- For other places with the same name, see Exeter (disambiguation).
Exeter is the county town of Devon and historically the administrative capital of the south-west peninsula. A historic mid-sized cathedral city with a good blend of arts, education, retail and history.
In AD 50 a Roman military base was built at a strategic crossing point on the banks of the river Exe, seven years after the Roman invasion of Britain. The settlement quickly gained in importance as the administrative centre for the Dumnonii tribe once the legionnaires left. Indeed, its Roman name, Isca Dumnomiorum, means "town of the Dumnonii (Devonian) tribe". Parts of the original Roman walls can still be seen today. The city continued to hold regional significance through the turbulent Dark Ages, being twice captured by the invading Vikings. Following the Norman Conquest, the inhabitants rebelled against William the Conqueror, who laid siege and subsequently built Rougemount Castle to ensure future compliance. During the renaissance period it developed into an economically powerful city through the wool industry, and a period of rapid growth commenced. Later, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, industry was driven by water power from the River Exe. It remained a significant seaport (courtesy of its Ship Canal) until the age of steam, but there was no major industrialisation in the later 19th century. The city was badly damaged in an incendiary bombing raid on the High Street and surrounding areas in 1942, and although post-war reconstruction has been limited, a number of interesting buildings remain.
Now Exeter is the commercial and service centre for a largely agricultural hinterland, with a population of around 110,000. Good facilities for tourists exist, but tourism does not dominate; regularly voted among the top 3 cities in the UK for quality of life.
Get in Edit
By plane Edit
Aurigny, the flag carrier of Guernsey, flies from Guernesey to Exeter. Blue Islands serves the Exeter-Jersey route. Loganair, a Scottish regional airline, operates from Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Newcastle upon Tyne. Ryanair and TUI Airways operate flights from the Mediterranean.
The bus to the airport is Stagecoach Bus 56 between Exeter St David's railway station and Exmouth. Buses run hourly till about 10PM and take 20 min, single fare £3. A taxi costs £10-20.
By train Edit
Exeter is on the London Paddington to Penzance line, with a train roughly every hour from Paddington to Exeter through most of the day. Alternatively all Exeter stations (except St James's Park) are on the Riviera Line serving Starcross, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torre, Torquay and Paignton.
Trains run daily every two hours to Exeter from Okehampton, taking 45 min via Crediton. This "Dartmoor Line" closed to passenger services in 1972, remaining in use for freight and as a summer heritage railway, but in Nov 2021 it re-opened for regular trains. It's expected the service will increase to hourly early in 2022.
- 2 Exeter St. Davids station, Bonhay Rd, EX4 4NT (a 15-minute walk or bus journey to the city centre). The main train station. The journey time from London Paddington to Exeter St. Davids is 2-3 hours, with the average being around 2 hours 30 minutes. National services are run to Bristol, South Wales, Birmingham, the north of England and Scotland; service to Bristol is approximately hourly. Local trains run to Barnstaple, Exmouth, and along the main lines.
- 5 Exeter Central station (5-minute walk into the city centre along Queen Street). There is a slower service from London Waterloo via Salisbury about every 2 hours, which can take up to 4 hours. This service calls at Central station and at St David's.
By bus Edit
Park & Ride Edit
6 Exeter bus station is off Paris Street, a few minutes walk to High Street and the cathedral green.
National Express buses run 3-4 times a day from London Victoria (NX406, 503 and 504) via Heathrow Airport and Reading, taking five hours to Exeter, and continuing to Bodmin, Newquay and Penzance. Redwood Travel (on behalf of Megabus) runs the same route from Victoria daily.
National Express buses run five times a day from Birmingham via Bristol to Exeter, taking four hours. These all originate from further north: NX336 from Edinburgh via Glasgow, Preston and Manchester, NX338 from Leicester, NX324 from Sheffield via Derby, NX530 from Newcastle via Middlesborough, York and Leeds, and NX532 from Blackpool via Preston. They continue from Exeter to Paignton, Plymouth, Newquay and Penzance.
Get around Edit
The central area of the city is fairly small, so it is easy to get around on foot.
