Exeter is Devon’s capital, situated on the River Exe. The ancient city is a great choice for a trip to the south of England, with its rich history and culture. It’s a city that’s on the smaller side, but it packs a lot into what it has to offer. It’s about two hours from London on the train, and it’s also worth a visit if you’re checking out the rest of Devon or Cornwall, or if you’re visiting Bristol. The city has some excellent visitor attractions, as well as some things that the locals love it for. Whether you visit the city for the history or because you want to experience some of the local culture, Exeter is a fun and unique city that has a lot of character.
Visit Exeter in Devon
1) Exeter Festivals
Exeter has some prominent festivals that are loved by locals and bring in lots of visitors throughout the year too. These festivals are a great way to get to know Exeter and Devon, and they’re a good excuse to visit for a day or two, or maybe more. The Exeter Festival of Southwest Food and Drink is one example, which is perfect for anyone who wants to try some local produce. You can get a real taste of the southwest from local producers, from local fruit and veg to chillies, beeswax and honey products, cheese, cider, and even Devon rum.
Other excellent festivals on offer in Exeter include the Exeter Beats Music Festival and the annual Christmas markets at the end of the year, which are ideal for a spot of Christmas shopping.
2) History of Exeter
Exeter pre-dates the arrival of the Romans in AD 50, so you can explore thousands of years of history when you visit. Anyone interested in the history of the city should head to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, where they can find out all about Exeter and how it came to be what it is today. Exeter City Walls surround the centre of the city, and some other notable historic structures include the castle and the Gothic cathedral.
You can find markers of different stages of Exeter’s development all around the city. From the Roman walls and Norman castle to architecture from Tudor and Victorian periods, you can marvel at the long history of the city.
3) Exeter Quayside
The historic Exeter Quay can be found along the River Exe, which was once a busy waterway for commercial shipping. In the 19th century, the railway meant that there was much less activity, but the area is still an interesting one to visit and one of the most interesting things about Exeter. The quayside is only ten minutes away from the city centre on foot, and it’s a good place to visit if you’re looking for a little bit of calm during the day. You can enjoy the quirky cafes and antique shops. However, at night it gets a little busier, thanks to the bars, clubs, and restaurants that are located there. You can also find boat races in the area at various points in the year.
4) Great Architecture
Architecture lovers will find a lot to like about Exeter, with buildings and structures from different periods to admire. There’s the cathedral, which was completed in about 1400, or why not visit the Tudor building, the House That Moved? This timber-framed Tudor house is named as such because it was literally moved to save it from being destroyed. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the city and was moved out of the path of a new road in the 1960s on iron railings so that it could be preserved.
Some other notable pieces of architecture that visitors should check out include the Guildhall, St Catherine’s Chapel and Almshouses, and Three Gables, which dates back to 1540 and is said to have housed Cathedral craftsmen.
5) Underground Passages
For people who like secret hideaways, Exeter has some very interesting hidden passages. The 14th-century Underground Passages are a must-see for anyone visiting Exeter for the first time. They were once used to transport water through the city, and there are many stories associated with the passages. Today, the passages begin with an interpretation centre that features interactive displays, then visitors can take a guided tour through the passages. The displays include artefacts from the Princesshay archaeological dig.
When you visit Exeter, you’ll find a unique city that has a big personality. Take in its history and culture, as well as its food and drink, and you’ll have a great time.
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