat trips including whale and dolphin trips and fishing trips.
Image by Voyages of Discovery
See if you can spot some seals, puffins, gannets, porpoises, dolphins or whales on your sea expedition with an island trip or leisurely cruise.
TYF Adventure offers exhilarating activities around St Davids. If you fancy trying out kayaking or climbing at Porthclais, coasteering at St Nons or surfing at Whitesands then they’re perfectly placed to make sure you have a life-changing adventure to remember!
The Blue Lagoon
Nearby Abereiddy is home to a flooded slate quarry named The Blue Lagoon due to its beautiful blue colouring. It’s the local playground for adventurous coasteerers who leap and jump from the cliffs into the deep lagoon.
Walks around St Davids
A scenic walk along this section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is particularly special. A circular day walk starts from the National Park Visitor Centre towards Caerfai Bay and clockwise along the coastal path to St Justinians or Whitesands Bay before heading back.
Enjoy breathtaking views of Ramsey Island and the picturesque St Nons Chapel perched on the edge of Wales, with spectacular sea views. St Nons is said to be the birthplace of St David during a violent storm and is named after his mother.
Take the Celtic Coaster shuttle bus, sit back, relax and enjoy the coastal views. The Strumble Shuttle runs between Fishguard and St Davids via a picturesque coastal road, while the Puffin Shuttle runs from Haverfordwest, Milford Haven and St Davids and takes in pretty stops along St Brides Bay, such as brilliant Broad Haven, lovely Little Haven and the great expanse of Newgale Sands.
Stay in St Davids
Inspired to visit St Davids and discover all that Britain’s smallest city has to offer? We have plenty of nearby cottages in St Davids for you to relax in, from sea-view apartments to countryside retreats. After a full day of discovery, kick back, relax, and enjoy all the comforts of home and more in this extra-special corner of Wales.
St Davids cottages
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.