Exploring Exeter and Beyond

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by Hertz - 27 September 2022

With a plethora of things to see and do, Exeter is a small city that packs in a big punch. Its fascinating architecture, dating back to the Roman era and medieval walls, makes Exeter one of the most intriguing and historical locations in England.  

This delightful part of Devon is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. Not to mention it’s also a great gateway to the rest of the county.

Explore everything the city and beyond has to offer and start planning your itinerary today with our ultimate guide to the best things to do in Exeter.


Exeter Cathedral

1 The Cloisters, Exeter, EX1 1HS

Exeter Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, is the city’s most visited attraction, with over 100,000 visitors per year. Brimming with 900 years of history, the Cathedral was founded in 1050 by Edward the Confessor and features an awe-inspiring design with its Gothic style, misericord, and astronomical clock.

Take a guided tour and wander the hallowed halls or reach new heights as you climb the Cathedral towers and enjoy panoramic views over the city. You’ll also find a vibrant calendar of events throughout the year, such as performances and exhibitions to suit all tastes.

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Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RX

If the weather has taken a turn for the worst, and you’re searching for things to do in Exeter on a rainy day, then the award-winning Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Galleryshould be at the top of your list. With a fascinating collection of displays, galleries, and exhibitions on everything from zoology, anthropology, and fine art to local and overseas archaeology and geology, there’s plenty to keep the whole family captivated.

Once you’ve finished exploring the fascinating exhibitions and world-class collections, head to the gift shop where you’ll find a selection of hand-picked gifts, unique craft items, and souvenirs to commemorate your trip.

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Underground Passages

2 Paris Street, Exeter, EX1 1GA

Exeter’s medieval passages have long fascinated people, with stories of war, sieges, plague, and pestilence. The underground passages run beneath the city centre and were originally built in 1492 to supply the city with fresh water. However, just a few hundred years later, they had fallen into disrepair and closed completely, until they re-opened in 1992 as a tourist attraction.

Exeter is the only city in the UK to have underground passages of this type. The passages can be accessed via a guided tour where visitors can find out more about the intriguing tales and stories behind this unique historical attraction.

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The Donkey Sanctuary

Slade House Farm, Sidmouth, EX10 0NU

The Donkey Sanctuary is an international animal welfare and rescue charity that aims to transform the quality of life for donkeys and mules. Come along and explore everything the sanctuary has to offer, from fascinating tours to scenic gardens and of course, meeting the adorable donkeys. You can even adopt a donkey before you visit and seek out your new friend when you arrive.

The Donkey Sanctuary is located in Weston, Devon, and can be reached in less than an hour’s drive from Exeter. Just get off at Junction 30 and continue on the A3052 for approximately 13 miles. The sanctuary is open seven days a week and visitors are welcome free of charge.

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Crealy Theme Park & Resort

Sidmouth Road, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, EX5 1DR

If you’re looking for family-friendly places to visit in Exeter, then Crealy Theme Park & Resort won’t disappoint. Set over 100 acres of beautiful Devon countryside, it is home to over 60 rides, attractions, live shows, and a line-up of spectacular entertainment.

With heart-stopping rides for thrill seekers to soft play and animal petting sessions for the little ones, Crealy is the South West’s number one destination for a family day out. Book a short break in one of the resort’s lodges, complete with a hot tub, master bedroom, fully fitted kitchen, and an open plan living room. The resort is also just a short drive away from some of Devon’s best beaches and scenic coastal walks.

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Devon Wildlife Trust

Cricklepit Mill, Commercial Road, Exeter, EX2 4AB

Devon Wildlife Trust is a non-profit organisation with the aim of safeguarding the future of the county’s urban, rural, and marine wildlife and its environment. The Trust operates 59 nature reserves, which are open to the public all year round.

With coastlines, moorlands, accident woodlands, and miles of footpaths, there’s a wide range of diverse and wonderful landscapes just waiting to be explored.

Discover the wildlife that lives in Devon. Look out for dazzling insects, including camouflaged butterflies at Marsland Valley Nature Reserve. Or, admire hundreds of vibrant wildflowers as they burst into colour during the summer months at the Culm Grassland Nature Reserve.

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Dawlish Warren Beach

Beach Road, Dawlish EX7 0NF

Dawlish Warren Beach is one of South Devon’s best beaches. Backed by sheltered sand dunes, clean waters, and amusements, it’s the perfect destination for some seaside fun. Parents can rest assured as their children take to the water, knowing there are experienced lifeguards on hand.

There is also a range of open-air events and activities dotted around the beach to keep everyone amused including an 18-hole golf course, grand prix go-karts, children’s rides, and a world-famous nature reserve.  

Despite the beach’s popularity, you won’t have to worry about busy crowds. It is one and a half miles long and is spacious enough to accommodate everyone.

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Wildwood Escot

Ottery Saint Mary, EX11 1LU

Wildwood Escot is a family-friendly animal park set among 220 acres of stunning private parkland. It features an outdoor and indoor playground, a world-class maze, and a fantastic selection of wildlife including wolves, lynx, wild boar, red foxes, and otters.

To be in with the best chance of seeing the animals, make sure you check out the timetable of feeds and public talks in advance. You’ll get a chance to learn about their quirky characteristics and if you’re lucky you may even get a close-up personal encounter.

The park can be found just 15 minutes East of Exeter on the A30 between Ottery St Mary and Honiton. There’s also an onsite Coach House Café where you can enjoy a delicious selection of homecooked meals and refreshments.

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