St David's Cathedral
Across the river from the cathedral, this atmospheric ruined palace was begun at the same time as the cathedral, but its final,...
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Ma Sime's Surf Hut
Ma Sime's Surf Hut rents wetsuits, surfboards and body boards, and can arrange surf lessons with Whitesands Surf School.
Even though St Davids is a bit of a tourist trap, you'd be hard-pressed finding a more authentic country pub. There's real ale and...
Refectory at St David's
Part of the ongoing restoration of the cathedral cloister, this stylish modern café has a lunch menu with a choice of sandwiches and hot...
Lonely Planet review
Hidden in a hollow and behind high walls, St David's Cathedral is intentionally unassuming. The valley site was chosen in the vain hope that the church would be overlooked by Viking raiders, but it was ransacked at least seven times. Yet once you pass through the gatehouse that separates it from the town and its stone walls come into view, it's as imposing as any of its contemporaries.
Built on the site of a 6th-century chapel, the building dates mainly from the 12th to the 14th centuries. Extensive works were carried out in the 19th century by Sir George Gilbert Scott (architect of the Albert Memorial and St Pancras in London) to stabilise the building. The distinctive west front , with its four pointed towers of purple stone, dates from this period.
The atmosphere inside is one of great antiquity. As you enter the nave , the oldest surviving part of the cathedral, the first things you notice are the sloping floor and the outward lean of the massive, purplish-grey pillars linked by semicircular Norman Romanesque arches, a result of subsidence. Above is a richly carved 16th-century oak ceiling, adorned with pendants and bosses.
At the far end of the nave is a delicately carved 14th-century Gothic pulpitum (screen), separating it from the magnificent choir . Check out the mischievous carved figures on the 16th-century misericords (under the seats), one of which depicts pilgrims being seasick over the side of a boat. Don't forget to look up at the colourfully painted lantern tower above (those steel tie rods around the walls were installed in the 19th century to hold the structure together).
In a recess in the Holy Trinity Chapel at the east end of the cathedral is the object of all those religious pilgrimages – a simple oak casket that contains the bones of St David and St Justinian. The chapel ceiling is distinguished by superb fan vaulting dating from the early 16th century.
Accessed from the north wall of the nave the Treasury displays vestments and religious paraphernalia crafted from precious metals and stones. Just as valuable are the treasures in the neighbouring Library , the oldest of which dates to 1505.
The St David's Cathedral Festival is 10 days of classical music performances, starting on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May. Many other concerts are performed at the cathedral throughout the year.