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Exhilarating Exeter, the capital of Devon and once home to Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake. Harry Potter’s creator JK Rowling studied at Exeter University as did the popular idol Will Young. Other famous Exeter inhabitants include the man they couldn’t hang, John (Babbacombe) Lee, Charles Babbage who invented the computer, Charles Dickens (although not permanently, just visiting his family) and amongst others, the great magician Tommy Cooper was brought up in Exeter.
A busy city offering much to keep the tourist occupied for days is packed with history, activities, events, entertainment and areas of natural beauty.
The historic quayside was once a popular haunt of the nautical buccaneer Sir Francis Drake and the charming, courtier of the Queen, Walter Raleigh, offers exciting boat trips, unique shops as well as 17 and 18th century warehouse buildings. Once the site of a roman waterway, then a sixteenth century port and today renamed the Historic Quayside a beautifully developed attraction for the pleasure of visitors and locals alike. Overall, with so much on offer in the city, the Historic Quayside is a stunning place from which to begin your tour of Exeter.
A really good way to get your bearings and to enjoy a comprehensive background of Exeter’s features and attractions is to climb aboard an open topped double-decker touring bus. You can jump off and examine landmarks much more closely whenever you want to and jump back on again continuing with the tour with a ticket that lasts for at least 24 hours.
A wealth of historical attractions on offer in Exeter includes one of the oldest buildings in the county, the Old Mint as well as the Ship Inn dating back to the sixteenth century and was frequented by those most famous of mariners Drake and Raleigh. Exeter’s Cathedral dates back as far as the twelfth century although was renovated in medieval times and the Guildhall is probably the oldest government building in the country.
Lovers of the outdoor pursuit will find themselves spoilt for choice when visiting Exeter. On the doorstep of the city is Dartmoor National Park, which generally presents a considerable challenge for the most hardy of hikers and climbers. Exmoor is nearby also with plenty of opportunity to hone in those horse riding and orienteering skills. If an unspoilt landscape has more to offer you than a busy city centre, fear not as Devon is the place to visit for unkempt countryside and a nonsensical landscape.
Exeter isn’t far from Exmouth either. Travel around nine miles out of Exeter and you will reach the sweeping beaches and surfer’s waves of the seaside resort of Exmouth.
The great thing about Exeter is that you can enjoy it throughout the year. It isn’t one of those cities you need to cram into the summer for the best effect. Exeter is just as welcoming in the winter as it is during the finer seasons. The older buildings are not going to disappear after withstanding the test of time up to now and are too strong in character to be any less interesting in the rain. Exeter is great place to visit any weekend. There’s the brilliant array of shops, the amazing night life and entertainments package to keep you occupied if you are not all that interested in medieval history and roman walls.
The Historic Quayside provides elegant surroundings while offering plenty of entertainment and is just a five minutes walk from the High Street and its neighbour, the Cathedral.
With a university crowd to provide for you can expect many places around the city to eat, drink and have fun. Theatres, comedy clubs, live music venues pepper the streets and shops offer reasonable student purse prices. A great place for finding those bargains! The Phoenix Arts Centre is in particular a good place to watch out for its headlining acts, usually a “who’s who” in the entertainment world. Spacex is a brilliant contemporary art gallery, which is definitely worth checking out while in town.
However, if you do have a penchant for an ancient church, historic bridges, medieval buildings and underground passageways, look no further than the city centre. The Topsham Museum at the Exe Estuary is a must for local history with a quirky edge.
Although there is a huge presence of historical attractions in the county Devon’s natural landscape is second to none. The coasts vary from the southern English Riviera sunny pretty picture postcard scenery to the wild and brash seascape of the north of the county. Inland, choose between beautiful countryside with pretty market towns appearing every now and then to the hostility of the rugged moors. Devon is a county of opposites although a charming laid back scenario, a place of challenges and adventure.
A popular attraction in the county of Devon is that haven of all things nautical is the city of Plymouth. Home of the Mayflower and situated on the southern shores of Devon Plymouth offers really excellent water sports facilities as well as tons of maritime heritage.
National Trust attractions include the magnificent Lydford Gorge, dramatic Buckland Abbey, the island of Lundy, Teign Gorge’s Castle Drogo (the last castle ever to be built in the country) all fairly near to Exeter.
Typical of the general stereotype of England’s cider producing county, Devon offers delightful villages complete with thatched cottages to substantiate all our images. While in Devon, if you manage to tear yourself away from the main seaside towns, treat yourself to a tour around places like Ivybridge, Salcombe, Kingsbridge and Totnes making up the South Hams district of South Devon. This region is particularly popular as it enjoys long summers and mild winters because of its hiding place from the harsh Atlantic.
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Exeter International Airport
is approximately 10 kilometres outside of the city centre.
The closest coach and train station to the airport is Exeter St Davids about 9 kilometres from the airport. The rail service offers a comprehensive package of trains running across the length and breadth of Britain for Exeter. Trains run from London, Penzance, Birmingham, Glasgow and many more. Central Exeter station receives trains from London Waterloo and is just five miles away from the airport.
There is an airport taxi bus that operates to and from Exeter St David’s railway station working on demand. The fare costs £5 (7 euros) per person with a minimum of three passengers per journey.
If driving to the airport take the M5 junction 29 onto A30 B3184 following sign posts for airport.