Always on the go

Cheshire based mum of 3 sharing our favourite family adventures

10 Things to Do with Kids in St Davids

Visiting St Davids in Pembrokeshire with kids? Check out our parent’s guide from guest blogger Sarah, on the best 10 things to do for families in and around Britain’s smallest city:

Hello! I’m Sarah, my family of four (kids aged five and eight), live close to Always On The Go’s Lisa in rural Cheshire. But with my husband being from St Davids we spend nearly all of our school holiday time in Pembrokeshire, seeing family and working remotely.

St Davids in Pembrokeshire, Britain’s smallest city, is one of Wales’ best places to holiday with kids. Blue-flag beaches, accommodation to suit every budget, kid-friendly attractions and exciting new food outlets create a UK destination which families return to for generations. Of course the biggest pull is the coastline, with its pristine sands, protected paths and beaches patrolled by RNLI lifeguards.

But for visiting families, even those whose holidays are blessed with blue skies and warm temperatures; it’s helpful to have a few activities up their sleeve for non-beach days.

1. Oriel Y Parc

The St Davids visitor centre (Oriel Y Parc) is a treasure trove of local art and culture, with a hefty focus on families. There’s a schedule of activities laid on in the school holidays, such as watercolour and craft workshops in the Discovery Room. And if you’re visiting during May half term 2024 be sure to pop into the The Lost Words exhibition from St Davids-based artist and children’s writer and illustrator Jackie Morris. It’s a magical room filled with art and information on British wildlife, with plenty to enthuse and inspire children (and their grown-ups) of all ages.

Also within Oriel Y Parc is an excellent family-friendly cafe with colouring books, stories, high chairs and a children’s menu. Alongside is a shop with pocket money spends, children’s literature and gifts. If you’ve brought sandwiches then head through the trees to the picnic area, and be sure to balance along the dragon made from rocks. Accessibility is good, and there’s a paid-for car park just over the zebra-crossing.

2. Pointz Castle

After a day on the beach nothing beats an ice cream from Pointz Castle. This family-owned farm and ice cream shop just outside Solva, and a short drive from St Davids, is the perfect pit-stop for families.

There’s free parking, plenty of places to sit both inside and out, as well as local crafts, gifts and take-home tubs if you’ve got a freezer in your self-catering accommodation.

The ice cream is legendary – think Italian-style gelato heaped high onto waffle cones in unique flavours; all served within view of the resident dairy herd.

3. The Bug Farm

St Davids resident Dr Sarah Beynon has created a very special attraction for families just outside of the UK’s smallest city; The Bug Farm.

Certain to inspire young ecologists, it’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon in Pembrokeshire thanks to its exhibits and activities, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and (the highlight) the up-close sessions where children can handle the insects.

Be sure to leave time for lunch at the Grub Kitchen with its children’s menu, in-sight play area, and edible insects!

4. Hilton Court

If you’re staying on the peninsular with kids it’s a good idea to check out the events happening at Hilton Court, just a short drive from St Davids.

As a wedding and events venue the gardens and tearoom aren’t always open. But you’ll often find activities taking place during the school holidays – like May half term’s open garden days and theatre workshop.

This dreamy setting of ponds, forest trails, woodland, lawns and gardens is a lovely place to spend a day and for the kids to burn off some energy in a safe and wholesome environment.

5. St Davids Cathedral

You can’t visit Britain’s smallest city without exploring the feat of architecture which is St Davids Cathedral. Thankfully it’s an activity the kids can join in with, located right in the heart of St Davids.

On warm days the kids can paddle in the shallow River Alun which separates the cathedral from The Bishop’s Palace (a great place to play knights and dragons); grab an ice cream from Nook and sit on the bank by the giant bee hives; or walk through the valley for an amble around the St Davids Community Garden.

If the weather’s unkind, the cathedral has an excellent refectory cafe run by another local success story, MamGu’s Welshcakes, which has a tasty menu and colouring sheets. In the holidays there are often activities put on inside the cathedral specifically for kids that are a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

6. St Davids RNLI Lifeboat Station

The UK’s ‘saving lives at sea’ emergency service has a long and storied history in St Davids. The lifeboat is a huge part of the community, with its own station at St Justinians and a lifeguarded beach at Whitesands. In 2023 alone the lifeboat launched 25 times, and has saved 15 lives in the past decade.

It’s a tricky walk down to the lifeboat station from where you’ll need to park– so younger children may need to be carried. And with parking limited, an easier way to visit is via the Celtic Coaster bus. Once you’re inside there’s a small RNLI gift shop and a platform which you can walk around to see the Tamar-class lifeboat, as well as information about the station’s maritime history.

Watching the boat launch is a truly awe-inspiring sight. But as you’ll have no way of knowing when there will be an emergency, the best way to see it is by following the crew on Facebook where they post details of their upcoming training exercises. You can then grab yourself a spot on the coast path and watch as the volunteer crew splashes down the slipway!

7. Solva

Just a ten minute drive from St Davids is the beautiful harbour village of Solva, a spot consistently voted as one of Wales’s finest places to visit.

There is plenty to do for free here, including crabbing from the harbour wall, playing in the newly-renovated riverside park and walking through the forest into the valley.

When you’re hungry the Cambrian Inn has a great menu of pub classics, or there’s a small cafe in the harbour perfect for some post-SUP tea and cake.

8. Sea Môr Aquarium

Inspire budding marine biologists with a visit to the Sea Môr Aquarium. Within the Ocean Lab on the seafront at Goodwick (just outside of Fishguard and around a 25 minute drive from St Davids), this interactive experience gives families insight into the diversity of Welsh wildlife in the waters around the Pembrokeshire coast.

Tickets for children are just £6 each, but there’s an excellent gift shop and cafe that are free to enter, with a small (but very sweet) area for babies and tots, and microscopes for bigger kids to look at marine slides. Outside is a play area by the sea, and on occasion you can spot marine mammals in the harbour – last year visitors in January were spoilt with the sighting of a humpback whale!

9. Melin Tregwynt

Granted this is a place more for the grown-ups, but if you’re in the area then a visit to Melin Tregwynt should certainly be on your to-do list.

This working woollen mill has a cafe with an excellent menu – which sometimes opens for a superb Sunday lunch – as well as a shop filled with craft items and the mill’s trademark Welsh fabrics.

The kids can see the mill in action and play by the stream. And you’ll often find during peak times that there’s live music. The beach at Abermawr is very close, so Melin Tregwynt makes for an ideal place to refuel before or after a walk on this stony stretch of coast.

10. St Davids Escape Room

Yes you read that correctly – the St Davids Escape Room! Call or check their socials before you go, as opening times vary, but in past years this puzzle solving activity and low ropes course for families just outside St Davids has proved a hugely popular activity for visiting families, particularly those with tweens and teens.

I hope my top 10 things to do for families around St Davids has been helpful for your next visit to this glorious corner of the British Isles.