Most buses within the city are operated by Stagecoach, who also operate buses to most regional destinations. Some regional routes are operated by small independent operators.
Cycle paths of varying quality run through the city. The most scenic route runs along the canal towpath.
- City walls - some date to Roman times and there are easily-accessible remnants next to Rougemont Gardens.
- 1 Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, EX1 1HS, ☏ . And the Cathedral Green; Exeter's top attraction and a very beautiful gothic building. The cathedral lays claim to having the longest unbroken stone roof beam of any building in the world. The Cathedral Green opposite can be a good place to chill out on in the summer, ideal for an inexpensive picnic. Adult £8.50, senior/student £6, child free.
- 2 Guildhall, High St, Exeter, EX4 3EB. Claimed to be the oldest municipal building in England still serving its original purpose.
- Historic quayside including the 17th-century 3 Custom House, which has been renovated as a headquarters for the city's archaeological service.
- Medieval churches in the city centre:
- 10 Parliament Street. The world's second most narrow street at 1.22 metres (4 ft) wide.
- 11 Rougemont Castle (Exeter Castle), Castle St, EX4 3PU, ☏ . The grounds and the remaining Norman structures are open to the public, but the central part of the castle has been retired from service as an Assize Court. It is now a wedding and events venue with holiday lets.
- 12 Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Queen St EX4 3RX, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. A museum and art gallery. Free.
- 13 St Nicholas Priory, Mint Lane EX4 3BL. Su 13:00-16:00. The 900-year-old guest wing of a former Benedictine Priory, furnished as the 1602 home of a prosperous family. Free.
- 14 Underground passages, 2 Paris St, EX1 1GA, ☏ . One-hour tours are easily arranged of the city's unique medieval (and now out of use) water system. Not for the claustrophobic! The entrance can be found next to the Princesshay shopping development. It is open all year, £4.90 adults, £3.40 children.
- 15 University of Exeter. Parkland campuses and sculpture walk.
- 16 Killerton, Broadclyst, EX5 3LE (8 miles north of Exeter), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 17 Met Office open days, Fitzroy Rd, EX1 3PB (in the Exeter Business Park near Honiton Road park & ride), ☏ (inside the UK), (outside the UK). The Met Office hosts occasional public tours via open days for visitors aged 10 and over. Part of the tour includes the Met Office's National Meteorological Library which has a small museum dedicated to the Met Office's history including artifices such as Robert Fitzroy's equipment. Photography and recording is strictly prohibited.
- What's on? Read the Express and Echo, published weekly, or The Exeter Flying Post.
- Take a free guided tour with the City's volunteer Redcoat guides - tours leave the Cathedral Green or the Quay and last 1–2 hours
- 1 Crealy Great Adventure Park, Sidmouth Rd, EX5 1DR (8 miles E of Exeter. From M5 jcn 30 follow A3052; bus 52A or 52B from main bus station), ☏ . Jun-Aug daily 10AM-5PM, from Sept outdoor rides only Sa Su. Adventure park mainly aimed at younger children, with indoor and outdoor slides and rides. Accommodation includes cabin lodges, glamping and camping. Adult £21, others by height.
- The canal and river offers opportunities for watersports and cycling. Bikes and canoes can be hired from Saddles and Paddles, No. 4 Kings Wharf, The Quay, EX4 2AN, who offer good advice and the local bike route maps. A series of cycle paths exist on either side of the river. Along the west river bank, the village of Starcross and the beach of Dawlish Warren are easily reached, and Dawlish, Teignmouth and the south west coastpath can also be reached via this route. On the east bank, the gastronomic town of Topsham, Lympstone village, and seaside resort town Exmouth can be reached.
- 2 Odeon, Sidwell St, EX4 6PL (near the Duke of York pub), ☏ .
- 3 Picture House, Bartholomew St, EX4 3AJ (near The World Food shop), ☏ . Has a cafe-bar and free Wi-Fi.
- 4 Vue, Summerland St, EX1 2DD (near the bus station), ☏ .
- 5 Northcott Theatre, Stocker Rd, EX4 4QB (located on the University of Exeter's Streatham campus), ☏ .
