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Hotels in St Davids

Sited on the River Alun in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, St Davids is Britain's smallest city and the final resting place of St David, the patron saint of Wales.

History

David was apparently born to the south of the city in about 500AD. During the 6th century he founded a monastery and church on the banks of the River Alun, where a traditionally very strict order thrived for many centuries. The original cathedral at St Davids was destroyed by Viking raiders in 1087 and the building that you visit today was created by the Normans. It is a treasure trove of holy relics, including of course the remains of St David. This has made the city a place of pilgrimage through the ages, visited by kings and nobles such as William the Conqueror, Henry II, Edward I and Queen Eleanor. The city grew wealthy from visiting pilgrims, but as this flow began to fade after the Middle Ages, so the fortunes of St Davids declined. By the 19th century it was in a sorry state, neglected and largely forgotten. In the age of efficient transport links and tourism, St Davids has risen again, to become a favourite destination for those drawn by its rich ecclesiastical history and architecture, the uniquely beautiful setting and by the warm welcome offered in its restaurants, cafés, shops and galleries.

Coastline and Beaches

From St Davids hotels you can step out onto the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and enjoy some of the loveliest coastline in Europe. There are many unspoilt and quiet beaches to explore too. Caerbwdi is a glorious little south-facing cove of red sandstone that reveals a good stretch of sand at low tide. Quiet, sheltered and a great spot for fishing, some of the stone that built St Davids Cathedral was quarried here. Nearby Caerfai is a great bathing spot and there are some exciting rock pools to explore when the tide is right. The distinctive purple sandstone was, like the stone of Caerbwdi, used in the construction of the Norman cathedral. A short distance from St Davids is Porthmawr or Whitesands, which is often regarded as one of the world's most idyllic beaches. It is a haven for surfers and has a lifeguard during the summer months, so a safe place for everyone to sample the very best of the Pembrokeshire coast.

Artists and Galleries

There is a strong tradition of creativity and a thriving artistic community around St Davids. When you experience the light, colours and landscapes here, you'll understand why. There are some excellent galleries to visit in the town, such as Oriel-y-Felin Art Gallery, which exhibits a diverse selection of local and invited artists. From paintings and ceramics to glass and bronze there is something here for serious collectors or those simply seeking a tempting affordable original. Internationally renowned award-winning illustrator and author Jackie Morris has also made this evocative and inspiring area her home.

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