The UK ETA for St Asaph: Plan Your Trip to Britain

One of the smallest cities in Britain, St Asaph has a population of less than 4,000. Nevertheless, this Welsh city has plenty to charm visitors. In particular, its 14th-century cathedral has played a part in many important moments in British history. Discover what to see and how to travel with the new UK ETA for St Asaph in this guide.

The Legend of St Asaph

The earliest records about St Asaph suggest that it was founded as a religious community, with a Celtic monastery founded here in the 6th century by the British Saint Kentigern. The Saint was attended by a young boy called Asaph. Legend recounts that Kentigern used to pray while standing knee-deep in the icy waters of the river. When the cold grew too harsh for him, he would send young Asaph to fetch a piece of burning wood to warm him. On one occasion, Asaph was able to fetch and carry live coals within his apron, which Kentigern saw as a miracle. This led to him recognising Asaph’s sanctity, and Asaph succeeded him as bishop.

The Burning of the Monastery

The monastery at St Asaph was known locally as Llanelwy, which means “church on the River Elwy” in Welsh. It grew in importance, becoming one of Wales’ most significant religious communities, and a small cathedral was added to the monastery. However, it was to suffer a tremendous blow in the 13th century. In the Second Welsh War, the English king, Edward I, razed the site, burning the building almost to the ground. Later, when the Welsh Prince, Owain ap Gruffydd, rose in rebellion in 1402, his troops sacked the now-rebuilt cathedral. Part of the building was left in ruins, and it would remain this way for the next seventy years.

St Asaph as a City

With such a small population, St Asaph’s status as a city has been, at times, controversial. Historically, any settlement with a cathedral and diocese was considered a city in Great Britain. However, this historical precedent is not the same as legal recognition. At the start of the 21st century, St Asaph applied twice for recognition as a city and was denied on both occasions. Finally, in 2012 the British government approved a third application, officially declaring St Asaph as a city. It is the second-smallest city in the United Kingdom. The only smaller city is St Davids, also found in Wales.

The Music Festival

Today, the most popular event on St Asaph’s annual calendar is the North Wales International Music Festival, which takes place each September. This eight-day event is a celebration of classical music and is held within St Asaph Cathedral, which is renowned for its excellent acoustics. It is a showcase of local Welsh talent and international artists and has been a major event in the area since its founding in 1972.

Things To See in St Asaph

St Asaph Cathedral

Without a doubt, the most famous building in the city is the St Asaph Cathedral. While a religious site has stood here since the 6th century, the present cathedral was largely built in the 13th century, under the reign of Henry VII. Like most religious buildings, it was sacked during Henry VIII’s Protestant Reformation. Later, when Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians triumphed during the English Civil War, the cathedral suffered under the harsh Puritanical regime. Rather than being used for worship, it was repurposed as a large barn to house pigs and cattle.

The cathedral suffered major water damage in the early 20th century and was restored in the 1930s. Inside the cathedral, visitors can see William Morgan’s Welsh Bible. This is the first Welsh translation of the entire Bible and is considered an important piece of religious history in Wales.

St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre

The Jesuit Centre of St Beuno’s was built in 1847. It is named for another Welsh saint who lived locally and was constructed as a theological college. As well as running a programme of spiritual retreats throughout the year, it is considered a Welsh Historic Monument. Within the grounds, the striking Rock Chapel building is particularly popular with visitors. It offers impressive views across the Vale of Clwyd.

Brynbella Gardens

One of the highlights of the surrounding Vale of Clwyd, Brynbella is an 18th-century stately home famous for its extensive gardens. These manicured gardens are divided into different zones, and visitors can wander through them. They include a woodland area, an Italian garden, an orchard, a rose garden, a water garden and more. It is a popular site locally for a day out.

The UK ETA for St Asaph

The UK’s new ETA system will come into effect in 2024, changing the way that visitors are permitted to enter the country. This programme, which stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation, is similar to the US ESTA or the Canadian ETA. It represents an effort to digitalise the borders and give the government greater oversight into who is entering the United Kingdom.

At the moment, the UK’s visa waiver programme allows citizens of 92 countries to enter the country without applying for a visa. With the introduction of the ETA, these travellers will be affected. They must now apply for an ETA before entering the country.

Some travellers from the above countries will still require a visa for the UK. This includes those who want to work in the country, as well as those hoping to spend more than six months in the United Kingdom. If they are coming for a period of no less than six months, then an ETA will suffice. The UK ETA covers travellers coming for a variety of reasons, including tourists, people on business trips and students.

The UK ETA Application Process

Carriers may consider an approved ETA to be a condition of carriage. This means that passengers will need to go through the application process well in advance, leaving enough time for their application to be processed and approved before beginning their journey. The ETA application form is only available online, as this is part of a digital system.

Travellers who plan to apply for an ETA should look at the list of requirements before starting. As well as being in possession of a valid biometric passport, they will need to provide personal information. For example, they should be prepared to answer questions about their date of birth, employment status, contact details and more.

Another part of the application form asks travellers to provide information about their personal history. They will be expected to disclose a criminal record or any immigration offences. If they are or have ever been a member of a proscribed organisation or group, they will need to disclose this. Additionally, they will have to provide information about their planned trip to the UK, such as the address at which they will be staying in the country.

When completing their ETA application, travellers will also need to pay a non-refundable fee. Their application will not be processed until the fee has been paid in full. They should be prepared for a processing time of up to 72 hours before their application is approved or rejected.

Travelling With the UK ETA for St Asaph

When a traveller applies for the UK ETA for St Asaph, they are not limited to staying in Wales. Within the UK, travellers can move freely between the four constituent countries. As such, a visitor to St Asaph can travel to England, Scotland or Northern Ireland without needing to complete any further forms or paperwork. However, it is important to remember that the ETA only covers travel within the United Kingdom. Visitors who would like to travel from the UK to the Republic of Ireland, or any other European country, will find that their ETA is invalid for such international travel. Instead, they should look at the entry requirements of the other country that they plan to visit.

Your Trip With the UK ETA for St Asaph

Small but charming, this ancient cathedral city delights visitors. Its cathedral may be one of the smallest in Britain, but it is full of history and legend. A trip to St Asaph also allows visitors to explore the surrounding green countryside of North Wales or travel to the windswept coast of nearby Rhyl. Apply for your UK ETA for St Asaph before boarding to ensure a stress-free trip to this fascinating city.