The compact and friendly city of Exeter is the capital of Devon and boasts a stunning 12th century cathedral, Elizabethan streets and a beautiful quayside area. Indeed, the latest edition of the Devon, Cornwall and South West England Lonely Planet Guide describes the city as having a “youthful vibe”, “ultramodern construction” and a “thriving arts scene”. It also heralds Exeter as being a “relaxed but lively touring base” and having “super-stylish places to stay and eat”.
Where to eat
Exeter and Devon are fascinating places for eating out and buying locally produced food and drink. There are numerous options, whatever you fancy, and a local ethos that emphasizes quality Devonshire produce. Whilst it’s true that this plays a large part in Exeter cuisine, foods from all around the world are available for your delectation.
The View Restaurant
Exeter Northcott runs an excellent restaurant and bar in the theatre, open throughout the day from 10am right through to the start of the show.
We are pleased to offer you a 10% discount on any purchases up to 5.30pm – just tell the staff when you are ordering that you are with the visiting company. At the bar look out for local Devon beers and 100% fruit juices with no additives, made in Exeter and Buckfastleigh.
Things to do
TOP 5 tips for history lovers
Exeter as a settlement can be dated back to at least 250 BC, while it was also the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain. With this in mind, there is a huge amount of history and heritage to be uncovered.
Exeter Cathedral is one of the finest examples of decorated Gothic work in England today. Admission Charge. www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk. Their charming Cathedral cafe is also worth a visit.
Red Coat Guides offer a series of FREE 90 minute history walks taking in the likes of Medieval Exeter, Ghosts and Legends, Cathedral Close and Palace Garden, Exeter’s City Wall, Cathedral to Quay and Murder and Mayhem. Visit www.exeter.gov.uk/guidedtours for programme
Exeter’s Underground Passages were built in the 14th & 15th centuries to bring a supply of fresh drinking water into the city. Includes a 10 minute film presentation, a 25 minute tour underground and an opportunity to explore the exhibition. Admission charge. www.exeter.gov.uk/passages
Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) – Exeter’s largest museum reopened in 2012 following a multi-million pound refurbishment. The seriously impressive venue offers free entry and a diverse and fascinating range of collections. Visit www.rammuseum.org.uk
Self guided heritage trails. Explore Exeter’s rich and varied past on one of three self-guided heritage trails. Leaflets from Exeter Visitor Information & Tickets. Free. www.exeter.gov.uk/heritagetrails
There’s also a great new set of guides to independent Exeter here at www.exetertrails.co.uk – look out for the guides around the city too.
Where to play
In the city centre the Exeter Phoenix (Bradninch Place off Gandy Street), draws some big acts and attracts a lot of famous names, but for arena tours the largest names drawn to Exeter’s burgeoning music scene tend to perform at Westpoint. Based slightly outside of town, it’s a taxi ride or take bus 9Aor 9B from the bus station (Some events have specific travel provision, check with Westpoint), in the past it’s seen Kaiser Chiefs, Robbie Williams, Oasis, Muse, Florence & The Machine and Sir Elton John among others.
The Cavern is host to many up-and-coming acts, and has acquired a certain respect and gravitas as one of the places that first gave Muse and Coldplay an opportunity to perform. It remains the city’s main alternative rock venue and is the place in Exeter to get your name known if you want to make it big.
The Monkey Suit on Sidwell Street has a bar, lounge and cocktail bar with regular DJs and bands – generally the music is a mix of funk, soul, breaks and hip hop.
The Timepiece Nightclub is known as Exeter’s most popular nightclub amongst Exeter students and young clubbers.
Artigiano Coffee & Wine Bar on the High Street hosts live acoustic music events every Thursday in a relaxing atmosphere.
Samuel Jones is located at the Exeter Quayside and is the host of the trendy BALCONYTV broadcasts. These sessions are filmed overlooking the River Exe.
Cinema & Theatre
Whether it’s action, romance, fantasy or art-house, Exeter provides for the film-lover. If it’s mainstream you want, Odeon (Sidwell Street) and Vue (Summerland Gate) show all the major new releases. If you’re into art-house cinema then the Exeter Picturehouse on Bartholomew Street West shows independent and foreign films, as well as classics. They also show the mainstream, big release blockbusters, and it’s probably the nicest place to watch a film in Exeter.
In the city centre, on Gandy Street, the impressively fronted Exeter Phoenix is one of the main city locations for live art, music, spoken word and visual art; they also present contemporary dance, theatre and film. It hosts multiple events in a packed schedule over the fortnight of Exeter Summer Festival, and attracts a very varied programme, including evening classes in dance and other arts, throughout the rest of the year. It’s also the home of local community, non-commercial radio station Phonic FM.
Also in the city centre is the award-winning Bike Shed Theatre (Fore Street), which is dedicated to presenting new writing, productions and innovative work with some of the most talented artists in the South West and beyond. It’s a great place for students who are interested in comedy, theatre, music and new writing to get involved.
Other venues include Exeter Barnfield Theatre (Barnfield Road), home to Exeter Little Theatre Company and Exeter Corn Exchange (George Street) which hosts a weekly comedy club with top comedians and programmes a wide range of comedy, music and variety acts.