St Davids is the UK’s smallest city, both in terms of its size and population. Whilst this fact alone holds its own curious attraction for tourists, St Davids also a great base from which to explore the incredible coastal areas in this beautiful part of Wales.
If you only have 48 hours to check out this tiny city and its surrounding areas – you’re not going to want to miss these highlights.
A visit to St David’s Cathedral at dusk
Work on the present cathedral as it stands began sometime between 1180 and 1182, and is the culmination of centuries of rebuilding and expansion. Constructed in the Transitional Norman style using fine-grained, purple Cambrian sandstone, it is a breathtaking sight, and hugely popular with tourists; sunset is my favourite time to visit.
A dip in the sea at Whitesands Bay
One of my favourite childhood beaches, this is also one of the best surfing beaches in the country. On busy days there are canoeists, surfers and body boarders all competing for the best waves. The rock pooling potential here is also pretty great.
At some of the busiest times (and when it’s too cold for a dip) I prefer to hide out on the dunes with a picnic.
A short drive to the Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy
This former slate quarry was active up until 1910, before being abandoned and flooded. Now it’s a scenic spot for all sorts of adventure sports, including diving, coasteering and wonderful walks. The Red Bull cliff diving competitions have also been held here a few times.
- St Justinians Lifeboat Station – This is the departure point for the Ramsey Island Boat Trip, where you can spot Atlantic Grey Seals and Harbour Porpoises along with a multitude of seabirds. I love this trip, and you really do see a lot on every voyage.
- Solva Harbour – A pretty place to stop for a cuppa or a pint, Solva is a tiny village with a lovely selection of cafes, restaurants and pubs to explore. There are also art galleries, delis and gift shops to browse, and a good selection of B&Bs, guesthouses and self catering accommodation. Look out for sustainably farmed Atlantic Edge Oysters on sale from Solva Crab Shack at Bay View Stores; and stop by Mamgu Welshcakes to try the local’s favourite afternoon snack.
Where to stay
- Porthclais camp site – Chosen by the Independent Newspaper as one of fifty best camping sites in the British Isles. One of only two in Pembrokeshire, covering 24 acres for tents and one field of 5 acres for touring caravans and camper vans.
- Penrhiw Hotel – The luxe option, Penrhiw sits within a short walk of St Davids Cathedral and Whitesands Bay. You can stay on a bed and breakfast basis or take exclusive hire of the whole thing if you’ve got money to spend.
- Air BnB – There are a number of fab Air BnB properties in or near St Davids, like this gorgeous stone cottage that sleeps six people. If you’ve never used Air BnB before, sign up with this link to get a discount off your first trip.
What to eat in St Davids
- Head to Grub Kitchen – the first restaurant in Wales that explores the practice of eating insects as part of an overall sustainable ethos.
- Tuck into the mussels & chips from The Farmers Arms or a crab sandwich from The Bishops.
- Pick up some dressed crab from the nearby Solva Seafoods and eat in on the beach as the sun sets.
- Try St Davids Kitchen for a focus on hyper-local fare; maps on the wall show the exact number of miles their produce has travelled to reach your plate – like their Solva lobster which comes dripping in wild garlic butter.
- You’ve heard of farm to fork; how about cow to cone!? Grab an ice cream from Pointz Castle dairy, and eat it whilst admiring the herd.
What to drink in St Davids
- St Davids Gin (from the same owners of St Davids Kitchen) is made using locally foraged botanicals, with some of the profits going to the RSPB.
- Beers from new, sustainable venture the Old Farmhouse Brewery can be found in the local shops and pubs all over town; I like the cwrw clos – a twist on a classic bitter, with balanced character, hints of burnt sugar, cedar and spicy citrus with subtle honey notes.
Know any other places I should be checking out in this part of town? Let me know in the comments below 🙂