Events in St Davids
Which of these great celebrations will you join in with?
For such a little city, smallest in the UK in fact, there’s plenty going on in St Davids to keep you occupied right throughout the year. With music festivals, food festivals, sporting events, agricultural celebrations, seasonal markets and more – there’s something to suit everyone.
Whitesands New Year’s Day Swim
Kick start the heart and the New Year’s resolutions on the first day of the year by putting your bravery to the test in one of Pembrokeshire’s annual open water swims. For us here in West Wales, the festive season isn’t complete until we’ve dipped our toes in the water. Many take to the shores in swimming costumes or even the odd fancy dress, but we won’t blame you if you need to don your wetsuit before you dive in – it’s definitely a little chilly! Nothing a warming cuppa can’t put right though.
St Davids Day Celebrations
Seeing as this undersized city shares its name with our Patron Saint of Wales, it’s no wonder that the 1st March celebrations are something special. Each year, you can expect a whole number of events taking place on and around St Davids Day to commemorate and celebrate Dewi Sant. Of course, no matter what you end up doing to celebrate – the traditional Welsh dress is always encouraged!
Culminating in an impressive Annual Dragon Parade, the community comes together to build a large red dragon as seen on the Welsh national flag in a series of free drop-in sessions at Oriel Y Parc. This dragon is then paraded down the streets towards Cross Square for all to see. You can also take part in the Annual Cawl Competition at City Hall where participants compete for the title of The Best Cawl in St Davids or browse the local Market which usually takes place on Cross Square.
For the athletes among you, you can sign up for the Ras Dewi Sant. This sporting event offers three different run distances; a full marathon, a half marathon and a 10k. Taking place every year on the Saturday falling around the city’s St David’s Day celebrations, the Ras Dewi Sant follows a coastal path route offering unbeatable views of the St Davids peninsula and the surrounding coastline.
Other celebrations often include historical exhibitions courtesy of St Davids & Dewisland Historical Society, choral recitals and concerts in the Cathedral and pilgrimages to/from St Non’s Chapel which was the birthplace of David.
St Davids Cathedral Festival
Each May, St Davids Cathedral becomes the stunning backdrop for a ten-day musical celebration. With a programme made up of classical and contemporary performances, this is a wonderful event to attend whether you’re a keen music enthusiast or simply wanting to soak in the incredible setting. Past performers have included acts such as the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Haverfordwest Male Voice Choir and the Cambrian Consort of Viols.
It’s recommended to buy your tickets in advance as this successful festival is popular year on year, visit the St Davids Cathedral Festival website to purchase yours.
St Davids Arts Festival
If seeing an open-air theatre performance of Shakespeare is on your bucket list, this is the festival to help you check it off. Around the end of July and early August, you can book tickets to see a fantastic theatre group act out one of the Bard’s well-known plays in the spectacular setting of Bishop’s Palace, the ruined building located in the valley just behind the Cathedral.
Taking place in the evening, make sure to bring along a blanket and a picnic to make the most of this incredible event. Chairs are provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own camp chairs if you prefer. You might also want to bring a little change with you to enjoy a hot chocolate during the interval.
The open-air Shakespeare performances take place every other day or so for a couple of weeks. On the days when these performances aren’t taking place, you can head to Mathry Community Hall where the same acting troupe take on a play aimed more directly at children. To find out more and to see the latest updates on this event, visit their facebook page.
Really Wild Food Festival
The Really Wild Food Festival has grown to be one of the peninsula’s best-loved festivals since its first year back in 2004. Towards the end of May each year around the bank holiday, this successful event has returned to our calendars after taking a short break for a couple of years and as you would expect from a food festival, there’s certainly lots to get your teeth into!
Using a different location in and around St Davids since its beginning, the Really Wild Food Festival has been known to take place in some truly charming countryside settings. No matter the destination, this event promises some truly appetising local produce, freshly made snacks, tasty treats and more. You can also expect some refreshing drinks to watch down all those edible fancies.
Christmas in St Davids
St Davids is magical enough, but visiting at Christmas is something pretty special. Get into the festive spirit with a day spent shopping at Oriel Y Parc’s Christmas Market where you can not only sample a glass of mulled wine but browse handmade gifts and superb local produce. Head to City Hall for the Annual Festival of Trees where you can leaf through a whole selection of uniquely decorated trees before casting your vote for your favourite.
Join in with the Christmas festivities at St Davids Cathedral where they host a number of special events throughout the season. Attend carol services, advent processions, choral evensongs, communion and more. For a particularly memorable night, attend the First Eucharist of Christmas service which takes place late on Christmas Eve.