15 Best Things to Do in Exeter, England

15 Best Things to Do in Exeter, England

By will

Are you looking for a place to explore and experience the beauty of England?

Then look no further than Exeter, England!

This beautiful city is full of unique attractions and activities, sure to make your trip one you’ll never forget.

From breathtaking beaches to historical sites and delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in Exeter.

Let’s take a closer look at 15 of the best things to do in this amazing destination so you can start planning your epic getaway!

1. Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral
Photo by Julian P Guffogg

Exeter Cathedral is a stunningly beautiful building and one of the best things to do in Exeter, England.

Built-in the early 12th century, it stands on the site of a smaller church that was originally constructed in 1050.

The cathedral is renowned for its impressive Gothic architecture and its huge stained-glass windows.

It’s also home to a number of significant historical artifacts and artworks, including statues from the 15th century and a rare copy of the Magna Carta.

Visiting Exeter Cathedral can be an inspiring experience.

Inside, you’ll find peaceful chapels and soaring arches that create an awe-inspiring atmosphere.

You can also take advantage of the guided tours and audio tours that are available to learn more about the history of the building and admire its unique features.

As you wander through this sacred space, you’ll feel liberated by its ancient grandeur – a feeling that will linger long after your visit is over.

2. Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery
Photo by Andrew Abbott

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Exeter.

Located in the city’s center, the museum is a large and impressive collection of art, artifacts, and objects from around the world.

It’s also home to a number of interesting exhibitions, including works on local history, natural history, and archaeology.

Visitors can explore seven galleries that tell stories about Exeter’s past and present.

They’ll discover exhibits on the city’s ancient Roman origins to its vibrant modern culture.

There are also interactive displays that allow visitors to delve deeper into the city’s history with hands-on activities.

A visit to RAMM will leave you with an appreciation for this unique corner of England.

3. Historic Quayside

Historic Quay Entrance
Photo by Kevin Waterhouse

Moving on from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, visitors to Exeter shouldn’t miss out on the Historic Quayside.

This area is full of fascinating historical buildings and landmarks, including the Guildhall and the old Customs House.

It’s also home to a number of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants.

The Guildhall has been standing in its current incarnation since 1510 and is well worth a visit for anyone interested in history or architecture.

The building has hosted many famous events throughout its long history, including royal visits.

Inside you can find some amazing artworks by local artists as well as a museum dedicated to the city’s past.

The Custom House dates back to 1680 and is one of Exeter’s oldest buildings.

It was originally used as a place where taxes were collected but now serves as a popular tourist attraction.

Visitors can explore the interior of this remarkable building, learn about its long history, and admire the beautiful architecture that surrounds it.

The Quayside also offers some unique views across the River Exe – perfect for taking in some stunning sunsets!

4. Royal Albert Memorial Museum

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Exeter.

Located in the heart of the city, this exquisite museum houses a variety of captivating exhibits that tell the story of the Land of Devon.

From its prehistoric origins to its modern-day culture, visitors will find themselves immersed in an exciting journey through time.

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The museum’s galleries feature artifacts from all periods of history, from prehistory to the present day.

There are also interactive displays with plenty of opportunities for learning and exploration.

Plus, there’s an impressive natural history collection where you can learn about local wildlife and explore some fascinating specimens.

With so much to see and do, it’s easy to get lost in the museum’s world for hours on end!

5. The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

Next on the list of best things to do in Exeter is a visit to The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

This museum offers visitors an insight into the world of film, showing how movies have evolved over time.

Located in the heart of Exeter’s city center, this museum offers interactive activities and events that bring films to life.

Visitors can explore the history and legacy of the film with a variety of exhibitions and installations, such as a recreation of a 1920s cinema, a collection of rare posters and lobby cards, and a range of vintage cameras.

They can even watch films from every era on one of their many screens.

For those looking for something more immersive, The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum also offers interactive workshops and screenings that allow guests to get up close and personal with the world of film.

Here they can learn about the history, techniques, and technology behind creating films as well as get hands-on experience in filmmaking themselves.

With so much to offer, it’s no wonder this museum has become one of Exeter’s most popular attractions.

Whether you’re an aspiring filmmaker or just someone who loves watching films, you won’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity to explore the world of cinema!

6. Topsham Museum

Nestled in the heart of Devon, Topsham Museum is a hidden gem that’s well worth a visit.

If you’re looking for unique and interesting things to do in Exeter, this museum is definitely worth exploring.

With a range of fascinating displays and interactive exhibits, it has something for everyone.

