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Home Tourist Attraction The hidden tourist attraction with spectacular sea views and a magical rock that scares away pirates

The hidden tourist attraction with spectacular sea views and a magical rock that scares away pirates

by Staff

A UNIQUE seaside attraction in the UK has been labelled both “breathtaking” and “incredible” online.

The Welsh coast is home to some undeniably beautiful beaches, but hiding behind one of them is a small building that could very easily be missed if you weren’t paying close attention.

St Govan’s chapel in Pembrokeshire overlooks the beachCredit: Alamy
The chapel was built in the 13th Century to honour St GovanCredit: Alamy
The chapel offers stunning views out to sea and is easily reached from some stepsCredit: Alamy

St Govan’s Chapel is a tiny hermit’s cell, built into the cliff at St Govan’s, near Bosherston, South Pembrokeshire. 

The small stone building is shrouded in myth and legend, with stories of pirates, angels, magical bells and steps that change in number depending on when you visit.


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The chapel dates back to the 13th Century and was built to honour the hermit St Govan, who lived there alone during the 6th Century

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The legend has it that one day St Govan was chased by a gang of bloodthirsty pirates.

However, he was able to hide in the small rocky bay where the chapel now stands until they gave up their pursuit and sailed off.

From then on, he remained in situ, living among the rocks and ringing a magic bell to warn others in the area whenever the pirates returned.

The pirates hatched a plan to steal the magical bell – and were successful, taking it away from the saint.

However, their ship was sunk during a storm, after which angels are said to have retrieved the bell.

After returning it to St Govan, it was encased in the centre of a huge rock, so that it couldn’t be stolen again.

Visitors to the small chapel can still see Bell Rock, which is rumoured to grant wishes.

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However, anyone who changes their mind before they turn around after making their wish, won’t have it come true, according to the legend.

Additionally, the steps down to the chapel from the cliff tops have a legend of their own, with people saying that they change in number every single time they are counted.

Regardless of how magical the bell and the steps are, the setting of both the chapel and the beach have cast enough of a spell on those who have visited it.

Celtic Haven described it as “one of the most unique locations within south Pembrokeshire,” adding that it is “a must visit location on a visit to the county”.

Best staycation locations for 2024

1. Bristol

The arty harbour city was the top spot on the list and is bursting with culture and trendy cafes scattered along the River Avon.

A bubbling hub for creatives, Bristol is the birthplace of street artist Banksy, and you can admire some of his best early works on a free walking tour.

2. Hull

The Humberside port city started to get recognition last year, and it has a thriving nightlife scene – if that’s something you’re after.

The old town is crawling with history and classy buildings, whose walls have many stories to tell and The Deep is a fascinating aquarium attraction.

3. Isles of Scilly

Just off the Cornish coast, it’s easy to see why the archipelago made it into the top three.

Here, you can expect golden sandy beaches where you will be able to spot dolphins beyond the shoreline, as well as seafront pubs serving up hearty grub.

Some members of the Instagram travel community has also fallen in love with the secret spot.

Walking enthusiast Shareen (@hike.psych) labelled it “one of my favourite places”.

She said: “This place genuinely blew me away, it’s so breathtaking and amazing how this chapel is made right by the coast nestled into the rocks. Nothing like I’ve ever seen!”

Another Instagrammer, Sian (@welshgirl.captures) urged people to add it to their itineraries whenever they visit Wales.

One of her followers commented: “Looks incredible. Thanks for sharing!”

The chapel has been seen on TV screens as well as phones, as it was used as a filming location for popular BBC drama His Dark Materials.

Getting to St Govans is pretty simple, with a car park just 100 metres from the steps that lead down to the beach.

The steps lead straight through the limestone chapel, which consists of two chambers.

From there, people can head down to the water and enjoy the view of the chapel from below.

However, the road to St Govans passes through a Ministry Of Defense army tank range and isn’t always open, so it’s best to check before visiting.

The nearby Barafundle beach and Broad Haven South beach are just two of several stunning beaches nearby, and make a great alternative day out for when the chapel is not accessible.

It’s far from the only amazing hidden beach in Wales either.

Traeth Llanddwyn

Traeth Llanddwyn, found in Anglesey, has gained admirers due to its golden sandy beaches and clear waters.

It’s a Blue Flag beach, so you can expect it to be clean and well-looked after too, with more than 3.5miles of sand.

While there aren’t lifeguards, there are free toilets, as well as BBQ areas, picnic benches and food trucks in the summer.

One fan wrote online: “I’m so glad this came up on my page as no one outside of Wales KNOWS about Wales.”

Aberdyfi

Aberdyfi in Wales is set within Snowdonia National Park off the coast of Cardigan Bay

Holiday rental website HomeToGo released their Hidden Gem Index, with Aberdyfi featuring high on their list.

The village has pastel-coloured houses and hotels lining the beach, with miles of golden sand.

Meanwhile, this is the best beach town in the whole of the UK, according to consumer champions Which?.

And this seaside town in the UK is also home to dolphins, whales and puffins, as well as amazing castles.

St Govan is said to have protected the bay from piratesCredit: Alamy
The chapel is built into the rock overlooking the beachCredit: Getty

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