Exeter Travel Guide

Discover the top places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and what to eat in Exeter, Devon, with our comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Exeter

Nestled in the heart of Devon, Exeter offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. This small city is situated on the River Exe and boasts a rich history that’s reflected in its many old buildings, museums, and galleries.

Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or a food lover, Exeter has something for everyone. From exploring historical sites to enjoying breathtaking views, there’s no shortage of activities to do in this charming city. In this travel guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the top places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and what to eat in Exeter, Devon.

List of Places to Visit in Exeter

Exeter is full of cultural and natural attractions. Here are some of the top places to visit:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Exeter is steeped in history, and its many museums and historical landmarks are a testament to that. Here are a few places to visit for a taste of the city’s past:

  • Exeter Cathedral: This magnificent cathedral has stood at the heart of Exeter for over 900 years. It’s a must-visit for architecture lovers, history buffs, and those seeking peace and quiet.
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery: RAMM is a dynamic museum that offers an interactive and engaging introduction to a range of local and global cultures. The gallery boasts a vast and varied collection, from ancient Egyptian mummies to contemporary art.
  • Guildhall Shopping Center: The Guildhall Shopping Center is a historical building located in the heart of Exeter that dates back to the 14th century. Here, visitors can shop for souvenirs, explore the markets, and enjoy the building’s stunning architecture.

Natural Attractions of Exeter: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Exeter is set amidst some of Devon’s most spectacular natural landscapes, from the rolling hills of Dartmoor to the rugged coastline. Here are a few natural attractions to explore:

  • River Exe Walk: This eight-mile circular walk takes you through the beautiful Devon countryside, passing by peaceful villages and stunning riverside scenery.
  • Dartmoor National Park: Located a short drive from Exeter, Dartmoor National Park is a vast and beautiful wilderness area, perfect for cycling, hiking, and picnics.
  • Exeter Quay: The Quay is a bustling area along the River Exe where visitors can enjoy a coffee or a beer in historic surroundings, with plenty of places to shop and eat.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Exeter

Exeter has a wealth of opportunities for hikers and cyclists of all levels. Some of the best trails include:

  • Exe Estuary Trail: This 26-mile route is perfect for cycling enthusiasts looking to explore some of Devon’s most stunning coastal scenery.
  • Haldon Forest Park: The sprawling Haldon Forest Park has a network of hiking and cycling trails that range from family-friendly paths to more challenging routes.
  • Dartmoor Way: The Dartmoor Way is a 108-mile circular route that takes in some of the best scenery in southwest England, including Dartmoor National Park.

Best Things to Do in Exeter: Activities and Tours

There’s plenty to keep you busy in Exeter, whether you’re traveling with friends, family, or on your own. Some of the top things to do include:

  • Exeter Underground Passages Tour: Explore some of Exeter’s more mysterious attractions, as you descend beneath the city’s streets to discover the ancient passages running beneath the city.
  • Go Ape Haldon: This exciting and challenging treetop adventure offers visitors a chance to experience high-level thrills in the beautiful surroundings of Haldon Forest Park.
  • Exeter Ghost Tour: Explore the darker side of Exeter’s history on this guided tour, where you’ll hear stories of ghosts, murderers, and other mysteries from the city’s past.

Week-Long Itinerary for Exeter

If you’re planning a week-long stay in Exeter, here’s an itinerary that will help you make the most of your time:

Day Activity
1 Visit Exeter Cathedral and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum
2 Take a tour of the Underground Passages and explore the city center
3 Spend the day at Haldon Forest Park, hiking and biking
4 Go on a guided ghost tour of Exeter
5 Explore the beautiful Devon coastline on the Exe Estuary Trail
6 Spend the day at Dartmoor National Park
7 Visit Guildhall Shopping Center and the Quay area

Food and Drink of Exeter

Exeter has a thriving food scene, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and local markets to choose from. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Devonshire Cream Tea: A classic Devon dish, the cream tea consists of scones served with clotted cream and preserves, and is the perfect snack for any time of the day.
  • Fish & Chips: Freshly battered fish and crispy chips are a staple of the British diet, and Exeter has plenty of restaurants where you can indulge in this dish.
  • Devonshire Cider: Devonshire is known for its apple orchards, and the local cider is a true delicacy. It’s dry, refreshing and is perfect for sipping on a warm summer afternoon.

Local Beverages

  • Exeter Brewery: This brewery is famous for its specialty ales and has been brewing beer for over 15 years. They offer tours and tastings, which are a must-try for any beer enthusiast.
  • Sharpham Vineyard and Cheese Dairy: The vineyard produces some delicious English wines and is home to a cheese dairy that produces some of the best cheese in the region.