Housed in the historic Old Forge building, Topsham Museum takes you on a journey through history and culture.

The museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts from the local area, including items from the Iron Age to the modern day.

There are also interactive exhibits that bring history to life with artifacts from all over the world, as well as interactive activities such as quizzes and hands-on activities.

As you wander through the museum’s galleries and displays, you’ll be able to learn about Exeter’s rich past; from its Roman origins to its development into an important port city during the Industrial Revolution.

At Topsham Museum, you can also explore their beautiful gardens and find out more about their conservation work in protecting Devon’s wildlife.

This is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a few hours, while still enjoying learning about Exeter’s past.

Whether you’re on holiday or just visiting for the day, Topsham Museum is sure to provide an enriching experience that will stay with you long after your visit!

7. Exeter Food Festival

Leaving Topsham Museum, we head to Exeter Food Festival.

There’s something in the air that marks this as a special event – the smell of freshly cooked food, the sound of laughter and music, and an atmosphere of fun.

This is one of England’s most popular food festivals, and it takes place in Exeter each year.

Visitors can expect to find a huge variety of local ingredients, dishes, and drinks from all over Devon.

Plus there are plenty of activities for all ages, from cooking classes to live demonstrations by chefs.

You can also try your hand at making traditional English dishes, sample delicious local fares such as cream teas or pastries, or even take part in a scavenger hunt around the city center.

Exeter Food Festival is a great way to experience some truly unique flavors and get a taste of what life is like in Devon.

It’s an opportunity to discover new ingredients and dishes that you may never have tried before – all while enjoying the sights and sounds of one of England’s most beautiful cities.

8. Cathedral Green

Perched atop a hill overlooking Exeter in Devon, England, Cathedral Green is one of the city’s most remarkable attractions.

This beautiful green space spans the entire length of the city, providing breathtaking views and lush greenery.

A popular spot for locals and tourists alike, it’s easy to see why this area is so beloved.

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The greenery here is simply stunning, with colorful flowers blooming in abundance around mature trees.

There are plenty of benches dotted throughout the park for visitors to sit and relax, or take in the views from any angle.

It’s also a great place for a leisurely stroll or an afternoon jog – or perhaps even a picnic!

The open-air events held here throughout the year are always well attended by locals and tourists alike; whether it’s film screenings on summer evenings or live music performances during the day, there’s something for everyone at Cathedral Green.

This spectacular green space is a must-visit when exploring Exeter – come here to relax and take in the beauty of nature while soaking up some culture too.

It’s easy to spend hours wandering through its many paths and admiring its natural beauty; it’s no wonder that Cathedral Green has become such an iconic part of this vibrant city!

9. Northernhay And Rougemont Gardens

Leaving behind the grandeur of Cathedral Green, visitors can journey to Northernhay and Rougemont Gardens.

Here, ancient trees tower overhead, and vibrant flowers fill the air with a scent of serenity.

This tranquil setting is located near Exeter’s city center and provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The area is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic on the grassy slopes.

For those who enjoy art and history, there is an impressive collection of bronze statues to admire.

The gardens also host various events throughout the year, including music concerts, theatre performances, and outdoor cinema screenings.

The colorful flower beds are perfect for photography enthusiasts too; making it easy to capture beautiful scenes in any season.

From providing a pleasant spot for relaxation to serving as an enchanting backdrop for special occasions, Northernhay and Rougemont Gardens offer something for everyone.

Take time to explore this picturesque corner of Exeter – it’s sure to become one of your favorite places in the city!

10. Old Firehouse

Nestled in the heart of Exeter, the Old Firehouse is a must-see attraction.

This historic building was built in 1845 and served as a fire station until 1975.

Now, it’s been transformed into an exciting tourist spot with plenty to explore.

Step inside and you’ll be greeted by vintage firefighting memorabilia, including a turn-of-the-century horse-drawn fire engine.

There are also interactive exhibits that bring the past to life, such as firefighting equipment from yesteryear and a working model of a 19th-century fire alarm system.

A unique feature of the Old Firehouse is its open courtyard, which is perfect for warm summer days.

Here you can relax on one of the benches and soak up some sunshine while taking in the impressive views of the city skyline.

The courtyard also hosts regular events including live music performances and traditional folk dancing displays, making it an ideal place to kick back and experience some local culture.

11. Exe Coffee Roasters

Next on the list of best things to do in Exeter is a visit to Exe Coffee Roasters.

If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee, this is the place to go.

Located just off the High Street, it’s a cozy cafe and roastery boasting some of the finest locally-roasted coffee you’ll find anywhere.

