Visit St David’s Bishop’s Palace, view the beautifully decorated ruins, and learn about an important site in West Wales’ Christian landscape. Also find out how these lovely indicators of status portray the wealth and power of its former owners.
Found next to the Cathedral and Cathedral Close in the town of St Davids, the ruins consist of an east range for private occupation and a more decorative south range, which included the great hall, for entertaining guests. Some of the Palace’s greatest features are its wheel window and arcaded parapet.
St David established the original monastery in the 6th century, and the site underwent many changes throughout its history. In the 11th century the Normans created a Norman Bishop and built a defensive wall around all the structures, including the palace.
During the 13th century, major building works began, when Bishop Thomas Bek had a hall and private apartments constructed. These were possibly as a result of an impending pilgrimage from King Edward I and his queen. The majority of the ruins seen today were a result of the work of Bishop de Gower, in the early 14th century. He created a graceful and decorative atmosphere also seen in his work on the palace at Lamphey.
The Reformation brought an end to the grandeur of the site, as it began to fall into ruin through the 16th and 17th centuries and when the main bishop’s residence relocated to Abergwili. The Palace was restored between 2003-2009 by CADW, which now manages the site.
Open all year round, with seasonal opening times (9.30am-6pm in high season) and good disabled access on ground floor levels. Attractions include open air theatre performances, displays in the undercroft, a cafe and a gift shop. Charges for admission, with free entry for the disabled and under fives.
Facilities include babychanging, toilets and disabled toilets. Induction loop available. Parking is pay and display. There are picnic tables and benches and dogs are welcome if kept on a lead. No smoking permitted.