The small village of Llandaff is located only about 4km north of the city centre. It now belongs to the city of Cardiff, but it still retains the atmosphere of a village, especially in the area around the cathedral.
The cathedral is very beautiful and popular, and it is the reason why many tourists go to Llandaff. Its origins go back to the 6th century, when the three Celtic saints St Teilo, St Dyfrig and St Euddogwy founded a community at this place. From these times, there is still a stone cross kept in the church.
The oldest parts of the present cathedral date from the 12th century, with additions and alterations made in almost each following century until today.
When you enter the building, the most prominent feature is the large construction in the middle of the nave - it looks like a rocket, but it is in fact an organ, with a concrete arch supporting it and a large aluminum christ in the front!
If you visit Llandaff, you should not only see the cathedral, though - a stroll through the village is also very worthwhile. There is the ruin of a Bishop's Palace, two war memorials and a city cross to see, and the quiet atmosphere is just so different to the city.
You can take a bus to Llandaff: Busses 25, 62 and 62A leave from the main bus station, there is a bus every ten minutes, and one per hour on sundays leaving at twenty-five minutes past each hour.
You can also just walk through Bute Park to get there, though - it is an easy walk of about half an hour through the beautiful green surroundings of the park.
Picture 1 to 3: The cathedral
Picture 4: Inside the garden of the Bishop's Palace
Picture 5: Walking to Llandaff
For more info, see my Llandaff page!
This impressive Cathedral (Church of St Peter & Paul, Dyfrig, Teilo and Euddogwy) is the mother church of the Diocese of Llandaff and is the seat of the Bishop of Llandaff and stands on one of the Oldest Christian sites in Britain. It's history goes back a long way to the sixth century when St Dyfrig founded a community close to a ford where the Roman road crossed the river Taff.
(He was succeeded by St Teilo and then Teilo's nephew, St Euddogwy and these three Celtic Saints remain patron saints of the Cathedral)
The present cathedral building dates from 1107 when Bishop Urban (who was the first Bishop appointed by the Normans), instigated the building of a much larger church. The original Church and separate Bell Tower which had been built some two hundred years earlier stood at the top of a small hill which overlooks the present cathedral and near to the community that lived around it. The ruins of the bell tower can still be seen.
On the 2nd of January 1941 A German land mine fell causing a great deal of damage to the Cathedral and it had to be restored and partly rebuilt.
We had a good walk around the Cathedral but did not go in as it was not open.
When I was a child I spent most Summers in Cardiff, visiting my Aunt and my cousins. In those days the cousins in Wales, Helen and Sheila, were among my best friends and some of my fondest memories are of the times I spent with them.
My cousins lived in the very pretty area of Llandaff, which is a City within a City. Llandaff itself was considered a village until the Cathedral was built, and then it was named a City in its own right.
I played here as a child - sacrilegious kissing chases around the grounds and hide and seek behind the gravestones.
In February 2008 I returned for the first time in 20 or more years. This time I was accompanied by my 21 year old cousin Sam, the son of my beloved cousin Helen. We wandered the grounds together as I took pic after pic, and saw a side of this magnificent building that I never recalled from childhood. It's an architect's paradise. As i wandered among the gravestones I saw an eagle perched on a broken Celtic cross. As I lifted my camera he flew high into the trees, later landing on another headstone which allowed me a lucky pic.
The Cathedral itself houses the very famous sculpture of Christ in Majesty by Epstein. Sadly, the doors were locked this time and I was unable to take a pic.
This place is so well woth a visit for many many reasons.
Unlike most Welsh churches, Llandaff is not named after a saint, but rather the area in which it is located. The name translates as "Church on the River Taff." Situated on one of the oldest Christian sites in the British Isles, the cathedral was begun in the 12th century but rebuilt and modified over and over again throughout its history. During a bleak, terrible night in January, 1941, a huge German mine exploded, destroying much of the cathedral and it was not until the 1960's that restoration was completed.
You could set aside a few hours to explore around Llandaff, a lovely village in its own right. The jewel in the crown of Llandaff is undoubtedly the Cathedral.
Firstly the Cathedral then. The present cathedral dates from 1107 when Bishop Urban, the first Bishop appointed by the Normans, instigated the building of a much larger church. The arch behind the High Altar was built at that time and the doorway that now leads to the St David (or Welsh Regiment) Chapel may have been the West door of Urban’s church until it was moved to its new site when the Cathedral was extended and widened and a new West front built about 1220. This West front is judged by many to be one of the two or three most notable mediaeval works of art in Wales.
A great deal of the 19th century work inside the Cathedral perished when the building was heavily damaged and the roof destroyed in the 1939-45 War. Its restoration was entrusted to George Pace who aimed at blending new work with what remained of the old and at giving the Cathedral a sense of spaciousness which it previously lacked. Pace built the Welch Regiment Memorial Chapel but his greatest achievement is the reinforced concrete arch surmounted by Sir Jacob Epstein’s aluminium statue of Christ in Majesty. Many would say Christ in Majesty is worth a visit in its self.
After a visit to the Cathedral you could go for a walk along the riverbank of the Taff, which is on the doorstep, or an explore of the village. Once upon a time Llandaff was a village, now of course, it has been enveloped by the City, but still manages somehow to maintain a bit of the old village charm. There's the black & white of some of the houses and shops on the High Street, and the Village Green.
The Brains beer ,one of Cardiff's favourites), can be had in the Malsters Arms - I can recommend the Bitter, Mild and SA (SA officially 'Strong Ale' but known to locals as 'Skull Attack'). Tea shops also available!
Llandaff Cathedral is situated to the right of the Llandaff Green, in Llandaff village. The cathedral is built on the site of a 6th century religious community founded by St. Teilo. There is limited parking available directly outside the cathedral but just around the corner in the village you will find a pay and display car park, centrally located.
As you approach the Cathedral, the main body is protected from view as it is built in a hollow and only the steeple is visible from the road. Once you begin your short walk down into the hollow the full splendour of the Cathedral is there for all to see. Even though the walk is only a couple hundred yards it is a lovely walk. Take your time if you have difficulty walking as it is a little steep on the way back.
I work fairly close to the Cathedral and although I am not a member all visitors are welcome. It is great to sit outside in the summer, or even go in for a little while and sit in silence. There are people around who can answer any questions you have. If you are in the area, it is well worth visiting.
Restored in 1882 it suffered major damage by a German landmine in an air raid. However, it has been restored since and later additions include the Welsh Regiment Memorial Chapel.