The ruins of this once magificent mediaeval building are adjacent to the Cathedral but are in the care of CADW the body responsible for the care of ancient mounments in Wales.
Aerial photographs of the site showing both the Cathedral and the Palace give some idea of the layout and extent of what must have been the largest building project in Wales when it was built in the 13th Century.
The Palace walls and windows still bear traces of the beautiful and intricate craftsmanship that went into its construction.
There is a small information/museum and shop and currently an admission charge of £3.50 (with concessions).
Free to residents of Wales aged over 60 and under 16 . Full details on CADW Website
St Davids Cathedral sits in a valley right next to the Bishops Palace. The present Cathedral dates from the 12th Century but incorporateds later features such as the carved Renaissance ceiling in the Nave.
It is free to go into the Cathedral but donations are welcomed for the upkeep of the building. There is a lovely little gift shop inside the Cathedral where you can buy a photography permit for £1.50.
After you've had a good look round the Cathedral don't forget to have a look at the cloisters where you will find a lovely restaurant and coffee shop.
Situated next to the majestic Cathedral in St Davids you will find the elaborate remains of the Bishops Palace. Here you can get an idea of the wealth and status of these medieval men of religion.
Bishop Thomas Bek undertook significant new building work on the site but it was Bishop Henry de Gower who was responsible for virtually the entire Palace as we see it today. This legacy consisted of two great ranges. The East range was his private domain while the South range was much grander and built for sylish entertaining.
The Palalce is under the care of CADW (Welsh historic Monuments). There is a lovely little gift shop at the entrance to the Palace where you can pick up a guidebook for a small fee.
While walking around the Palace, I was enthralled by the numerous carved corbels, chequerboard stonework and wonderful arcaded parapets which incidentally can also be seen on the remains of Swansea Castle. The vaulted undercroft underneath the Palace are a joy to see and great to explore (and play hide and seek)!!
There is a small admission charge with concessions available.
In the Centre of St Davids is Cross Square where there is a large cross up some steps which makes a nice view point for the city.
The square is the heart of the City which is really only the size of a Village. It was granted city status by Queen Elisabeth II in 1995 because of the presence of its great Cathedral
The Bishops Palace is situated within the walled perimeter of the cathedral precincts.
The surviving buildings date from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and were the work of Bishop Thomas Bek (1280-93) and Bishop Henry de Gower (1328-47).
The Vaulted under crofts are spectacular as is the arcaded parapet which is one of the glories of the site and has been much copied in various castles like Swansea.
Adult -£3.00, concession - £2.60, family - £8.60
Entry is free for Welsh residents aged 60 and over or 16 and under who have a valid pass. Or for members of CADW
01.04.09 - 31.10.09: Daily 9.00 - 17.00
01.11.09 - 31.03.10: Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 16.00, Sunday 11.00 - 16.00
Around 589 to 601 AD St David died but had founded a monastery on the site of the cathedral, between 645-1097 St. Davids was attacked and destroyed many times with Vikings killing Bishop Morgenau in 999 and Bishop Abraham in 1080
After the Norman invasion of 1066 William the conqueror visited St. Davids to pray but in 1089 Davids shrine was vandalized and stripped of its precious metals
By 1123 St Davids had received a "privilege" from Pope Calixtus II after he had officially recognized David as a Saint in 1120, and St Davids became a centre for pilgrimage. In 1131 Bishop Bernard dedicated a new Cathedral but the Present Cathedral was not begun until 1181 but it was not easy going as in 1220 the New Tower collapsed and in 1247/1248 the building was damaged by an earthquake.
Over the years the building has of course been added to and surrounding buildings have been constructed, the most famous of these would be the Bishops palace which was constructed in 1328 - 1347 and St Marys College in 1365
In the 16th C the Holy Trinity Chapel was built (1509-22) and the Nave roof and ceiling was constructed in 1530-40 and in 1540 Edmund Tudor's tomb was placed in front of the high altar.
Much restoration has been done over the years and in 1793 the West Front rebuilt by Nash
Sir George Gilbert Scott restored the building in 1862-77 and in 1901 the Lady Chapel restored followed by the remaining eastern chapels
New Cloisters were built between 2004 and 2007 along with a fantastic new restaurant
There is no fee to enter the cathedral (but of course donations are appreciated) but if you want to take pictures inside there is a £1.50 fee (which you have to pay at the shop)
This new gallery and landscape interpretation centre, opened in November 2008 must be one of the most up to date, ecologically sustainable and accessible buildings of its kind in Wales. It was introduced to us by a relative with whom we were staying as The Graham Sutherland Gallery and I anticipated a couple of hours wandering from room to room. This was not, for me, the most enticing of prospects - having a rather selective approach to his work.
When we arrived, on a rainy July day, in the middle of a heat wave, I recognised the modern building at once from the media coverage of its opening. I need have had no fear
of a tiring visit..
The two main exhibition rooms on the lower floor, although having a sense of spaciousness are quite small. The first houses the changing range of themed exhibitions - the current one on Landscape - uses a wide range of local material together with exhibits from Amgueddfa Cymru, the National Museum of Wales.
During our visit a group of primary schoolchildren around 9-10 years old were having an educational session with a brilliant young teacher. Later I saw them in the classroom donning painting aprons ready to paint their experiences.
The Sutherland Gallery has an interesting and well displayed collection of the artist’s Pembrokeshire work, with examples of some of his contemporaries, and furnishings from Sutherland’s studio.
On the first floor/entrance floor are the Information Centre and Class Room,and toilet facilties. There is also a very good Café and excellent shop selling worthwhile goods, books, educational toys and small souvenirs .
There is a Video on the website.
St. David's makes an excellent base for holidaymakers with its proximity to some of the best beaches in Wales, including the popular surfing beach at Whitesands Bay and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Park for walkers.
There isa good choice of accommodation in the village and immediate vicinity from camping , B&Bs, hotels and self catering accommodation
The Tourist Information Office at the top of High Street in the village is helpful and has a good supply of local maps, brochures and details of accommodation.
The Tower Gatehouse is the only one that survives of the four that were originally built into the 15ft high wall that enclosesd the original 14thC. Cathedral.
The Gatehouse is now home to a museum which provides an insight into the History of the Cathedral and of St David..
Among the treasures on display is a a collection of religious stones and artefacts are a number of carved stones decorated with celtic designs.
The adjacent Bell Tower dates from the 13th Century and houses a bell of 10 rings.
The Cathedral and it's associated building were protected by a great wall with fortifications, The gateway that led to the village is a great example of how these fortifications would have looked.