The rocky little St Govan’s Chapel tucked into the rocks on the Pembrokeshire is a lovely little spot along the coastline and worth visiting. This chapel has a fascinating story behind it and you can visit the chapel on a short walk directly from the car park, or make this into a longer hike.
Below you can find everything you should know to help plan your visit to St Govan’s Chapel.
Overview of St Govan’s Chapel
This one of a kind chapel with a magical history. The story goes that in the 5th or 6th century, a Pembokeshire saint named St Govan was pursued along the coastline by some pirates. As he ran, a crack opened in the cliff above him allowing him to climb inside to hide. Marks on the rock supposedly show where his ribs left marks as he squeezed through the rocks. He lived in the cliff for a while, eating food from the ocean and drinking from a nearby sacred spring.
While living in the cliffs, he frequently rang his magic bell to warn people of the pirates. Eventually, the pirates returned and stole the bell only to die shortly after in a storm. The bell was returned to St Govan and encased in the middle of a large rock to keep it safe. When St Govan tapped the rock, the bell would sound 100 times louder.
Today you can visit the rock, the chapel that was built in the crack, and make a wish for luck.
The existing chapel was built in the 13th century and was rediscovered in 1966. Beneath the Chapel is supposedly a maze of caves carved into the rocks.
St Govan’s Chapel is now owned by the National Parks and is not part of the church.
How to Get to St Govan’s Chapel
St Govans Chapel is easy to find on google maps. Drive through the town of Bosherston and drive to the end of the road to find the St. Govan’s Car Park. The car park is just a few minutes walk from the chapel and St Govan’s Head.
To get to St Govans Chapel, head towards Bosherston and keep driving through the village. If you put Saint Govan’s Chapel Carpark into your Google Maps and follow the directions the end of the road will bring you to the St Govan’s car park which is very handy and is only minutes away from the Chapel and St Govan’s Head. Below you can see a map of St Govan’s Chapel.
Short St Govan’s Chapel Walk
From the carpark, you can walk directly down to the chapel where it is nestled in the rocks. Since you will de descending to get there you go down about 50 steps. Note that the steps are often slippery. The trail down to the small chapel passes right through the chapel. The interior of the building is very small so it doesn’t take long to explore.
After passing through St Govan’s Chapel it’s worth continuing down onto the rocks along the shoreline. It’s a pretty coastline, but it’s also worth walking down on the rocks to get a view back towards the Chapel. Below the chapel, the coastline spreads out in both directions and you can wander along the rocks. There is no set trail and caution should be used on the slippery rocks, especially if the seas are big.
Hikes to Visit St Govan’s Chapel
While the actual walk down to St. Govan’s Chapel is very short, there are several ways to include a visit to the chapel on a longer Pembrokeshire hike. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk passes directly above the chapel. Below are several possible hikes for visiting Govan’s Chapel.
Bosherston to St Govan’s Chapel: This 3.6 mile hike starts in the town of Bosherston and loops along the coast with tremendous views of the coast and the chapel. See more about this trail here.
Stackpole to St Govan’s Chapel: This is a 10 mile walk that follows the coastline and includes a shoreline walk and walk through Bosherton’s Lily Pond. You can see more about this walk here.
Other Things to See Near St Govan’s Chapel Wales
Looking for more to see in the United Kingdom check out our destination page on the UK or check out the nearby hike: How to Hike the Gorgeous Bosherston Lakes, Stackpole Quay, and Barafundle Bay Walk Loop