The shop is warm and inviting with a friendly atmosphere and knowledgeable baristas who will help guide you through their selection of coffees from around the world.

Whether you prefer an espresso, latte, cappuccino, or something else, they have something for everyone.

Plus, if you’re feeling adventurous, they even offer coffee flights where you can sample five different single-origin coffees from around the globe all in one go.

Coffee isn’t the only thing they offer – they also serve breakfast and lunch dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

From homemade pastries to freshly made sandwiches, there’s something for all appetites here.

And don’t forget about their sweet treats either – their cakes are simply divine!

So come along and enjoy some great coffee and food at Exe Coffee Roasters – it’s an experience not to be missed!

12. Underground Passages

Exeter is a city full of hidden gems, and one of those is the underground passages.

This network of medieval passageways is a must-see for any visitor – it’s an underground exploration like no other!

The passages are located beneath the city center and were originally built in the 14th century as part of the city’s defense system.

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Nowadays, although no longer used to defend the city, they’re open to visitors who want to explore their fascinating history.

The passages make for a unique experience as you follow their labyrinthine paths through dark tunnels.

You may even come across secret doors that are said to lead to hidden treasure!

You can also take a tour with knowledgeable guides who will tell you stories about these ancient passageways and lead you on your journey through them.

No matter how you explore them, the underground passages are sure to give you an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your visit to Exeter’s historic streets has ended.

13. Powderham Castle

Situated on the edge of Exeter, Powderham Castle is a breathtaking sight.

It’s an impressive example of Gothic architecture and a must-see for any visitor to this beautiful city.

The castle was originally built in 1390 and has been the home of the Courtenay family ever since.

The majestic building stands amidst lush parkland, creating an idyllic setting for visitors to explore.

The castle’s interior is equally as impressive, with its grand reception rooms, stately drawing rooms, and ornate bedrooms on display.

There are also fascinating exhibitions focusing on local history, as well as displays of arms and armor from centuries gone by.

A highlight of any visit is the deer park which features herds of red deer roaming freely around the grounds.

You can even take a boat trip along the River Exe to get closer to nature!

Exploring Powderham Castle provides an unforgettable experience that will have you dreaming of freedom for days to come.

14. Beer Beach

For a day of fun and relaxation, head over to Beer Beach in Exeter.

This gorgeous stretch of beach is nestled on the outskirts of town, offering the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll along the shore or some thrilling watersports activities, Beer Beach has it all.

The shallow waters make it great for swimming, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby serving up some delicious local seafood dishes.

For an unforgettable experience, take a boat tour out to the estuary, where you can spot seals and dolphins playing in their natural habitat.

There are also plenty of entertainment options nearby including live music events and outdoor cinemas.

No matter what you’re into, Beer Beach has something for everyone!

15. Exmouth Beach

Exmouth Beach is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

With miles of golden sand, it’s a great destination for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing.

It is also one of the best spots in Devon for spotting wildlife, with seals, dolphins, and seabirds all making regular appearances.

The beach is easily accessible by car or public transport, making it ideal for day trips.

To make the most of your visit, why not see if you can join one of the many guided coastal walks available?

This is an excellent way to explore the area and learn more about its fascinating geology and history.

There’s also a range of activities to enjoy on the beach – from kayaking to kitesurfing – so there’s something for everyone!

So why not head down to Exmouth Beach?

Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet or an action-packed adventure, this stunning stretch of coastline has something for everyone.

Life’s too short not to make the most of it – so go explore!

Best Things to Do in Exeter – Final Thoughts

I could go on and on about the amazing activities waiting for you in Exeter, England!

From exploring the underground passages and historic quayside to strolling along the beach or visiting museums – there’s something for everyone.

It’s no wonder why Exeter is such a popular tourist destination.

It has so much to offer in terms of culture and history, as well as leisure activities like relaxing at Beer Beach or going shopping on Gandy Street.

If you’re looking for a unique getaway with plenty of things to do, look no further than Exeter!

With its rich history, stunning beaches, and cultural attractions, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

I highly recommend adding it to your travel bucket list – you won’t regret it!

FAQs

What are the best things to do in Exeter with kids?

The best things to do in Exeter with kids are visiting Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter Cathedral, and Crealy Theme Park & Resort.

What to do during the day in Exeter?

The best things to do during the day in Exeter are visiting Exeter Cathedral, Northernhay Gardens, and Babbacombe Model Village.

Is Exeter worth visiting?

Yes, Exeter is worth visiting because of its incredible history, and is hailed as the third most aesthetic city in the UK.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.