With a rich, Celtic history, Wales is the home of myths, legends and sacred destinations. There are so many incredible sacred places in Wales to discover.
If you love learning more about history and spirituality, why not plan a trip centred around some of Wales’ ancient church buildings and sacred sites?
Wales has a reputation for impressive scenery and musical language. However, far less is known about the churches and historic chapels that speckle its beguiling landscapes.
You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the heritage and beauty of Wales’ churches. Discover a plethora of historic architecture and intriguing mythology when you visit the sacred sites in Wales.
Disclaimer: written in collaboration with the National Churches Trust.
Incredible sacred places in Wales
Spiritual journeys can be really meaningful and inspiring, even if you aren’t religious. This could be because “spiritual” means different things to different people? Perhaps there’s a faith element or an interest in mythology and legends?
Either way, pilgrimages and spiritual trips are growing in popularity as a travel trend. There are now many holidays and experiences offering mindfulness, meditation and spirituality, to enrich your soul and travel experience.
Spiritual journeys in Wales
For those seeking a spot of divinity on their travels, Wales boasts a huge range of spiritual sites. Here, you’ll find chapels carved into cliff faces, woodland churches, cathedrals and tiny island churches.
A trip to explore Wales’ many churches and chapels will allow you to experience where living history and legend come together in ancient places.
You can also combine spiritual spots with majestic mountains, dramatic coastline, glorious castles, Celtic routes and folklore.
Spiritual sites in Wales
Wales’ sacred history and sites deserve to be showcased properly. The National Churches Trust has launched a new set of experiences combining the country’s hallowed places and beauty spots. It is dedicated to supporting and maintaining the UK’s church buildings.
The Explore Churches website is where you’ll find a range of tours and experiences in sacred spaces. Explore the spiritual sites and historic churches across Wales’ landscape. You can also discover hidden histories and participate in outdoor activities on a range of bookable tours.
Ancient sites in Wales
Chose from a range of unique experiences in Wales on their website, all designed to promote the best ancient sites in Wales.
Go kayaking along the Pembrokeshire coast, or try off-road cycling, dark-sky stargazing and sustainable willow-weaving workshops. There’s a huge range of tours and experiences to choose from that the whole family will love.
Spiritual tourism in the UK
The advantage of spiritual tourism is that your travel budget is directly benefiting the communities you visit. Supporting churches and chapels through tours and donations can help to sustain historic buildings and protect unique heritage.
Moreover, it can also help maintain community services such as food banks and support groups. Supporting churches through tourism is the epitome of a sustainable and ethical travel choice.
If you’re looking to embark on spiritual experiences on your next trip, check out my list of sacred places in Wales.
Discover the sacred sites you must visit and what you can do there, on a variety of unique Explore Churches experiences, that you can book online.
Pilgrimage walk on Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Take a guided walk on the last stretch of an ancient pilgrimage route on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Book a Pembrokeshire pilgrimage experience and discover coastal views, Celtic chapels and crosses.
It’s a 6 mile meditative walk runs from Solva to St David’s that includes unique features such as St Non’s Chapel, with its holy well and Celtic cross.
This historic route was as important as the Camino de Santiago in medieval times. It’s now becoming a popular pilgrimage route once again for those seeking a ‘Celtic Camino’ in Wales.
This tour is organised and managed by Guided Pilgrimage, a not for profit travel company providing a range of Celtic pilgrimage experiences in West Wales.
Tidal churches and tea in Anglesea
Bike around the beautiful isle of Anglesey on a spectacular cycling tour experience. You’ll cycle through rural lanes and visit serene churches surrounded by the sea.
Trip highlights include a ride out to visit the iconic St Cwyfan’s, a tiny, Grade II*-listed island church. It’s situated upon a circular stone-walled island that’s only accessible at low tide and is definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Wales.
Finish your spiritual biking journey with a Welsh afternoon tea at Riverside Arts & Crafts cafe.
Dark Sky Stargazing at Capel y Ffin
Stargazing is a growing travel trend and is known as a new form of mindful meditation amidst the dark skies. It can be beneficial for wellness to find a sense of silence and contemplation, whilst connecting with the vastness above.
Wales has some of the best dark sky sites in the UK, thanks to low light pollution in rural areas. Navigate the stars at dark sky site Capel-y-ffin in the Black Mountains, on a magical dark skies experience with Dark Sky Wales.
Gaze upon the cosmos in an atmospheric churchyard, right in the heart of rural Wales. In this captivating experience, you’ll learn how to use binoculars, telescopes and navigate star maps with expert astronomers. Experience the awe-inspiring vastness of star-filled skies above peaceful, rural Wales.
Ancient churches and countryside in the Usk Valley
The Usk Valley is home to rolling countryside and historic churches full of splendour and stories. Amongst the undulating landscapes, there are ancient churches that date back centuries.
There’s also plenty of castles, ruins and fortifications in the area that will intrigue and delight history fans. Additionally, spirituality and religious sites are also a big draw in this area. Join a Usk Valley experience and explore tranquil countryside and historic, Welsh churches.
The churches selected for this experience cover a wide range of styles and periods. Delve into church architecture and history with an experienced ecclesiastical guide.
