Visit Exeter, Devon and Cornwall.
There’s something for everyone here in the beautiful English city of Exeter. Our Roman city attracts visitors from all over the world and many South West locations are within an hour’s travel.
So stay in our city and explore, here are a few tips to help you along the way. You can also see more on our YouTube channel.
Visit Exeter – getting around
When you explore Exeter there’s no need to use your car. Everywhere in the city is within an easy walk. Venture a little further afield using trains, buses or options for short term rental of bikes and canoes!
Co-cars and Co-bikes offer smart, mobility-on-demand solutions. Choose from a range of hire-by-the-hour hybrid and electric cars or why not take an electric bike for a spin around the city. You’ll find Co-cars at locations around Exeter. Mileage is free for electric cars when using Co-cars charging posts. Bike hubs are also located around the city. Visit www.co-cars.co.uk and www.co-bikes.co.uk for latest information.
There are great scenic railways – locally the lines along the Exe and the South Devon Coast or the Tarka line to Barnstaple offer many fantastic views and opportunities to stop for a walk or some exploring.
If you would prefer to let somebody else organise your tours from Exeter take a look at Unique Devon Tours.
And when you want to take a rest there’s a great choice of bars, restaurant and hotels in Exeter city centre.
Exercise the body, the mind, or just chill out!
There are plenty of opportunities to exercise the body and mind abound when you visit Exeter and beyond. Walk or cycle the Exe Estuary Trail, take a breather and spot some of the many visiting birds. Next – why not visit the Quay Climbing Centre or put your walking boots on and take part in letterboxing on Dartmoor! So here are some more suggestions on how to Get Active in South Devon.
The South West Coast Path is Britain’s longest national trail, a staggering 630 miles starting in Minehead and finishing in South Haven Point. In other words it’s an outstanding experience and there are lots of short sections that you can enjoy for a day or even half-day walk. In Exeter you can walk the City Walls or the longer Green Circle, and then take your choice of bars, restaurant and hotels in Exeter city centre.
South Devon’s places to visit
Discover South Devon’s Countryside for more opportunities to enjoy the surrounding area.
In addition the temperate climate allows for great gardens to thrive. These include The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Stourhead and the RHS Garden Rosemoor. For something local try the National Garden Scheme!
Whether your interest is in fresh water or the sea there is a wide range of water sports. Highlights include canoeing, kayaking, surfing or just sitting back and enjoying a day cruise.
Our region is renowned for its food and drink – you can trace the produce from source to table! Next take a look at the Exeter Food & Drink trail, Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink and the Seafood Coast!
Culture in the South West
As well as the world’s biggest music festival held at the end of June most years at Glastonbury, after that there are plenty of other music festivals in the South West. Local to Exeter are Beautiful Days, Chagstock, as well as Port Eliot, just beyond Plymouth, being a wonderful experience. Musicians from Muse come from Devon, as well as other artists including Ben Howard, Seth Lakeman and Chris Martin from Coldplay!
Chris Martin (Coldplay) at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter 2016 – (c) Exeter City Council
In Exeter go to Exeter Phoenix, Barnfield Theatre and Exeter Northcott Theatre. Further afield, the outdoor Minack Theatre in Cornwall is one of a kind, high on the cliffs in Porthcurno, Cornwall.
Then, if film and television locations interest you, visit Port Isaac to see the location for the popular TV series Doc Martin. In addition there are also opportunities to visit TV locations for Poldark, the Rosamunde Pilcher books so popular in Germany and films such as The Mercy and Warhorse.
Art in South Devon provides plenty of places to visit. Indeed from ancient to modern, from Sir Joshua Reynolds, founder of the Royal Academy to Damian Hirst, one of the leaders of Young British Artists. For example lovers of modern art, a visit to see Hirst’s powerful Verity in Ilfracombe makes for a great day out. Or a visit Bruton and the Hauser & Wirth gallery. Closer to Exeter, a visit to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey can easily be combined with Dartmoor.
The region has long attracted authors and poets – Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Laurie Lee, Thomas Hardy, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Michael Morpurgo amongst many others. Stroll down Gandy Street when you visit Exeter – the rumoured inspiration for Diagon Alley in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. For those interested in literature, there are festivals across the region including Budleigh Salterton.
Gandy Street – (c) In Exeter
Uncover the History and Heritage of South Devon through the National Trust. Local highlights and places to visit in the South West include
- Killerton near Exeter.
- Knighthayes Court (a gothic fantasy near Tiverton).
- Al la Ronde (a crazy many sided house near Exmouth).
- Greenway near Torquay for Agatha Christie enthusiasts.
- Coleton Fishacre (an arts and craft house near Kingswear!)
Some visitors come to trace their ancestors. A good place to start is the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter or the Cornwall Family History Society.
Sports and Events in the South West
When you visit Exeter there is spectator sport with world class Rugby union watching the Exeter Chiefs, the community owned Exeter City Football Club with a great tradition of developing young players and horse racing at Exeter Racecourse. As well as this, county and international cricket can be enjoyed at Taunton.
Make sure you check out what events are taking place in Exeter and Devon during your stay. In 2020 events in Dartmouth and Plymouth celebrate 400 years since the Mayflower voyage to the USA.
Day trips from hotels in Exeter city centre
Many places to visit in the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire are within an hour’s travel time! This includes world class resorts and beaches in Devon & Cornwall. Here are some of the more local highlights, when you visit Exeter:
- Exeter Cathedral
- Undergound passages-Exeter
- The Exeter Quay
- Exeter RAMM
- Jurassic Coast – Sidmouth, Beer and Seaton Tramway
- Dartmouth, Salcombe, Totnes
- Bantham, Hope Cove, Burgh Island, Hallsands
- Dartmoor – The Tors and Lydford Gorge
You might like to read our blog entries for the Visit Exeter website. The first gives hints and tips on how to find the best accommodation in Exeter and the second gives suggestions on places to visit in the region. So rather than look at hotels in Exeter city centre, stay longer in a luxury apartment!
You can make Exeter and a touring trip to the South West whatever you want to make it. You’ll never be short of options!
Guest advice when you visit Exeter:
“A perfect place to explore Exeter, the South Devon coast and the NT properties nearby.” April 2018 – Guests from the UK 5.0 ★★★★★