City Guide: Exeter
After having lived in Exeter for the last three years, it is about time to write a city guide. Exeter is in the South-West of England about half an hour away from the sea. Its location makes it an ideal stop-over on a journey to Cornwall.
Exeter itself is a little town filled with thousands of students, but also with a nice river and a relatively big high street.
While Exeter doesn’t have that many spectacular sights, I would still like to point out a few nice spots to you in this city guide. To be truthful I haven’t really been a tourist in Exeter, so I skipped the chance of visiting the Underground Passages, which is usually often recommended.
Cathedral Church of Saint Peter at Exeter
The Anglican church was completed around 1400 and has quite a few distinct features. For example, a set of misericords as well as the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling.
If you want to visit the inside of the Cathedral, you either have to be lucky and sneak in shortly before a mass or pay the entry fee. Frequently there will also be choirs or other concerts given in the cathedral.
The Quayside in Exeter is one of the loveliest places for both locals and visitors. Several restaurants and little shops with handmade crafts can be found here. It is also an ideal spot for going running.
Exeter – Traces of Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling, who studied at the University of Exeter, and is probably the most famous of its alumnis, has found some inspiration for Harry Potter during here time in Exeter and surroundings. Gandy Street, according to her, has inspired her vision of Diagon Alley.
Can you see the resemblance?
Exeter Royal Clarence Hotel
The hotel, located in the Cathedral Yard, used to be the oldest hotel in England. Sadly, it was completely destroyed by a fire in October 2016.
Our picture was taken shortly beforehand. Efforts are being made to restore the building.
Northernhay Gardens and Exeter Castle
The Northernhay Gardens are close to the Central Station and one of its entries is located at the opposite of the Mercure Rougemont Hotel. It is known as the oldest public space in England. Since 1612 it has served as a leisure space for residents.
Inside Northernhay Gardens you will find a part of a Roman wall (there are a few remains of these all over the city). Towards one side of the park, there is also the Rougemont Castle to be found.
St. Lukes Campus
Exeter University has three campuses, one of them is located in Cornwall and two in Exeter. The bigger and newer one is Streatham Campus and the smaller, older one is called St. Lukes Campus.
Both the School of Sport and Health are located here.
This is a small, well-maintained residential area that I used to pass on my way to university. It just has a lot of charm so wanted to include here as an insider tip.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery
This museum is free of charge and offers a display of Exeter and Devon history, exotic animals and more.
Inside you can also find a nice and cosy cafe.
My recommendation for a great afternoon tea
My absolute favourite place in Exeter for afternoon tea in an authentic, little cafe, is the Hidden Treasure Tea Room. You have to book in advance during weekends and make sure to take cash, because card payments are not an option, but it’s so worth it.
It is located less than five minutes away from high street and the food is absolutely delicious!
What I personally think of the city
I got to know Exeter from a different perspective than most people travelling through will have the chance to. While I’ve started to hate the long journey to Exeter from Germany, I appreciated the calmness and the closeness to nature very much. The city centre has a few historic spots and buildings, but high street is much more modern and less beautiful architecturally. However, I enjoyed having the opportunity to explore some other historic areas such as the St. Lukes Campus and Horseguards. Another positive side effect of Exeter’s location is the closeness to sea towns such as Exmouth, Sidmouth and so on. These also allow you to go hiking along the Jurassic Coast.