Spiritual poetry by candlelight at St Hywyn’s
What could be more inspiring than spiritual poetry by candlelight in a beautiful Welsh church? Join a poetry experience and enjoy poetry reflection and meditation by candlelight inside St Hywyn’s church in Aberdaron.
Listen to the poems by RS Thomas, one of Wales’ greatest Welsh poets writing in English. It’s a prayerful, meditative experience by flickering candlelight.
It’s a time for stillness and reflection in a beachside, parish church that dates from the 12th century. Aberdaron is also known for pilgrimage routes from the middle ages that ran along the north and south coasts of the peninsula. Pilgrims would meet here and begin a treacherous crossing to Bardsey Island.
Pilgrims from the sea in Pembrokeshire
Combine churches, beaches and coasteering on a trip to magnificent Pembrokeshire. It’s a beguiling coastal outpost of Wales, with a long history of ancient myths and Celtic legends.
This Pembrokeshire experience will involve coasteering, kayaking and surfing around the stunning Pembrokeshire coast.
You’ll also have lunch in an ecolodge and then explore quaint churches on the fascinating ‘Saints and Stones’ trail.
This unique route takes visitors on an engaging journey through the scenic beauty of Pembrokeshire’s beaches and mountains. The tour then finishes at the iconic cathedral in St Davids, the smallest city in the UK.
Scale a medieval church tower in Wrexham
St Giles Church is a Grade I listed chuch and is one of the finest examples of ecclesiastical architecture in Wales.
Join a St Giles Church experience and take a trip to the top of the tower. Climb 149 steps up a winding circular staircase in the 135ft medieval tower. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of Wrexham when you reach the top, so don’t forget to bring your camera!
See the 300-year-old church bells up close inside the tower and learn the art of bellringing in the aptly named ‘Ringing Room’. Inside the church, you’ll find a 16th-century nave as well as ornate paintings, stained glass and restored organ.
Cycle around sacred spaces on Ynys Môn
Ynys Môn (the Welsh name for Anglesey), is home to sandy beaches, Welsh heritage and Celtic druid folklore. It’s the perfect place for history lovers, or those seeking out spiritual sites in Wales.
Anglesey the perfect place for cycling or e-biking, thanks to its relatively flat landscape. Join a sacred spaces cycling experience and enjoy spectacular seascapes and tiny rural churches on a leisurely guided tour.
Learn about the history of Anglesey and also delve into the region’s fascinating geology and archaeology. A proper Welsh lunch is included and each church visited recieves a donation, so you can feel good about supporting local communities on your travels.
Willow weaving in Llanrhian Church
Why not add a unique activity to your Wales trip by learning a heritage craft? Crafting can not only be an outlet for personal expression but it can also be therapeutic.
Join a willow weaving experience and learn traditional willow weaving, inside the ancient Llanrhian Church in Pembrokeshire. Llanrhian is thought to be early medieval in origin and has an unusual short square tower that dates back to the 13th century.
Whilst soaking up the Church’s history and stillness, you can create your very own willow basket from scratch, using willow grown organically on a local farm. No experience is required, so it’s an ideal group activity for beginners and the whole family. All equipment and materials will also be provided.
Welsh tea and tour of St Asaph Cathedral
Uncover hidden history and stories at 700-year-old St Asaph Cathedral, said to be the smallest, ancient cathedral in Britain.
Book a tea and tour of St Asaph Cathedral experience and marvel at its magnificent architecture. Here you’ll find medieval carvings, clerestory windows and ornate stained glass.
The Cathedral is a living working place of worship with a range of services throughout the week. The William Morgan bible is also located here, said to be the first bible to be translated into Welsh.
Finish the tour with homemade cakes and locally roasted coffee from the church’s on-site ‘Translators’ Tearoom’.
Welsh language history in Mallwyd
The Welsh language has faced numerous challenges to its existence over the course of history. Welsh is British Celtic in origin and was spoken in the UK before the Roman occupation.
Join a Welsh language history experience in Mallwyd and learn more about the history of the Welsh language.
On this tour, you’ll discover the superstitious world of the elusive, Mallwyd community. This is where Welsh scholar and poet Dr John Davies, upheld the faith against the Red Bandits of Mawddwy.
Dr Davies is believed to be responsible for first translating the bible into Welsh in the 17th century. On this immersive walking tour, you can learn the story of his work during times of mounting religious tension.
Discover historic churches in the Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons is known for craggy peaks and glorious landscapes, it’s also full of hidden history and culture though. Join a secret histories experience to discover the 17th century Plough Chapel right in in the heart of the Beacons.
Plough Chapel is a Grade II* historic building located in the Brecon Beacons and is one of the earliest, independent chapel congregations in Wales.
On your tour, you can explore the chapel’s remarkable interior and craftsmanship. Marvel at carved woodwork, a water-powered organ and ornate panelled ceiling that conceals a Victorian ventilation system. Finish your historic day by joining chapel members for a lovely cup of tea and Welsh cakes.
Plan your spiritual trip in Wales
To start planning your spiritual trip, visit the ExploreChurches website, where you can view all the available experiences and search for the perfect tour.
The website showcases the fascinating history and stunning art and architecture of over 500 churches across the country with suggested itineraries linking them together.
DISCLAIMER – This post was written in collaboration with the National Churches Trust.
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