What Exeter lacks in size, it more than makes up for in fun activities, must-see attractions and historical hot spots. While it may not be as vast as some of its UK counterparts, make no mistake – this is a university city like no other, offering up a perfect blend of a fascinating past and an equally exciting future.
Many famous faces have spent significant periods of their life in Exeter – notably J.K. Rowling, author of the iconic Harry Potter books. She is among the University of Exeter’s notable alumni, alongside the likes of Zara Tindall, the Queen’s grand-daughter, and Thom Yorke, lead singer and lyricist for the rock band Radiohead.
If you are one of the lucky ones swelling the ranks of this ancient region’s student population today, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to making plans for your free time. Whatever you enjoy doing, you will not be short of options throughout your time in Devon’s second-most populous city.
Check out our guide to five fantastic things to do in Exeter.
It would be criminal not to make the most of Exeter’s proximity to the River Exe, which presents countless opportunities to unwind following a week of lectures and revision.
Take friends or family with you on a boat trip on the river, and brush up on your knowledge at the same time when the skipper delivers a live commentary on the history of the area. Some revellers have even been fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a seal along the way!
The River Exe is also the place to be for nature lovers and bird watchers alike, and really comes into its own when the weather is kind.
University of Exeter garden tours
You will be hard-pressed to find an education provider that enjoys a more beautiful backdrop than the University of Exeter. The Streatham campus sits within 300 acres of botanical gardens and, since 2010, the friendly bunch at Event Exeter have been giving visitors tours of the sprawling grounds.
Check out a host of trees and plants from all over the world, while an experienced guide leads you through the gardens past stunning woodland and lakes.
You will learn all about its fascinating history and the evolution of the gardens over the years, during this fun adventure that lasts for more than an hour.
Crealy Great Adventure Park
Time for a change of pace. Get the adrenaline pumping and feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up at Crealy Great Adventure Park, which was recently voted the best family attraction in the whole of Devon.
Prepare for the thrills and spills of eye-popping rides like Twister and Maximus – if you dare! This is the ideal day out if you have family visiting your new digs, and need to entertain them for the day.
If rides aren’t your cup of tea, fear not – the adventure park is also home to more than 100 animals, ranging from pigs and goats to meerkats and wallabies!
Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink
A Bank Holiday bonanza is on its way in the form of the award-winning Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink, back for its 15th instalment. This year’s event runs from Saturday 5 May to Monday 7 May 2018, and promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Who doesn’t like celebrating Bank Holiday with yummy grub and refreshing beverages? You can expect celebrity chefs, live music, over 100 exhibitors spread over two big food and drink pavilions, and 20,000 visitors having a great time.
This not-for-profit annual occasion is a firm fixture in Exeter’s social schedule – don’t miss it!
Big Screen in the Park
Summer is special in Exeter. And if you are a movie lover, you are in for a treat. Big Screen in the Park is run by non-profit organisation Exeter Phoenix, and brings a whole week of cinema under the stars to Northernhay Gardens.
Last year’s sell-out screenings were a big hit and word soon spread, ensuring the 2018 event is one of the most eagerly-anticipated in the diary. The build-up to the films includes plenty of summer songs to get you in the seasonal mood.
Food and drink will be served, and visitors can take their own blankets and picnics! Keep your eyes peeled for updates on the website including confirmation of the dates of the screenings.
Don’t miss this stunning city …