Tower Hill

St David's, Pembrokeshire

About this Landmark

This house protects a site just above St David’s cathedral, one of the most important sites of early Celtic Christianity and long a place of pilgrimage and inspiration. 

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double, 1 Bunk beds

  • Sleeps 4 +2
  • 4 nights from £350
  • equivalent to £14.58 per person, per night

‘Two pilgrimages to St David’s are worth one to Rome’

We took on Tower Hill because of its most important site. It is built just above the close wall at St David’s and has an astonishing view of the cathedral, facing it squarely at tower level. To arrive here is to feel that you have completed a pilgrimage, drawn down the long Pembrokeshire peninsula towards a place of worship that was already ancient when the Normans built their cathedral beside it. There is still much of the monastery here, in the actual buildings that survive, in their sense of enclosure within the valley and in the warmth of their welcome when finally you top the last hill and obtain your first full view of them. A monastery was founded here in the 6th century, a farflung outpost of the early church that survived many Viking raids in its early days. In 1123 St David’s received ‘Papal Privilege’ as a place of pilgrimage, Pope Calixtus awarding this remote place the accolade that ‘Two pilgrimages to St David’s are worth one to Rome.’ The monastery suffered the usual depredations during the Dissolution and it was more than 200 years before Welsh architect John Nash restored the West front. Nash had not the medieval masons’ skill, however, and George Gilbert Scott had to do a second rescue job 60 years later.

A relatively new Landmark

The living-room of our house has great serenity, with the sun on one side and the sunlit cathedral on the other. At your door is the reassurance of cathedral life, its services, the bells and the building itself, and also a lively town. The sea is about a mile away in most directions, the Pembrokeshire coast renowned for its wide beaches and Atlantic surf. The coastal path, with stunning views, encircles St David’s – ‘a long way, but very good for you’. In 1965 the current building did not exist and the site was occupied by two tiny cottages in an extreme state of dilapidation. Our policy has always emphasised the pre-eminent importance of conservation, but in this case no restoration was possible. The architect Leonard Beddell-Smith reported that the cottages were hopelessly decayed and so ruinous as to be beyond saving; he gave his opinion that the only appropriate way to preserve the integrity of the site was to demolish them and to rebuild. 15 Tower Hill is thus unique among Landmark Trust properties for its relative youth.

Floor Plan

‘We arrived in the dark and were absolutely knocked out the following morning when we opened the curtains to the view of the Cathedral.’

‘Where better to spend St David’s Day!’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Tower Hill stands in the lively town of St David’s, facing and enjoying an impressive view of the Cathedral. Visit St David's Bishop's Palace and look out for the open-air theatre performances staged here. Oriel y Parc is an interesting gallery and visitor centre in the city with exhibitions of local arts.

The wide, sandy beach at Whitesands Bay, just one of many beautiful beaches in the area, is less than a couple of miles away from St David's. Walk along to St David's Peninsula for spectacular sea views. The small harbour at Porthclais is popular with divers and kayakers.

Take a boat trip to Ramsey Island, an RSPB reserve, to see the amazingly rich varieties of birds and wildlife on and around the island.  

Adventure seekers will love Celtic Quest Coasteering. Suitable for all ages and abilities, this is a truly unique way to explore this stunning area of coastline. 

For more information on things to do during your stay at Tower Hill, please see our Pinterest page. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Tower Hill
St David's, Pembrokeshire
Clear directions

‘We arrived in the dark and were absolutely knocked out the following morning when we opened the curtains to the view of the Cathedral.’

‘Where better to spend St David’s Day!’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a driveway from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Haverfordwest – 16 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Parking is available in Pebbles car park about 20m from the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is gas central heating and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker and a dishwasher.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The internal stairs are not particularly difficult.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden.
  • Is there higher than expected background noise?

    Yes, Tower Hill is next door to a public house which has a license for music events and late opening

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact [email protected]
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

Protecting the setting

In 1965 the Landmark Trust recognised the significance of the site where 15 Tower Hill now stands, on the rim of the hill close to the mediaeval gatehouse and overlooking the ancient city with its Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace beyond. A building in this position not only possesses a unrivalled view, but also forms an integral and important part of the view of the Cathedral precinct obtained when looking upwards from the Cathedral itself. With these considerations in mind the Trust acquired the land and began to consider how best to protect the treasure that it represented.

The site was occupied by two tiny cottages

In 1965 the present building did not exist and the site was occupied by two tiny cottages in an extreme state of dilapidation. Even though the Trust’s policy has always emphasised the pre-eminent importance of conservation, in this case no restoration was possible. The architect Leonard Beddell-Smith reported that the cottages were hopelessly decayed and so ruinous as to be beyond saving; he gave his opinion that the only appropriate way to preserve the integrity of the site was to demolish them and to rebuild. 15 Tower Hill is thus unique among Landmark Trust properties for its relative youth.

Two decisions were taken at this point: firstly to rebuild as a single property, not two, and secondly to raise the new buildings some five feet higher than the old in order to exploit fully the view from the front windows. Mr Beddell-Smith designed the new building to blend in with the older stone buildings of the city in its style, following John Smith’s instructions that ‘the job must look like ordinary local work of the old type’ and specifying to the builder that the masonry was to be ‘equal in quality to the general walling of the Cathedral’. Leslie and Idris Evans of St David’s, trading as Evans Brothers, were awarded the contract and Mr Maurice Riley, a local mason and an outstandingly fine craftsman, took on the preparation and laying of the stonework. The restoration was hindered by an extreme shortage of local labour due at least in part to the simultaneous construction of the new oil refinery at Milford: workmen were unenthusiastic about taking a few weeks’ employment on one small contract when two or three years of continuous employment were available within a short drive.

Materials

Mr Beddell-Smith specified that should any materials from the demolished cottages prove appropriate for re-use they should be set aside for that purpose, but in fact relatively little seems to have been found suitable.

The design provided for grey stone rubblestone facings with dressings in a contrasting colour. Many of the older St David’s buildings were built of sea-washed stone, but this was no longer available. The grey limestone chosen is not native to the district but came from some old stables that had recently been demolished at Mr Beddell-Smith’s home, Pantgwyn Mansion, Llangoedmor, together with the remains of a cottage on his neighbour’s land, which had been built of the same stone.

The purple stone for the window dressings and quoins is of a type seen in many of the older buildings in the city, although where it had been used for an entire building the effect is thought to be somewhat grim. It formed part of the Caerbwdy Sandstone which forms a layer up to 500 feet thick beneath the peninsula and outcrops in the cliffs at Caerbwdy Bay about two miles south-east of the city. It is an unusually hard stone and difficult to cut and was only obtained with some difficulty, having to be levered out from the cliff face on a rope and then collected from sea level at low tide. Until the National Trust gave the Landmark Trust permission to carry out a limited amount of quarrying none had been extracted within living memory. The same stone appears in Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s west front of the Cathedral, built in 1863, which was probably the last time it had been used. At some stage during the restoration the Dean of St David’s offered the Trust some surplus blocks of this stone from the Cathedral’s own masons’ yard, but it is not clear whether these blocks were ever used.

The roof slates were specially quarried at Precelly Quarry, Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire.

The enormous stone slab on the terrace was a gift to the Trust from the owners of the site of the long-gone Pentre Manor, near Blaenpant, of which it once formed a part: it required a JCB to lift it on to the lorry that brought it to Tower Hill.

The pebble paving was laid by preparing a bed of mixed sand and dry cement powder, into which fist-sized stones (obtained from Caerbwdy beach) were pressed by hand. The whole was then well watered with an ordinary watering-can, a process that left the stones clean and free from adhering cement.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.