17 Best Things to Do in Exeter

Exeter cathedral and things to do

Exeter Things to Do: Explore the Best of Southwest England

Looking for things to do in Exeter? If you’re planning a trip to Exeter, you’re in for a treat. This vibrant and historic city in the southwest of England has so much to offer, from fascinating museums to picturesque parks to delicious food and drink. 

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or just looking for a fun day out, Exeter has something for everyone. 

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the top things to do in Exeter, so you can make the most of your time in this wonderful city.

The Best Things to Do in Exeter

Here are some of the best things to do in Exeter, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller:

1. Visit Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral is one of the most impressive and iconic buildings in the city. With its Gothic architecture and stunning stained-glass windows, it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history or architecture. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb the tower and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city.

2. Wander Around the Quayside

The Quayside is a bustling and vibrant part of Exeter, with plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore. Take a stroll along the river and enjoy the atmosphere, or hop on a boat trip to see the city from a different perspective.

3. Discover the Royal Albert Memorial Museum

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is one of the best museums in the region, with a fantastic collection of art, natural history, and cultural artefacts. With free entry and plenty of interactive exhibits, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

4. Explore Exeter’s Underground Passages

The underground passages in Exeter are a fascinating and unique attraction, giving visitors a glimpse into the city’s history and architecture. Take a guided tour and learn about the tunnels and their uses over the centuries.

5. Enjoy the Outdoors at Exeter Quay and Riverside Valley Park

If you’re looking for some fresh air and green space, head to Exeter Quay and Riverside Valley Park. Here you’ll find beautiful riverside walks, parks, and gardens, as well as plenty of opportunities for cycling, boating, and other outdoor activities.

6. Indulge in Some Retail Therapy at Princesshay

Princesshay is a modern and stylish shopping centre in the heart of Exeter. With over 70 shops, cafes, and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs or treat yourself to a new outfit or two.

7. Learn About Exeter’s History at Tuckers Hall

Tuckers Hall is a historic building in the city centre, once used as a guildhall for local tradespeople. Today it’s open to the public as a museum, with exhibits on Exeter’s fascinating history and culture.

8. Take a Trip to Exeter’s Historic Quay

Exeter’s Historic Quay is a charming and picturesque part of the city, with a rich maritime history. Take a boat trip or wander around the independent shops, cafes, and galleries, and soak up the atmosphere of this unique and beautiful part of Exeter.

9. Sample Some Local Cuisine at Exeter’s Best Restaurants

Exeter is home to some fantastic restaurants, serving up delicious cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional pub meal or something more exotic, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste buds in Exeter.

10. Attend a Performance at the Exeter Northcott Theatre

The Exeter Northcott Theatre is a popular venue for theatre, dance, and other live performances. Check out the schedule to see what’s on during your visit, and enjoy a night of entertainment in this historic and atmospheric theatre.

Exeter quay and things to do

Outdoor Adventures in Exeter and Beyond

Exeter is situated in the heart of the stunning Devon countryside, offering visitors plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. 

Here are some of the best things to do in Exeter and the surrounding area for outdoor enthusiasts:

  • Go hiking in Dartmoor National Park: Just a short drive from Exeter, Dartmoor National Park offers breathtaking views and endless hiking opportunities. With over 368 square miles of moorland to explore, you’re sure to find a trail that suits your abilities.
  • Take a bike ride along the Exe Estuary Trail: This scenic trail follows the River Exe from Exeter to Exmouth and offers stunning views of the estuary and surrounding countryside. The trail is flat and well-maintained, making it suitable for cyclists of all abilities.
  • Kayak along the River Exe: For a unique perspective on Exeter and the surrounding area, take a guided kayak tour along the River Exe. Paddle past historic buildings and under ancient bridges while enjoying the tranquillity of the river.

Food and Drink in Exeter

Exeter is home to a vibrant food and drink scene, with plenty of options for every taste and budget. Here are some of the best places to eat and drink in Exeter:

  • The Exploding Bakery: This popular bakery serves up delicious cakes, pastries, and coffee in a trendy, industrial-style setting.
  • The Fat Pig: For a hearty meal, head to The Fat Pig, a gastropub serving up delicious British classics with a modern twist.
  • The Hourglass: This quirky bar serves up a range of craft beers and cocktails in a cosy, relaxed setting.

Things to Do in Exeter: FAQ

What are some free things to do in Exeter?

There are plenty of free things to do in Exeter, including visiting the cathedral, exploring the underground passages, walking along the quayside, and visiting the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

What’s the best time of year to visit Exeter?

Exeter is a great destination year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your interests. Summer is a popular time for outdoor activities, while autumn and winter are great for cultural events and festivals.

What are some family-friendly activities in Exeter?

Exeter is a great destination for families, with plenty of parks, museums, and other attractions to keep kids of all ages entertained. Some top picks include Crealy Adventure Park, World of Country Life, and the Devon Wildlife Trust.

How can I get around Exeter?

Exeter is a compact city that’s easy to explore on foot, but if you need to go a bit further, there are plenty of public transportation options available. You can take the bus, train, or even hire a bike to get around.

What are some must-see attractions in Exeter?

Some of the top attractions in Exeter include the cathedral, the underground passages, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter Quay, and the historic city centre. However, there are plenty of other hidden gems to discover as well.

What’s the nightlife like in Exeter?

Exeter has a lively and diverse nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, pubs, and clubs to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual drink with friends or a night of dancing, you’ll find plenty of options in Exeter.

Summary of Things to Do in Exeter

With its rich history, stunning countryside, and vibrant food and drink scene, Exeter has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s history and culture or embarking on an outdoor adventure, you’re sure to find plenty of things to do in Exeter and the surrounding area. 

From exploring the cathedral and the underground passages to shopping at Princesshay and enjoying the great outdoors at Riverside Valley Park, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of the world.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Exeter today, and experience all that this wonderful city has to offer.

We hope this article on things to do in Exeter has been helpful in planning your trip and that you have a wonderful time exploring Southwest England.

If you’re planning a holiday to Devon, take a look at the Quayside Hotel in Brixham situated on the South Coast. The stunning fishing village is brimming with things to see and do and is one of the best hotels in Brixham harbour.

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