- 6 Barnfield Theatre, Barnfield Rd, EX1 1SN, ☏ .
- 7 Cygnet Theatre (New Theatre), Friars Gate, EX2 4AZ, ☏ .
- 8 Bikeshed Theatre, Fore St, EX4 3AT, ☏ . Has a cocktail bar.
- 9 Exeter City FC, St James Park EX4 6PX (off B3212, next to St James Park railway station), ☏ . City were promoted in 2022 and now play in League One, the third tier. The 8830-seat St James' Park stadium is a 10-minute walk northeast from the city centre.
- 10 Exeter Chiefs Rugby Union Club, Sandy Park Stadium, Sandy Park Way, EX2 7NN (3 miles east of city at jcn 30 of M5 with A379), ☏ . Exeter Chiefs play in the English Premiership, the top tier of English Rugby Union. Sandy Park, opened in 2006, has a capacity of 12,800. There are plans to enlarge this beyond 20,000 to meet the stadium requirements for later stages of European rugby tournaments.
- 11 Exeter Racecourse (Haldon racecourse), EX6 7XS (8 miles south of city, off A38), ☏ . This is a National Hunt ie jumps racecourse, with regular meetings during the winter season. Perched on top of the Haldon hills, it's the highest racecourse in the UK, at 260 m. There's a caravan & motor-home park within the course.
- The largest employers are the Devon County Council, the University of Exeter, and the Met Office.
- Employment agencies cluster around the west end of the High Street.
- The Job Centre is at Clarendon House, Western Way
- Exeter Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) is at Wat Tyler House in King William Street
- The High Street is mostly taken up by national clothing and electronics chains.
- Larger concentrations of independent shops can be found in the streets just off the High Street. Fore Street has a number of good outdoor goods shops. Gandy Street and the Cathedral Green offer a similarly eclectic range of retailers. Magdalen Road, a few minutes walk from the city centre, offers award-winning butchers and fishmongers as well as handmade jewellery and gift shops.
- A major redevelopment of Princesshay and surrounding streets has brought many new or redeveloped shops and restaurants including an Apple store.
- 1 Princesshay, 9 Catherine St, EX1 1QA.
- Mall-type shopping developments in the city include the Guildhall and Harlequins.
- 2 Guildhall Shopping Centre, 40 High St, EX4 3HP, ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-7PM; Su 10AM-5PM.
As well as the selection listed here, there are the national chains eg ASK and Pizza Express on Cathedral Green, and Zizzi's in Gandy Street. The suburb of Topsham, 5 km south on the river estuary, also has a good range of restaurants.
- The Plant, 1 Cathedral Yard, EX1 1HJ, ☏ . M-Sa 8:30AM-5PM. Café with a good choice of vegetarian and other snacks and light meals.
- 1 Dinosaur Café (Mediterranean food), 5 New North Rd, EX4 4HH (At the clock end of Queen Street), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM. Small family-owned Turkish and English cafe. All sorts of meze dishes, which are truly delicious. Large portions and inexpensive compared to similar restaurants. Also a bookshop, and something of a legend for University folk. £15 for three courses without alcohol.
- Gandhi, 7/8 New North Road EX4 4HH (At roundabout head of Queen St), ☏ . Daily noon-2PM & 6-11:30PM. Traditional Brit Indian, inexpensive.
- Al-Farid, 3 Cathedral Yard EX1 1HJ, ☏ . Daily noon-11:30PM. Moroccan.
- Hour Glass, 21 Melbourne Street EX2 4AU, ☏ . Tu-F noon-2:30PM & 5PM-11PM; Sa noon-midnight; Su noon-10:30PM; M 5-10:30PM. Wood-panelled pub with real ale & traditional fare.
- 2 The Fat Pig, 2 John St, EX1 1BL (turn off Fore St by Taunton Leisure). M-F 5-11PM, Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-5PM. Central yet rustic atmosphere, they even rear their own pigs.
