Considering I’ve been living in Exeter for the past 5 months, I think it’s only natural that I write a post about what you absolutely must do when visiting!
Exeter is one of the largest cities in the Southwest of England, located in Devon county and it has stolen my heart. Weather wise since it’s located in the South it’s quite warmer than most of England. Exeter is a combination of some old original buildings, and modern buildings – largely in part to the bombings from the World Wars. The original buildings and ruins that have remained are protected now since they’re all that’s left.
1. Exeter Castle Ruins – When in Exeter you must visit the ruins of Exeter Castle. The castle itself is over 2,000 years old and you can stroll through what’s left of it along with its beautiful gardens. The Northernhay Gardens and Rougemont Castle are both attached to the castle and in the ruins of Rougemont Castle you can actually see the spot in which the last witch of England was hung. Quite eerie.
2. The Quay – The Quay is a must see when in Exeter. The area is situated alongside the River Exe and is quite picturesque with the various shops, restaurants and cafes. Why not enjoy a nice cuppa’ tea on a cool afternoon at a cafe, or a nice cold pint of Devon Cider in the summer? You can also get your daily dose of exercise in and go running, kayaking, canoeing, or rock climbing at the Quay! Want something more leisurely – try feeding the ducks and swans some bread. Often Exeter Street Food hosts events at the Quay, you can go sample various foods, treats and listen to some live music.
3. Exeter Cathedral – The Cathedral is probably one of the more well known aspects of Exeter and it is duly earned. The midevil Cathedral is breathtaking and the architecture is quite impressive. It is a fee to enter, however if you are a resident of Exeter or a student of the University of Exeter you can obtain a resident card and visit for free as much as you’d like. Of course, services are always free.
4. Cathedral Green – While the impressive Cathedral occupying the majority of the green, there are a variety of cafes, stores and hotels alongside the greens giving a great view of the Cathedral. Eating out? I highly recommend Tea on the Green – enjoy a nice cream tea outdoors with a view of the Cathedral. Accommodations – The Royal Clarence Hotel, a very picturesque and beautiful and also the oldest hotel in all of England. Sadly in late October the hotel suffered from a massive fire, but hopefully once the repares are finished it will be open again for future guests. During Christmastime visit the Exeter Christmas Market located on the Cathedral Green.
6. Highstreet – Every town has one, an Exeter is no different. Our high street is full of bustling shops, restaurants, grocery stores pubs and cafes. Princesshay is our main shopping center, picture a Tanger Outlets, the same outdoor shopping setup. Also located on the High Street are popular stores such as John Lewis and M&S.
7. Gandy Street – Take a trip into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and visit the real life inspiration for Diagon Alley. J.K. Rowling went to uni at Exeter and as expected she drew many inspirations from her real life experiences. The narrow, cobbled stone streets with shops everywhere are clear indicators of the Diagon Alley we have all come to know and love. Also check out The Old Firehouse Pub, just off of Gandy Street, it is the inspiration for the Leaky Cauldron.
One of the things I like most about Exeter is the fact that it does have a city feel to it – walking everywhere, a little hustle and bustle at the high street and a variety of different foods and shops. However, Exeter still maintains a quaintness to it, and balances the city feel quite nicely with a rural town feel. I can look out my window and see the rolling green hills dotted with sheep, or walk out my front door and shop at a large chain store. It truly is the best of both worlds. I hope you enjoy Exeter as much as I have these past 5 months.
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