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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 Dunmommi 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

By plane

  • 1 Exeter Airport (EXT IATA), Clyst Honiton EX5 2BD (5 miles east of town off A30), ☏ +44 1392 367 433. (updated May 2018)

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.

Skybus flies from St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly (ISC IATA) March-October, Monday to Saturday.

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

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 Exeter, StarcrossDawlishTeignmouthNewton Abbot, Torre, Torquay and Paignton.

2 Exeter St. Davids is the main train station, a 15-minute walk or bus journey to the city centre. Several smaller stations for local and regional trains exist, including 3 Central, 4 St Thomas and 5 St James's Park. Central station is a 5-minute walk into the city centre along Queen Street. The journey time from London Paddington to Exeter St. Davids is 2-3 hours, with the average being around 2 hours 30 minutes. There is also 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. 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 BarnstapleExmouth, and along the main lines.

By bus

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 BodminNewquay 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 PaigntonPlymouthNewquay and Penzance.

6 Exeter bus station is off Paris Street, a few minutes walk to High Street and the cathedral green.

Get around

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.
  • Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, EX1 1HS, ☏ +44 1392 255573. 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:
    • 4 St Martin's. (updated Jan 2019)
    • 5 St Mary Arches. (updated Jan 2019)
    • 6 St Mary Steps. (updated Jan 2019)
    • 7 St Olave's. (updated Jan 2019)
    • 8 St Petrock's. (updated Jan 2019)
    • 9 St Stephen's. (updated Jan 2019)
  • 10 Parliament Street. The world's second most narrow street at 1.22 metres (4 ft) wide. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 11 Rougemont Castle (Exeter Castle), Castle St, EX4 3PU, ☏ +44 1392 420703. 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. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 12 Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Queen St EX4 3RX, ☏ +44 1392 265858. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. A museum and art gallery. Free. (updated Jun 2018)
  • 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. (updated Jun 2018)
  • 14 Underground passages, 2 Paris St, EX1 1GA, ☏ +44 1392 665887. 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. (updated Oct 2017)
  • 15 University of Exeter. Parkland campuses and sculpture walk. (updated Oct 2017)
  • 16 Killerton, Broadclyst, EX5 3LE (8 miles north of Exeter), ☏ +44 1392 881345, ✉ killerton@nationaltrust.org.uk.  
  • 17 Met Office open days, Fitzroy Rd, EX1 3PB, ☏ +44 370 900 0100 (inside the UK), +44 1392 885680 (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. (updated May 2018)


  • 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), ☏ +44 1395 233200. 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. (updated Jun 2018)
  • 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 DawlishTeignmouth 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), ☏ +44 333 014 4501. (updated Oct 2017)
  • 3 Picture House, Bartholomew St, EX4 3AJ (near The World Food shop), ☏ +44 871 902 5730. Has a cafe-bar and free Wi-Fi. (updated Oct 2017)
  • 4 Vue, Summerland St, EX1 2DD (near the bus station), ☏ +44 345 308 4620. (updated Oct 2017)


  • 5 Northcott Theatre, Stocker Rd, EX4 4QB (located on the University of Exeter's Streatham campus), ☏ +44 1392 726363. (updated Oct 2017)
  • 6 Barnfield Theatre, Barnfield Rd, EX1 1SN, ☏ +44 1392 270891. (updated Oct 2017)
  • 7 Cygnet Theatre (New Theatre), Friars Gate, EX2 4AZ, ☏ +44 1392 277189. (updated Oct 2017)
  • 8 Bikeshed Theatre, Fore St, EX4 3AT, ☏ +44 1392 434169. Has a cocktail bar. (updated Oct 2017)


  • 9 Exeter City Football Club, St James Park EX4 6PX (off B3212, next to St James Park railway station), ☏ +44 1392 411 243. City play in League Two, the fourth tier of English football. The 8830-seat St James' Park stadium is a 10-minute walk northeast from the city centre. (updated Jun 2018)
  • 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), ☏ +44 1392 890890. 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. (updated Jun 2018)
  • 11 Exeter Racecourse (Haldon racecourse), EX6 7XS (8 miles south of city, off A38), ☏ +44 1392 832599. 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. (updated Jun 2018)


  • University of Exeter
  • Exeter College


  • 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. (updated Oct 2017)
  • Mall-type shopping developments in the city include the Guildhall and Harlequins.
  • 2 Guildhall Shopping Centre, 40 High St, EX4 3HP, ☏ +44 1392 201910. M-Sa 8AM-7PM; Su 10AM-5PM. (updated Oct 2017)


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, ☏ +44 1392 428144. M-Sa 8:30AM-5PM. Café with a good choice of vegetarian and other snacks and light meals. (updated Apr 2018)
  • Dinosaur Café (Mediterranean food), 5 New North Rd EX4 4HH (At the clock end of Queen Street), ☏ +44 1392 490951. 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. (updated Apr 2018)
  • Gandhi, 7/8 New North Road EX4 4HH (At roundabout head of Queen St), ☏ +44 1392 272119. Daily noon-2PM & 6-11:30PM. Traditional Brit Indian, inexpensive. (updated Apr 2018)