Where to Stay in Exeter: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Exeter offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here are a few options:

  • Mercure Exeter Rougemont Hotel: This four-star hotel is situated in the heart of the city, making it the perfect base for exploring all that Exeter has to offer.
  • YHA Exeter: YHA Exeter is a budget-friendly option that offers clean and comfortable hostel accommodation, with a range of facilities and activities for guests to enjoy.
  • The Telstar Guest House: This family-run guest house offers comfortable and affordable accommodation, just a short walk from the city center.

What to Buy in Exeter: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Exeter is home to a wide range of shops selling souvenirs, locally made products, and antiques. Here are a few must-visit places:

  • Exeter Antiques Center: The center offers a vast selection of antiques, collectibles, and vintage items, making it the perfect place to find a unique souvenir or vintage item.
  • Exeter Guildhall Shopping Center: The shopping center offers a range of local products, gifts, and souvenirs, including food and drink, jewelry, and clothing.
  • Exeter Farmers Market: The market is held every Thursday and Saturday and offers a range of fresh and organic produce, including fruits and vegetables, meats, cheese, and baked goods.

Local Culture and Customs of Exeter

Exeter has a rich cultural heritage that’s reflected in its architecture, events, and customs. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your visit:

  • Pubs: Pubs are a staple of British culture, and Exeter has plenty of them. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending more time in a pub than you planned.
  • Eccentricity: The people of Exeter are known for their quirky sense of humor and love of the unusual. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some eccentric characters during your visit.
  • Festivals and Events: Exeter hosts a range of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink and the Contemporary Craft Festival.

Best Time to Visit Exeter

The best time to visit Exeter is between April and October when the weather is warm and sunny. However, the city can get busy during the summer months, so be prepared for crowds if you’re visiting during this time.

Do’s and Don’ts of Exeter

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during your visit to Exeter:


  • Take a walk along the River Exe: It’s the perfect way to take in the city’s natural beauty and see some of the historical landmarks.
  • Visit the local markets and enjoy some local produce: The food scene in Exeter is fantastic, and a visit to the local markets is a must-do for foodies.
  • Experience the nightlife: Exeter has a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of pubs and clubs to choose from.


  • Litter: Exeter, like any city, is expected to be kept clean and tidy, so make sure to dispose of your waste properly.
  • Be disrespectful to the locals: Exeter is a friendly city, and locals are welcoming to visitors. Be respectful of the local customs and traditions during your stay.
  • Miss out on the outdoor adventures: Exeter is surrounded by some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside, so make sure to get out and explore the natural beauty on offer.

Safety and Health

Exeter is generally a safe city with low levels of crime. However, visitors should take the usual precautions, such as avoiding poorly lit areas at night and keeping valuables out of sight. As with any travel, make sure to carry adequate travel insurance and have access to medical care if needed.

Getting to Exeter: Transportation Options and Logistics

Exeter is easily accessible by a range of transport options. Here are some of the best ways to get to Exeter:

Airports Near Exeter

  • Exeter International Airport: The airport is located just five miles east of Exeter and offers flights to a range of destinations across the UK and Europe.

Bus Stations Near Exeter

  • Exeter Bus Station: The station is located in the city center and offers connections to destinations across the UK, including London and Bristol.

Other Options

  • Train: Exeter has two train stations, Exeter St. Davids and Exeter Central, offering direct connections to destinations across the UK.
  • Car: Exeter is easily accessible by car and is well-connected to major road networks across the UK, including the M5 and A30.

How to Get Around in Exeter

Exeter is a compact city, and most of the major attractions can be reached on foot. However, there are plenty of transportation options available, including local buses and taxis.


Exeter has a reliable public bus system, with regular services running throughout the city and the surrounding area. A range of tickets and multi-day passes are available, making it an affordable option for getting around.


There are several taxi companies operating in Exeter, offering a convenient option for those who prefer to travel by car. Prices can vary, so it’s always wise to agree on a fare before starting your journey.

Where to Go Next from Exeter: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Exeter is a great base for exploring some of the nearby towns and cities in Devon. Here are some recommended destinations:

  • Plymouth: The vibrant city of Plymouth is just a short drive from Exeter and offers a wide range of attractions, including the National Marine Aquarium and Mayflower Steps.
  • Dawlish: The pretty seaside town of Dawlish is a great destination for a day trip from Exeter. Here, visitors can enjoy a walk along the pier and indulge in some traditional Devonshire cream tea.
  • Torquay: Known as the English Riviera, Torquay is a popular coastal town with plenty to offer. Visitors can enjoy the beaches, explore the town’s many shops and restaurants or take a boat trip along the coast.


Exeter is a city that offers something for everyone, from history lovers to outdoor adventurers and foodies. With its rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant culture, it’s no surprise that Exeter has become such a popular destination for travelers looking to explore the southwest of England.

We hope this travel guide has given you a taste of what Exeter has to offer and has inspired you to plan your trip to this stunning city. So, pack your bags and get ready to experience the best of Devon in Exeter!