8 Oct 19 / Exeter
Five Things to Do in Exeter
Exeter may not be a big city, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to things to do and see. It’s ancient history and architecture combined with a high student population create the perfect balance between new and old. The result is a city packed with activity and an exciting atmosphere all year round. We’ve rounded up our favourite things to do in Exeter, so be sure to tick off a few during your stay.
1. Discover Exeter’s ancient history
Exeter is a city with an enormously rich past, and it shows in the city’s streets, where you’ll find stunning Georgian townhouses, Tudor homes, the magnificent gothic cathedral as well as ancient ruins on Exeter’s Medieval Trail.
The centre-piece of Exeter’s historical tapestry is the 900-year old Exeter Cathedral, considered to be one of the finest examples of gothic architecture. It’s a stunning feat of architecture, both inside and out, making it worth the visit alone, however there are often exhibitions on, and roof and tower tours are also available.
Underneath the city lies a network of vaulted passageways. which were originally designed to perform repairs on the pipes that brought water from natural springs into the walled city. The passages are the subject of ghostly tales of war and plague and visitors can explore the Underground Passages with these fascinating guided tours.
Further out of the city, towards the coast, lies the stunning Powderham Castle, a fortified manor house which belongs to the Courtenay family with acres of stunning grounds and garden. Guided tours offer visitors a unique insight into the majestic rooms and their fascinating history.
2. Discover the finest food and drink in Exeter
Exeter is full of fantastic restaurants and cafes, but for the more adventurous, there are also a wide range of experiences dedicated to celebrating the rich local larder. To sample fresh, local produce, visit local farm shops including Quickies, Greendale and Darts Farm.
At Quickie’s Farm, cheese lovers should check out the Academy of Cheese. The academy offers a course designed to let you explore the flavours of cheese and hone your palette – a fun day for any food lover!
Perhaps cheese isn’t your main foodie passion. If so, in the middle of town lies Exeter Cookery School, an award-winning culinary school offering a range of courses suitable for all abilities. Courses range across a huge variety of cuisines, so you can try your hand at baking fresh bread or delicious Indian food.
Just north of the city lies Sandford Orchards, a working farm producing some of the finest ciders in Devon. They often run tastings and events including community pressing days and harvest festivals. They even have an on-site tap room, making it the perfect place to try some of Devon’s famous drink.
Exeter’s food and drink scene is second to none. So much so that the city has its own Food & Drink Trail, guiding you through all of these and more, including Hotel du Vin’s esteemed French restaurant.
3. Explore the local, independent shops
As one of the largest towns in Devon, Exeter is one of the area’s biggest shopping destinations with small, independent stores and big retailers alike. The Princesshay Shopping Centre is a sleek retail mecca with all the biggest high-street brands housed under a glass roof.
However, the city centre has plenty of small independent shops and boutiques to check out. For vintage clothing, try the Real McCoy on Fore Street, offering clothing from the 1880s to the 1980s. Or for all things ethical and handmade, try Georgie & Flo’s on Upper Paul Street. Further south of the city centre, you’ll also find Nourish of Topsham, Exeter’s first zero-waste store offering all things eco-friendly and plastic-free.
4. Enjoy Exeter’s theatres and cinemas
Exeter has a thriving creative scene, and there are plenty of places to enjoy cinema, theatre and music. Theatres such as the Exeter Phoenix and Exeter Barnfield Theatre offer a wide range of events such as jazz and folk nights, DJ sets, dance, comedy, talks and workshops.
For film lovers, we highly recommend Exeter Picturehouse, a beautiful art-house cinema in the heart of the city screening mainstream films as well as indie, foreign language and documentary films. They even screen live theatre performances from theatres around the world.
5. Take things at your leisure
The city of Exeter is a truly beautiful place – a quintessentially English city surrounded by swathes of countryside, so we highly recommend taking your time to take it all in.
Exeter Quayside is an attractive hub of activity in the city, where you can enjoy waterfront food and drinks, antique shops, walking, cycling and even a boat trip. The area is popular with both locals and visitors for its relaxing atmosphere and charm.
If you’re new to the city and want to find your way around whilst learning about the history, we recommend the self-guided Exeter City Wall Trail. The city walls are almost 2000 years old and 70% of it still exists. The 11 information points on the trail offer a fascinating insight into the city’s fascinating history.
Further out of the city towards the North East, you’ll find Killerton House, a stunning 6,400-acre estate with a Georgian house, garden and two chapels. The gardens and woodland park of Killerton offer beautiful views of the Devonshire countryside with some hidden gems along the way. If a woodland walk is a little too leisurely for you, you can even see Exeter and the surrounding areas from the air on a champagne hot air balloon ride.
For a city of its size, there are seemingly endless things to do in Exeter, from food and drink to culture and history. Hotel du Vin Exeter is located right in the middle of town. Our stunning Georgian houses a range of luxurious rooms and suites offering the perfect retreat after a busy day exploring.
Why not book your stay today?