Celtic monks first settled Caldey Island (Ynys Pyr), a couple of miles offshore from Tenby, in the sixth century. This community may have been wiped out in Viking raids, but in 1136 Benedictine monks founded a priory here. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, the island was bought and sold until 1906, when it was again sold to a Benedictine order, and subsequently to Reformed Cistercians, who have run the place since then.

A short woodland walk from the island’s jetty leads to its main settlement: a tiny post office, the popular Tea Gardens and a perfume shop selling the herbal fragrances distilled by the monks from Caldey’s abundant flora. The narrow road to the left leads past the abbey to the heavily restored chapel of St David, whose most impressive feature is the round-arched Norman door.

A lane leads south from the village to the old priory, and the remarkable, twelfth-century St Illtud’s church, which houses one of the most significant pre-Norman finds in Wales, the sandstone Ogham Cross, under the stained-glass window on the south side of the nave. It is carved with an inscription from the sixth century, which was added to, in Latin, during the ninth. The lane continues south, climbing up to the gleaming white island lighthouse, built in 1828, from where there are memorable views.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Wales features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

11 Apr 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
Here be monsters: on the trail of Teggie in Wales

Here be monsters: on the trail of Teggie in Wales

David Atkinson goes in search of the elusive Teggie – a monster rumoured to live in the waters of Bala Lake, Snowdonia.  The mist descends like a slow ma…

02 Mar 2017 local_activity Special feature
8 great alternative UK city breaks

8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explore…

22 Feb 2017 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month