In this article, you will find some information about things to do in Exeter. Medieval architecture, galleries, cultural centers, picturesque parks, and a lively riverfront scene make this one of the most attractive cities in the southwest of England. The city of Exeter naturally combines history with culture and leisure and with many beautiful places to visit. Visit centuries-old landmarks and marvel at local and international art. Relax in the preserved gardens or the lively riverfront district.
Exeter is located in the center of Devon, a county in the southwest of England, blessed with hilly countryside and a long coastline. Exeter city center is on the east bank of the River Exe. Explore the area’s winding cobblestone streets on foot to take in the city’s 2,000-year history. Stroll through the ruins of the old city wall, which withstood bombings, crusades, and invasions. Admire the 14th-century architecture of Exeter Cathedral and the half-timbered houses lining the streets that line the cathedral lawns. Visit the 800-year-old Guildhall, the home of the town hall. Let’s discover together some of the things to do in Exeter.
7 Best Things to Do in Exeter (United Kingdom)
- Exeter Cathedral
- Powderham Castle
- Historic Exeter Pier and Canal
- Haven Banks Adventure Centre
- Official guided tour
- Gastronomic Trail
- Exeter Brewery
1. Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral is one of the things in Exeter, which has 900 years of history. Located in the historic area of the city, it is one of the oldest cathedrals in England and a beautiful example of medieval English architecture. There are so many small details, such as the stained glass windows, the various sculpted figures, and the carved ceiling vault, in addition to pieces that you would not think of finding in a cathedral, such as an astronomical clock dating from 1484. The cathedral tour included a visit to the top, from where we had the best possible view of the city.
2. Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle is the historic seat of the Earl of Devon, who still resides there today. Originally built in 1391, the house underwent extensive renovations in the Victorian Era. After two world wars, the property faced financial difficulties before opening to the public in 1959. Since then, it has welcomed more than one million visitors. Take a guided tour of the castle grounds. Enter the luxurious rooms after passing through secret doors and see the large hall decorated with wood paneling. Admire Georgian furniture, artwork by the former Earls of Devon, and house paintings by Cosway, Reynolds, and Kneller. Listen to the guide explain the history of the family and the property.
3. Historic Exeter Pier and Canal
A short walk from the cathedral took us to the banks of the Exeter Canal and Pier. A revitalized region on the banks of the River Exe, it is the ideal place to take a walk or a bike ride, enjoying the independent shops, historic buildings, bars, cafes, and restaurants. It is the most visited place in Exeter.
4. Haven Banks Adventure Centre
The Haven Banks Adventure Centre is an activity center where you can try activities such as stand-up paddling (SUP), rafting, kayaking, wall climbing, and even an artificial cave of more than 50 m for exploration. If adventure is your thing, be sure to check it out.
5. Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours
To learn a little about the history, or curiosities of Exeter, it is possible to take a free tour offered by the city hall, called “ Red Coat Guided Tour ”. There are several options for guided walking tours of about 90 minutes, all free (in English), and that take place throughout the year, except the 25th and 26th of December. No need to book, just show up at the meeting point (in front of the Cathedral) at the scheduled time.
6. Gastronomic Trail of Exeter
Exeter and the wider Devon region have excelled in terms of gastronomy with excellent small producers of quality food and drink, as well as restaurants and pubs that pride themselves on serving local produce. As it is located in the middle of fertile land and with the sea very close, there is no shortage of raw materials for cooks to work their magic.
7. Exeter Brewery
Exeter Brewery produces craft beer that can be sampled at the on-site Tap Room bar, open to the public on Thursdays from 5 pm. The bar also serves typical pies accompanied by a sauce, mashed potatoes, and peas. Avocet beer is a very smooth organic ale that is the brewery’s biggest hit. Our guide told us that it is exported to France in a very unusual way: in sailboats. The beer sails through the English Channel and arrives at its destination in a very sustainable way since the energy used in transport is only the wind. I had never heard of it, but it seems that the idea of “ fair transport ” is growing a lot in Europe.