Uncover Exeter’s historic gems on a city break

Exeter

Make the most of your trip to Exeter and stay on for this South West city’s stylish shopping, historic buildings and surrounding countryside.

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Devon's county town of Exeter is nestled on the north banks of the winding River Exe. Step inside the 2,000-year-old walls for the cosmopolitan High Street or lazy Cathedral Green, while a holiday vibe engulfs the café terraces and galleries on the Historic Quayside. West of the city, follow legends of pixies and stone circles to the endless granite expanse of Dartmoor National Park, and a pebble’s throw to the south stretches the English Riviera with the busy fishing town of Torquay.

Don’t miss

Exeter comes and goes on Cathedral Close in front of the grand, Norman Exeter Cathedral facade. Get your bearings across the city’s waterways from the North Tower before you navigate the gentle Exeter Ship Canal weirs and pubs by canoe, kayak or bike. You can take a walk in Exeter’s medieval, subterranean side through the echoing vaults and water passages of Exeter’s Underground Passages just beneath the High Street. Back on the surface, the eclectic Royal Albert Memorial Museum- RAMM for short - is crammed with historical gems, from prehistoric pick axes to ornate Egyptian tombs.

Explore the city

Discover more about Exeter on a free 90 minute walking tour of this historic city with Red Coat Guides tours departing daily opposite Abode Exeter on Cathedral Green.  

Great for families

Swoop on ropes through the treetop walkways, take a pony ride, spot wild animals from the safari express and even go quad biking at  Crealy great adventure park. For something more serene and simple, there are scores of tweeting local birdlife, including warblers and wigeons to sing you on your way along the marshy Exe Estruary Trail which is great for both walking and cycling.

Go shopping

Chic Princesshay shopping centre is the place to bag all manner of fashion, beauty, homeware and technology brands. A short amble away, browse the scattering of charming independent boutiques and interior design stores and refuel at local bakeries and delis on Magdalen Road.

Explore the area

In Exeter, you are never far from the great Devonshire outdoors. Just fifteen minutes south of the city centre, canter on horseback or orienteer through towering corridors of Douglas fir trees in lush Haldon Forest Park. The area’s dominating wilderness is Dartmoor National Park, the rugged and wild setting for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tale The Hound of the Baskervilles and the film adaptation of War Horse.

Get active

Clamber over boulders and arches on indoor climbing walls before braving the real thing on Dartmoor’s tors at Quay Climbing Centre, on the site of an old electricity works. Feeling sporty after the rugby game? Practice your serve and volley with a pro coach on the indoor courts at Exeter Tennis Centre. To experience Land Rover’s legendary all-terrain expertise in safe, thrilling and true-to-life driving adventures, you can visit  Land Rover Experience West Country.

Did you know?

Parliament Street, located just off Exeter’s High Street, is the narrowest street in the UK. It measures just 63.5cm at its narrowest point.

Where to stay 

Budget : The Bendene

Moderate : The St. Olaves Hotel

Luxury : The Magdalen Chapter 

Accessible : The Rougemont

Where to eat

Budget : Old Firehouse   

Moderate : Bill’s 

Luxury : Michael Caines

Accessible : El Bocado

Getting there and around

Air: The nearest major airport is Exeter International, a 20-minute car journey from the city centre. Regular buses take you to Exeter St. David’s train station and Exeter Bus Station

Rail: Exeter St. David’s station is around two hours 20 minutes from London Paddington Station. Exeter Central station serves London Waterloo station with services taking three hours and 15 minutes.

Road: Exeter is on junction 29 and 30 of the M5.

For more local tourist information:

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TThe Exeter Arms pub © VisitEngland/Diana Jarvis
CExeter Quays © VisitEngland/Tony Cobley
CCathedral Yard, Exeter © VisitEngland/Heart of Devon
RRoyal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter © VisitEngland/Heart of Devon
AExeter Quay © VisitEngland/Heart of Devon/Tony Cobley
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