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10 Free Summer Activities for Families

We know the school holidays can be an expensive time, so we have put together our top 10 ideas for things to do in Exeter this summer, completely free! Whatever the weather (although we're hoping for plenty of Devon sunshine), there is plenty going on to keep everyone entertained. Plus there are some great free family events in Exeter over the summer holidays.

1. Visit Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum and go on a voyage of discovery from pre-history to the present day through 16 galleries of displays. With free entry & summer holiday activities, workshops and drop-in sessions, there is something for all ages.

RAMM Museum Family Fun

2. Spot a Rhino! As part of the Great Rhinos Project, life-size rhino sculptures will inhabit the streets of Exeter for 10 weeks from 30 July – 9 October.

3. Join the famous Red Coat Guides on a walking tour of Exeter, to discover more about the fascinating and turbulent history of the city. Tours run daily throughout the year, with a wide range to choose from. There is no need to book – just turn up, tours last approx. 90 minutes.

4. ...Or if you prefer to do things at your own pace, follow one of Exeter’s self-guided heritage trails – kids can solve puzzles and quizzes along the way.

5. On warm days, pack your swimming stuff and head to Heavitree Park, which has paddling pools in which to play and cool down, or St Thomas Splash Pad, with water fountains, tipping buckets and cannons for plenty of water fun!

6. Visit the Custom House Visitor Centre on Exeter’s Quayside to learn more about the history of the Quayside through fascinating displays, exhibits and a short film - ‘Exeter, 2,000 years of history’.

7. Attend a milling day on the second Friday of every month or look for wildlife in the garden of Cricklepit Mill.

8. Film fans, head to the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum for interactive exhibits for children, or see a favourite film as part of the Odeon Kid’s Club – whilst not strictly free, tickets are just £1 per person! Plus you can book online in advance with no booking fees. There are kids screenings every Saturday and Sunday morning, plus every day during the school holidays.

9. Find space to run free! Head out of the city to Haldon Forest Park, where themed walking and cycling routes are well-signposted, or follow special trails aimed at families with small children. You will also find family-friendly marked trails at Stoke Woods, an old forest dating back to the Roman times on the edge of Exeter, or visit one of five Valley Parks in the city, all great for walking, kicking a football around or enjoying a family picnic.

10. Take a family bike ride following the route of the Exeter Canal... this flat, traffic-free route is great for families, plus you can stop off at the Double Locks pub for refreshments in the large, waterside beer garden with an outdoor play area!

Family Bike Ride, Exe Estuary Trail

There are also plenty of free events throughout the summer, see list below...

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  1. Discovering Worlds

    Discovering Worlds

    Type

    Exhibition

    Location

    Exeter

    RAMM’s Pacific collections are redisplayed with new artefacts, new research and Oceanic perspectives.

    Dates

    From:
    8 Apr 2016 To 1 Jan 2020
  2. Exeter Street Food Market

    Guildhall Street Food Market

    Type

    Show/Display

    Location

    Exeter

    Exeter Street Food Market is a weekly street food event open to the public (free entry) based in Exeter City Centre

    Dates

    From:
    1 Jan 2017 To 31 Dec 2017
  3. Exeter: Absurd Bird - Creole Country Club

    Exeter: Absurd Bird - Creole Country Club

    Type

    Performance

    Location

    Exeter

    Take a tour through the Deep South USA at Absurd Bird Exeter EVERY WEDNESDAY! Join us from 8pm for a hedonistic fusion of soulful blues, brassy jazz music, Cajun accordions and Motown grooves, with a heavy dose of country twang.

    Dates

    From:
    10 May 2017 To 1 Jan 2018
  4. Exeter Phoenix - Main Gallery

    Exeter Phoenix - Main Gallery

    Type

    Exhibition

    Location

    Gandy Street, Exeter

    A free exhibition in the main gallery at the Exeter Phoenix. Body Builders, is a solo show of recent work by British artist Emily Speed.

    Speed is interested in the relationship between people and buildings and her practice explores the body and its relationship to architecture, through sculpture,...

    Venue

    Exeter Phoenix, Exeter

    Dates

    From:
    12 May 2017 To 1 Jul 2017
  5. Exeter: The Quay - Makers of the Multiverse

    Exeter: The Quay - Makers of the Multiverse

    Type

    Exhibition

    Location

    Exeter

    For four weeks only Spacex presents a sculptural pavilion created by artist duo Juneau Projects. Inside the colourful handmade structure there is more to see, with art and craft by over 40 contributors. Have a browse, bag yourself an affordable artwork or become a maker yourself at one of our many...

    Dates

    From:
    13 May 2017 To 10 Jun 2017
  6. Exeter Phoenix - The Voice UK: Open Mic

    Exeter Phoenix - The Voice UK: Open Mic

    Type

    Performance

    Location

    Gandy Street, Exeter

    The Voice is coming to Exeter! The Voice are on the lookout for singing talent for The Voice 2018 and will be attending an open mic night at Exeter Phoenix.

    Dates

    From:
    24 May 2017 To 24 May 2017
  7. Waterstones - Meet Emma Carroll

    Waterstones - Meet Emma Carroll

    Type

    Literature

    Location

    Exeter

    It's World War I, and having been evacuated to the Devon coast, Olive Bradshaw and her brother are living in a lighthouse. Working as a post-girl, Olive is carrying secret messages for their carer, Mr. Ephraim. But Olive has a secret of her own: the secret of her sister, Sukie, who went missing in...

    Dates

    From:
    27 May 2017 To 27 May 2017
  8. Waterstones - An Evening with Alan Lee

    Waterstones - An Evening with Alan Lee

    Type

    Literature

    Location

    Exeter

    Celebrate the launch of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Beren and Lúthien with Alan Lee, the Oscar-winning artist behind the beautiful illustrations in this book, and much more iconic Tolkien artwork, for a talk, Q&A and book signing.

    Dates

    From:
    2 Jun 2017 To 2 Jun 2017
  9. Exeter Respect Festival

    Exeter Respect Festival

    Type

    Festival

    Location

    Belmot Road, Exeter

    Exeter Respect returns to Belmont Park from 3 - 4 June 2016 It provides a great, safe, space in which more communities than ever before can come and celebrate and share their cultures

    Dates

    From:
    3 Jun 2017 To 4 Jun 2017
  10. Exeter - Inside Outside Craft & General Markets

    Exeter - Inside Outside Craft & General Markets

    Type

    Sale

    Location

    Exeter

    2nd April marks the start of the monthly craft markets under the transit Shed on Exeter's Quayside, with lots of stalls to browse. The Quay is surrounded by great places for good food, as well as the local pubs and has a great atmosphere, particularly at weekends.

    The organisers are also starting...

    Venue

    Exeter Quayside, Exeter

    Dates

    From:
    4 Jun 2017 To 4 Jun 2017

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