- 3 On The Water Front, Southern Warehouse, 4-9 The Quay, EX2 4AP (On riverside just S of centre), ☏ . Daily 10AM-11PM. Italian, in 19th-century brick warehouse, the pizzas are huge.
- 4 Olive Tree, in Queen's Court Hotel, Bystock Terr, EX4 4HY, ☏ . Daily 6:30-9PM. Modern British cuisine.
- 5 St Olave's Court, in St Olave's Hotel, Mary Arches Street EX4 3AZ, ☏ . Tapas restaurant.
- @Angela's, 38 New Bridge Street EX4 3AH, ☏ . W-Sa 6-9:30PM. Modern British & French cuisine, locally sourced.
- 6 The Conservatory, 18 North Street EX4 3QS, ☏ . Tu-Sa 12:30-2PM & 5:30-9PM. Good food, the light lunch and early bird dinner are recommended.
- 1 The Angel, 32 Queen St, EX4 3SR, ☏ . The Angel is a warm hearted bar in the centre of Exeter. It is independent and promotes great quality in everything: staff, drinks and music. With a relaxed atmosphere during the day, it then turns into a pumping party bar at night.
- 2 The Black Horse, Longbrook St, Exeter EX4 6AB, ☏ . 11AM-11PM. Green King
- 3 The Bowling Green, 29-30 Blackboy Rd, EX4 6ST (Opposite Belmont Park), ☏ . noon-11PM.
- 4 Cavern, 83-84 Queen St, EX4 3RP (between Boston Tea Party and Tony & Guy), ☏ . 11AM-2AM. Live music venue with bands most evenings. Be warned that the toilets are not for the faint-hearted. However, it is a nursery for new talent with bands like Muse, Coldplay and Radiohead playing early in their careers. varies.
- 5 Cuckoo Taproom and Bottleshop, 25 Paris St, EX1 2JB, ☏ . noon-11PM.
- 6 The Double Locks, Canal Banks, EX2 6LT, ☏ . The Double Locks pub sits in an idyllic location on the edge of Exeter Canal, 20 minutes walk from the quayside. Occasional live music, child-friendly, a solid selection of real ales and a reasonable menu. On sunny weekends the pub attracts many punters, and the May Day bank-holiday beer festival can get very busy, with long queues.
- 7 Heart Of Oak, 34 Main Rd, Pinhoe, EX4 8HS, ☏ , email@example.com. noon-11PM.
- 8 Henry's Bar, Mount Pleasant Rd, Exeter EX4 7AB, ☏ . 4PM-11PM. 3 drinking tokens for £11 (1 token per drink).
- 9 The Imperial, New North Rd, EX4 4AH (10 minutes walk from the city centre), ☏ . A decently priced J D Wetherspoons pub.
- 10 The Old Firehouse, 50 New North Rd, EX4 4EP, ☏ . Open until 2-3AM most nights, the Firehouse is a pub serving local ales, ciders and food until the wee hours. The 14-inch pizzas, served from 9PM (after the normal menu ends) are highly recommended, at £7 each. Live folk/surf-rock on Fridays, jazz/world on Saturdays, flamenco guitar on Thursdays. Occasionally there is an entry charge on weekend nights.
- 11 Ship Inn, 1-3 Martins Ln, EX1 1EY, ☏ . Green King
- 12 Sawyer's Arms, 121 Cowick St, St Thomas, EX4 1JD, ☏ . 8AM-midnight. JD Wetherspoons
- 13 The Tally Ho!, 2 Countess Wear Rd, Exeter EX2 6LG, ☏ . noon-10:30.
- 14 The Thatched House, Exwick Rd, Exeter EX4 2BQ, ☏ . 5-9PM W Th, 5-11PM F, noon-11PM Sa, noon-5PM Su (closed M,Tu). Thatched 16th century building
- 15 Timepiece, Little Castle St, EX4 3PX, ☏ . A bar with a nightclub above.
- 16 The Twisted Oak, Little Johns Cross Hill, EX2 9RG, ☏ .
- The Well House Tavern, 16-17 Cathedral Yard, EX1 1HB. Attached to Michael Caine's restaurant on Cathedral Green. Good selection of Real Ales, and a skeleton in the basement!
