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What you need to know about Exeter

There’s plenty to love about Exeter – it’s a relaxed and lively city by the sea, with glimpses of the city’s 2000 years of history everywhere, from Roman ruins to charming cobbled streets and the dramatic Gothic cathedral.


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Modern Exeter is a delightful mix of ancient and modern, with a vibrant student community and an air of sophistication that somehow still retains its Devonian charm.

It’s a city packed with history, heritage and culture, with outstanding restaurants and bars, a swish new shopping centre and plenty of buzzing nightlife.

And of course you’re in beautiful Devon, which has endless charms all of its own.

Food and drink

Exeter has undergone a culinary revolution in recent years, and is now considered one of the top foodie destinations in the UK. Lots of Exeter’s historic buildings have been transformed into trendy eating and drinking spots, with plenty of tasty treats to try.

The city centre is packed with cosy cafes, classy wine bars, cool cocktail bars and gastropubs, where you can get stuck into delicious Devon scones or local seafood and real ales. 

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday there’s a fantastic Street Food Market in the Guildhall Shopping Centre, offering authentic street foods from all over the world, and in April the city plays host to the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink


Exeter has the best shopping in the region by a country mile, with everything from big brands to stylish designer labels and unique independents.

The new Princesshay shopping quarter in the city is spacious, cool and lovely to browse around, and the city plays host to some excellent markets where you can pick up unique gifts, local bargains or fresh food to prepare in your serviced apartment. 

Many of the boutiques and independents are found on the quayside or near the Cathedral Green, or you can find trendy clothes, arts and crafts, antiques and gifts on Gandy Street and Fore Street.

Local businesses

Exeter is home to the UK’s leading weather forecasting organisation, The Met Office, with the other main employers in the city being EDF Energy, the University of Exeter and Devon County Council.

It’s also a popular city for small businesses and start-ups, lured south west by the fantastic quality of life (and surfing) offered by this stunning part of the UK. 

Getting around

It’s 2.5 hours by train from London Paddington to Exeter, with good rail connections to Penzance, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh. The city also has an airport, with flights to other UK cities and destinations across Europe.

Once you’re here, you’ll find buses in the city are great value, or you can use one of the excellent Park & Ride services if you’re driving. Exeter is a lovely compact city, so it’s easy to get around on foot or by bike, particularly if you’re exploring the canal or the quayside.

Things to watch out for

There are several excellent restaurants on Cathedral Yard, many of which have pavement tables during the summer where you can enjoy some relaxed al fresco dining. However there is a local bylaw that prohibits the drinking of alcohol in the Cathedral Yard, so your dinner will be booze-free if you’re on an outside table!