Disclosure: This post was created in collaboration with the National Churches Trust. Please follow the latest guidelines for travel in Wales during the pandemic and plan your visit later.
There’s a hidden history in Wales that predates many of the epic stone castles the country is famous for. These sacred spots form the foundation of Welsh towns and villages, but also appear in some of the most unusual and dramatic settings.
For fascinating tales and folklore, ensure your next trip to Wales includes some of the Churches and Chapels dotted across the Welsh landscape. Do you know about the Legend of Gelert, the faithful hound of a medieval Prince? Or how about the holy well which was believed to have curative powers?
Remember, you don’t need to be religious to appreciate the awe-inspiring architecture, atmosphere and ancient history retained in these hallowed locations.
St David’s Cathedral, ©crowncopyright2020
The National Churches Trust has compiled a list of new experiences which combine some of Wales’ most beautiful and sacred spots.
The hand picked experiences are detailed on the Explore Churches website where you can create an account and start saving and sharing your favourite itineraries.
From willow weaving or dark sky stargazing, to pilgrimage walks and kayaking, these church-orientated tours in Wales have also been designed for varied interests and activity levels. Here’s a taste of some of the captivating tours you can book on to…
To discover the art of bell ringing head to St Giles Church in Wrexham where you can climb the historic bell tower and capture views across the town and countryside. Whilst you’re in the area, visit the nearby All Saints Church in Gresford, the bells are featured in an old poem by an unknown author listing it as one of the seven wonders of Wales.
The bells of All Saints Church ring out regularly for special events and services, and on Tuesday evening’s local members gather to practice their bell ringing. Be sure to make time to explore the local nature trails too, like Plas Power and Nant Mill Woods.
A kayaking tour along Pembrokeshire’s rugged coastline takes you past cliffs and waterfalls, and through dramatic sea arches and caves.
You’ll also fuel up with lunch in an ecolodge and retrace the footsteps of Saints and medieval Pilgrims on a tour of four rural churches.
Secret Histories of Plough Chapel in Brecon
Home to Southern Britain’s highest mountains, the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park is also where one of the oldest independent chapel congoragrations in Wales resides.
Beneath Plough Chapel’s humble exterior is an expertly carved tiered gallery, ornate painted ceiling and a water powered organ. A guided chapel tour followed by tea and Welsh cakes is an inviting prospect before or after climbing the local peak, Pen-y-Fan.
Newbridge-on-Usk near Newport
An enlightening experience awaits for those embarking on a tour of the beautiful Usk Valley.
Beginning in the market town of Abergavenny or Newport, experienced local historian John Vigar shares tales that may induce tears and laughter as you tour four churches in this scenic river valley.
It’s a race against time to visit St Cwyfan’s church on a small tidal island off the Anglesey coast.
This 24 mile bicycle tour takes you across scenic wetlands and sand dunes and includes a replenishing Welsh Afternoon Tea experience.