The list of reasons to visit the historical city of Exeter goes on and on. So many people visiting England assume that the one-and-only place to see is London, but they are highly mistaken. Exeter is located on the banks of River Exe in the southwestern part of the country. The city of Exeter is a place for historians, architectural fanatics, and culture lovers from around the world.
You can spend your days in Exeter exploring the serene riverbanks, strolling through museums and cathedrals, and visiting pubs throughout the city. Still not sure if a trip to Exeter while in the United Kingdom is something to add to your bucket list?
Check out these 20 interesting facts about Exeter
- The main cathedral – Exeter Cathedral – was established in 1050 and is one of the most visited tourist spots in the area. If you are a fan of architecture, this is the place to see. The Gothic style church is a perfect representation of England in another era. It is in the heart of the city and see if they will take you up to the roof, it’s worth it!
- Exeter is the safest place in England to drive a car. It turns out that the the roads here are as much as 50% safer than those in the rest of the country. So if you’re nervous about renting a car and driving somewhere foreign to you, fear not! This is one of the safest places to do it.
- Exeter is the capital city of the South Devon region. Although most of Exeter is comprised of city streets, Devon is home to some of the most stunning countrysides in all of England.
- Explore a different side of the city by checking out the network of underground passages. Originally these tunnels were used to bring clean water to city residents back in the 14th century, but damage to the pipes was common and leaks were frequent. The city felt that repairing them constantly was too costly and time-consuming. Now, however, you can take a walk through these underground passages with a guided tour company.
- Ever heard of Harry Potter? Chances are you have, since it is one of the most well-known book series in the world. The creator of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, hails from Exeter and received much her inspiration for the wizarding world from the city. Just imagine Rowling writing stories of Harry, Ron, and Hermione in one of Exeter’s cafes.
- If you want history, consider staying in the oldest hotel in Britain. The Royal Clarence Hotel was established in 1769 as the first hotel in the country. Even though the building itself is old, it has undergone several major renovations, including one after the recent fire of October 2016.
- If you are experiencing some late night munchies, the best place to head is the Exeter Street Food Night Market. No matter what you are in the mood for, you’ll find it. Food trucks and tents from around the city feature cuisine from Persia, Spain, Vietnam, America, and of course England. It is the best way to try food from local independent restaurants throughout the city.
- Hoping for a beach day? This is extremely doable when travelling to Exeter; Dawlish is nearby and home to some of the best beaches in Devon.
- One of the most famed musical talents in the world is from Exeter. Chris Martin of Coldplay was born here in 1977. The band has received tons of awards and Grammys for their musical masterpieces and sold more than 90 million records around the world.
- You can see how the richest and most prestigious English families lived when you visit Powderham Castle. It was built over 600 years ago and has served as a home for some of the most reputable residents of Exeter. Even if you don’t fancy stunning architecture, the pristine grounds will definitely impress you. It is a short drive south of the city, and well worth your time.
- If you’re a fan of a nice gin and tonic, be sure to order your drink with Exeter Gin. This gin company tries to stay true to the ancient Roman heritage of the city with a strong flavor that goes down smooth.
- Many people avoid coming to England because of the weather: rain, rain, and more rain. But this isn’t always the case. Consider booking your ticket to Exeter between June and August, the driest months of the year. But still not too hot to explore the city streets and countryside.
- Travelling with kids? Check out Haldon Forest Park where you can get a hefty dose of fresh air. It is perfect for nature lovers of all ages, especially if you’re seeking adventure and mountain biking sounds like a good time. Families will love the themed trails that wind throughout the park. Take the kids along Discovery Trail and Butterfly Trail for a day outdoors.
- You can find a fun festival here at any point during the year. No matter your interests, there is something to keep you busy. Film enthusiasts should check out the Exeter Film Fest and foodies should come during the Food and Drink Fest.
- If you’re wanting to explore the city but also trying to stick to a budget, there is actually an organization that offers a variety of guided tours throughout Exeter. The company is called Red Coat Guided Tours and the guides are volunteers who have a passion for the city. There are tours for everything, even if you want to check out the haunted sites around Exeter.
- You can be in the heart of London in just a few hours by taking a railway from Exeter. Head to London for the day and be back in charming Exeter by dinnertime.
- Quicke’s Cheese is a pride and joy of many Exeter natives. Its cheddar has even won several awards, so stop by the farm for a tasting.
- Pebblebed Winery takes advantage of the fertile soil and mild climate surrounding Exeter in order to produce some of the best wine in England. If you come to the winery between May and September you can sample everything from Merlot to Seyval Blanc.
- The name Parliament Street sounds as if it would be something regal and majestic. But in actuality this street in Exeter is one of the smallest in the world. At its narrowest point it is only 25 inches in width.
- There is actually an old tudor-style home in the heart of Exeter that was moved from its original spot to a new location in the 1960’s. The main reason for the move was because the city needed to build a road in its original location, but the residents did not want to see the historical home torn down. You can now take a tour through the “house that moved” during your visit to Exeter.
Thanks to Visit Exeter and Visit Britain for hosting my stay in Exeter, I had a great time. That said, all words are mine as they always have been and always will be. #STSBelfast