  • Al-Farid, 3 Cathedral Yard EX1 1HJ, ☏ +44 1392 494444. Daily noon-11:30PM. Moroccan. (updated Apr 2018)
  • Hour Glass, 21 Melbourne Street EX2 4AU, ☏ +44 1392 258722. 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. (updated Apr 2018)
  • 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. (updated Apr 2018)
  • On The Water Front, Southern Warehouse, 4-9 The Quay EX2 4AP (On riverside just S of centre), ☏ +44 1392 210590. Daily 10AM-11PM. Italian, in 19th-century brick warehouse, the pizzas are huge. (updated Apr 2018)


  • Olive Tree, in Queen's Court Hotel, Bystock Terr EX4 4HY, ☏ +44 1392 272709. Daily 6:30-9PM. Modern British cuisine. (updated Apr 2018)
  • St Olave's Court, in St Olave's Hotel, Mary Arches Street EX4 3AZ, ☏ +44 1392 217736. Tapas restaurant. (updated Apr 2018)
  • @Angela's, 38 New Bridge Street EX4 3AH, ☏ +44 1392 499038. W-Sa 6-9:30PM. Modern British & French cuisine, locally sourced. (updated Apr 2018)
  • The Conservatory, 18 North Street EX4 3QS, ☏ +44 1392 273858. Tu-Sa 12:30-2PM & 5:30-9PM. Good food, the light lunch and early bird dinner are recommended. (updated Apr 2018)


  • 1 The Double Locks, Canal Banks, EX2 6LT, ☏ +44 1392 256947. 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. 
  • 2 The Imperial, New North Rd, EX4 4AH (10 minutes walk from the city centre), ☏ +44 1392 434050. A decently priced J D Wetherspoons pub. 
  • 3 The Angel, 32 Queen St, EX4 3SR, ☏ +44 1392 432611. 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. 
  • 4 Timepiece, Little Castle St, EX4 3PX, ☏ +44 1392 493096. A bar with a nightclub above. 
  • 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! 
  • 5 The Old Firehouse, 50 New North Rd, EX4 4EP, ☏ +44 1392 277279. 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. 
  • 6 Cavern, 83-84 Queen St, EX4 3RP (between Boston Tea Party and Tony & Guy), ☏ +44 1392 495370. 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. 



  • 1 Globe Backpackers, 71 Holloway St, EX2 4JD, ☏ +44 1392 215521, ✉ info@exeterbackpackers.co.uk. Central hostel with rooms and dorm. Cleanliness of facilities & clientele variable. £17. (updated Apr 2018)
  • 2 Premier Inn Exeter Central St Davids, Bonhay Road, EX4 4BG, ☏ +44 871 527 9278. 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. (updated Apr 2018)


  • 3 Great Western Hotel, St David's Station Approach, EX4 4NU, ☏ +44 1392 274039, ✉ bookings@greatwesternhotel.co.uk. Simple 2-star next to main railway station, 1 km north of centre. single £46, double £72. (updated Apr 2018)
  • 4 City Gate, Iron Bridge, Lower North Street, EX4 3RB (next to Guildhall shopping centre), ☏ +44 1392 495811. 3-star pub with quirky stylish rooms near town centre. Owned by Young's Brewery. B&B double £110. (updated Aug 2020)
  • 5 Jurys Inn Exeter, Western Way, EX1 2DB, ☏ +44 1392 312400. 3-star, reliable chain choice near city centre. Rooms from £79. (updated Apr 2018)
  • 6 Hotel du Vin Exeter, Magdalen St, EX2 4HY, ☏ +44 1392 790120. 4-star with spa & bistro, central. Variable room size: "cosy" means kinda small. From £89. (updated Apr 2018)
  • 7 Silver Springs, 12 Richmond Road, St. Davids, EX4 4JA, ☏ +44 1392 494040, ✉ reservations@silversprings.co.uk. Serviced apartments, short-stay available. Singles from £85, double from £95. (updated Apr 2018)
  • 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. (updated Apr 2018)
  • 8 Nobody Inn, Doddiscombesleigh EX6 7PS, ☏ +44 1647 252394. Old-style country inn with 5 rooms, comfy but not spacious. No children under 5. B&B double £110. (updated Jun 2020)


  • 9 Mercure Southgate Hotel, Southernhay East, EX1 1QF. Great breakfast, decent rooms, friendly staff. Parking £12 per day. £115 double. (updated Jun 2018)
  • 10 St Olaves Hotel, 16 Mary Arches St, EX4 3AZ, ☏ +44 1392 217736, ✉ info@olaves.co.uk. 3-star in Georgian house with restaurant & tapas bar. £115 double, £155 suite. (updated Apr 2018)
  • Southernay House, 36 Southernay East EX1 1NX (by cathedral), ☏ +44 1392 439000. Wonderful small hotel in Georgian townhouse. No dogs in rooms. B&B double from £110. (updated Jun 2020)

Stay safe

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.'


The local newspaper is the Express and Echo, published weekly. It is a good source for local events listings. The Exeter Flying Post offers alternative editorial views.

Go next

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

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