With its ornately carved roof and a Norman nave, St. Davids Cathedral, Cathedral Close (tel. 01437/720199; www.stdavidscathedral.org.uk), is a magnificent example of medieval religious architecture. Its reliquary contains what are supposed to be the bones of St. David. The nave, a product of 3 centuries of craftsmanship, is a place of medieval beauty. The choir stalls, from the late 15th century, have witty, even lighthearted misericord carvings. Visitors are welcome at the cathedral, open daily from 8:30am to 6:30pm. During the months of July and August, there are regular tours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday starting at 2:30pm. Tours last about 90 minutes. Tour costs are £4 for adults, £2.50 seniors, and £1.20 for children 6 to 16. Tickets should be purchased in the Cathedral bookshop in the nave before joining the tour. Donations are accepted to help with the upkeep of the building.
Associated with the cathedral, the ruins of Bishop's Palace, Cathedral Close (tel. 01437/720517; www.cadw.wales.gov.uk), stand across the meadow and river, with the gatehouse, battlements, and curtain walls showing how even such a place needed fortification in medieval days. An outstanding sight is the elegant arcaded parapet that runs along both main walls. You can visit the palace ruins; note especially the fine piscina at the east end of the chapel's south wall. The site is open April to May daily 9:30am to 5pm, June to September daily 9:30am to 6pm, October daily 9:30am to 5pm, and November to March Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4pm and Sunday 11am to 4pm. Admission is £3 for adults; £2.60 for seniors, students, and children; and £8.60 for a family ticket.
The cathedral is no longer Roman Catholic, nor is it Church of England. It is a member of the Church of Wales. When St. David was canonized in the 12th century, the pope declared that two pilgrimages to St. Davids were worth one to Rome, and three pilgrimages equaled one to Jerusalem. You can make such a pilgrimage today; although the pope's promise may not have been honored since the days of Henry VIII, we can promise you an interesting and educational tour of St. Davids Peninsula.
Porth Clais, at the mouth of the River Alun about 1.6km (1 mile) south from St. Davids, was the seaport used by travelers to Ireland and elsewhere for centuries before and after the birth of Christ and then by pilgrims making their way to St. Davids. In medieval days it became a coal port, and limekilns were used to reduce limestone to slaked lime for use on fields, in building, and for household purposes. The restored limekilns can be seen.
A little eastward around the bay on a headland is St. Non's Chapel, now in ruins, supposedly built on the spot where St. David was born. It is dedicated to his mother. St. Non's Well is there also, reportedly in full flow. Its waters were said to have healing properties in the past. The site can be viewed 24 hours a day without charge.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.