- 17 Bridge Inn, Bridge Hill, Topsham EX3 0QQ, ☏ . Daily noon-2:30PM, 5:30PM-9:30PM. Remarkable 16th century pub with restaurant.
- 1 Globe Backpackers, 71 Holloway St, EX2 4JD, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Central hostel with rooms and dorm. Cleanliness of facilities & clientele variable. £17.
- 2 Premier Inn Exeter Central St Davids, Bonhay Road, EX4 4BG, ☏ . 3-star chain close to main railway station. Premier Inn has one other hotel in city ("Exeter Centre"), and two edge-of-town ("Exeter M5" & "Exeter Countess Wear"). From £35.
- Hotel Indigo, 3 Catherine St EX1 1EU (100 yards north of cathedral), ☏ . 104-bedroom hotel in the former House of Fraser department store. B&B double £100.
- 3 Great Western Hotel, St David's Station Approach, EX4 4NU, ☏ , email@example.com. Simple 2-star next to main railway station, 1 km north of centre. single £46, double £72.
- 4 City Gate, Iron Bridge, Lower North Street, EX4 3RB (next to Guildhall shopping centre), ☏ . 3-star pub with quirky stylish rooms near town centre. Owned by Young's Brewery. B&B double £110.
- 5 Leonardo Hotel (formerly Jury's Inn), Western Way EX1 2DB, ☏ . 3-star, reliable chain choice near city centre. Rooms from £79.
- 6 Hotel du Vin Exeter, Magdalen St, EX2 4HY, ☏ . 4-star with spa & bistro, central. Variable room size: "cosy" means kinda small. From £89.
- 7 Silver Springs, 12 Richmond Road, St. Davids, EX4 4JA, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Serviced apartments, short-stay available. Singles from £85, double from £95.
- University of Exeter. This is primarily an accommodation agency for Exeter students. During Easter and summer vacation rooms with B&B may be available on the Streatham Campus, 2 km north of city centre, if they're not booked out to conferences. From £60 double.
- 8 Nobody Inn, Doddiscombesleigh EX6 7PS, ☏ . Old-style country inn with 5 rooms, comfy but not spacious. No children under 5. B&B double £110.
- 9 Mercure Southgate Hotel, Southernhay East, EX1 1QF. Great breakfast, decent rooms, friendly staff. Parking £12 per day. £115 double.
- 10 St Olaves Hotel, 16 Mary Arches St, EX4 3AZ, ☏ , email@example.com. 3-star in Georgian house with restaurant & tapas bar. £115 double, £155 suite.
- Southernay House, 36 Southernay East EX1 1NX (by cathedral), ☏ . Wonderful small hotel in Georgian townhouse. No dogs in rooms. B&B double from £110.
Stay safe Edit
Exeter is very safe compared to other cities in the UK. There is a slight likelihood that you will be asked for money by homeless people at some point, but most of them are not aggressive and will simply move to the next person if you tell them, 'No, sorry.'
As of Sept 2023, Exeter and its approach roads have 4G from O2 and Vodafone, and 5G from EE and Three.
Go next Edit
One of the main pulling points for the city is the ease in which one can get out of the urban environment and into the countryside. Exeter is a convenient gateway to Dartmoor, Plymouth and the rest of Devon and Cornwall.
- Beaches: the nearest are at Exmouth and Dawlish Warren, but the whole of the south-west peninsula is within reach.
- Scenic towns: Lyme Regis to the east, Totnes and Dartmouth to the south
- Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks
- Countryside: The Devon countryside offers rolling hills, fast-flowing rivers, and countless picturesque villages and small towns
- Other major towns in Devon: Torquay and Plymouth city.
|Routes through Exeter|
|Bristol ← Tiverton ←||N S||→ merges with|
|Land's End ← Okehampton ←||W E||→ towards (London) and (Bournemouth)|
|merges with ←||N S||→ Buckfastleigh → Plymouth|
|END ←||W SE||→ Lympstone → Exmouth|
|merges with ←||N S||→ Newton Abbot → Torquay|