Why you should spend St Davids Day weekend in North Pembrokeshire

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St Davids Day is Wales’ day to celebrate its patron saint, St David, who was born and bred right here in Pembrokeshire.  A mere 8 miles north of Newgale, at the small cliffside spot of St Nons, David was reputedly born during a storm sometime between 462 and 515 AD.  He was a big deal in the nearby city of St Davids where he founded a monastery on the site of the current Cathedral that gives Britain’s smallest city its status.  He died over 100 years later on the 1st of March, and Welsh people nationwide celebrate his life and their heritage on this same day.

For the first time in quite a few years, St Davids Day falls on a weekend this year, so this is the perfect opportunity to spend the St Davids Day weekend taking in the cultural celebrations that, although a little less well-known than his friend St Patrick, makes St Davids Day so special in Pembrokeshire.

Want to know how you can join in the fun?  We’ve made a list of St Davids Day must-see and must-do activities for your stay at Newgale Holidays, so get your leek on your lapel and let’s celebrate Pembrokeshire style!

1. Wear a daffodil or leek

It’s been said that St David asked the soldiers of the ancient king of Britain to wear leeks on their uniforms to distinguish them from their enemies, the Saxons.  David was a peaceful man, however, so this theory doesn’t really stand up – all we do know about St Davids and leeks is that he liked to eat them!

The beloved daff is Wales’ national flower, and although it’s not directly associated with David, wearing this bright bloom on “Wales Day” is very popular.  Pembrokeshire based company Blas y Tir has been growing over 700,000 bunches of daffodils to large supermarkets all over the country for the last 12 years, so if you’re wearing a daff this St Davids Day, then it’s highly likely it was grown here in the fertile fields of Pembrokeshire.

2. Sample some traditional Welsh food

Cawl (pronounced ca-ool) is a Welsh stew traditionally made with lamb and chunks of swede, potatoes, leeks and carrots.  Best eaten the next day after making it, Cawl is served with a thick cob of bread to mop up the broth and a chunk of local cheese.

From your holiday accommodation, the nearest place for a lovely bowl of cawl is The Victoria Inn in Roch , where you can sample this delicious and filling Welsh delicacy along with a smooth pint of NewgAle, brewed right there on the premises. 

If it’s something sweet you’re craving, then a trip to Solva will furnish you with Wales’ favourite cake, the Welsh cake.  A bit like a flat scone and best served straight out of the oven, there’s only one place to go in Pembrokeshire to sample the traditional as well as not-so-traditional versions of this delicious treat: Mamgu Welshcakes.  If you’re more of a fruitcake lover, then they also serve bara brith (bar-rah breedd) which is made from rich fruit soaked in tea – we recommend slathering it in butter and washing it down with a local tea.  Delicious!

3. Visit St David’s hometown

This is what makes St Davids Day in Pembrokeshire so special – you’re on the doorstep of a patron saint!  Visit the famous cathedral which sits on the site of David’s original monastery, which is the final resting place for the saint’s bones.  A mile or so to the West, you can also visit his birthplace at St Non’s.  This fantastic coastal spot boasts incredible views across the peninsula, as well as a well and chapel, built to honour David’s mother, St Non.  And if you visit at around midday on St Davids Day itself, you’ll hear the Bishop of the Cathedral pray in his honour and traditional songs sung at the Cross Square in the centre of the city – a special moment not to be missed.

4. Join in with the singing

We, Welsh, are known for enjoying a sing-song, and no other day makes us want to burst into song quite like our national day (or maybe when we make it to the Six Nations rugby finals…).  If you’re visiting a local event or even a local pub on St David’s Day, then why not join in with the vocal celebrations?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to know all the words to Land of my Fathers in Welsh.  Why not try the famous rugby chant “Hymns and Arias” by Max Boyce?

“And we were singing
Hymns and Arias
Land of my Fathers
Ar Hyd y Nos (Arr Heed er Norse)”

5. Immerse yourself in the costumes and culture

Every year, the county town of Haverfordwest, a fifteen-minute drive from your accommodation, host a large St Davids Day parade.  Children and adults alike dress in traditional Welsh costume, a rural costume including the unique Welsh hat from the 1830s, and bands play traditional songs and fly the flag of St Davids – a yellow cross on a black background.  It’s a fun few hours that starts at 09:30am at the old library car park at the top of the hill in Haverfordwest and makes its way down past the old castle into the town itself.

And even if you do all or none of these activities, it’s always useful to know the lingo:

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus (deedd goil De-wee ha-peace) – Happy St Davids Day!

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