Many people visiting Exeter stay for a week or two and combine enjoyment of the city itself, with visits to locations all around the South West. There’s something for everyone here in the beautiful English city of Exeter – with many ways to travel and places to visit, all of this accompanied by a relaxed stay. The city attracts visitors from all over the world and many South West locations are reachable within an hour’s travel from Exeter. The temperate climate allows for great gardens to thrive including The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Stourhead and the RHS Garden Rosemoor. For something local try the National Garden Scheme!

If you’re thinking of staying in the city and exploring, here are a few tips to help you along the way…

Choosing somewhere to stay in Exeter

This will depend on how you intend to travel to Exeter and where you’d like to go once you’re here. If you're staying for a few days or longer, an apartment in the city centre offers you the ability to stretch out and relax, exploring the city on foot. If you have a car make sure that you choose an apartment that includes car parking – this will save you some pennies!

Exeter Self Catering offers affordable luxury as well as a private car park. A recent guest commented that “Exeter is a perfect place to stay to explore the South Devon Coast.” Located in a leafy, quiet residential area this apartment is only a few minutes’ walk from the city centre attractions and within easy reach of train and bus stations.

Discover other places to stay in Exeter here!

Exeter Self Catering

Getting around

When you explore Exeter there’s no need to use your car, as everywhere in the city is within an easy walk. If you’d like to venture a little further afield there are many local trains, buses and options for short term rental of electric bikes and cars, bikes and canoes!

There are great scenic railways – locally the lines along the Exe and the South Devon Coast or the Tarka line to Barnstaple offer many fantastic views and opportunities to stop for a walk or some exploring.

If you would prefer to let somebody else organise your tours from Exeter take a look at Unique Devon Tours.

Exeter Quay - Saddles and Paddles

Exercise the body, the mind, or just chill out!

There are plenty of opportunities to exercise the body and mind abound in Exeter and beyond. Whilst you walk or cycle the Exe Estuary Trail, take a breather and spot some of the many visiting birds – a great way to distract your mind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life! The weather doesn’t stop the people of Exeter from staying active – why not visit the Quay Climbing Centre or put your walking boots on and take part in letterboxing on Dartmoor! Here are some suggestions on how to Get Active in South Devon.

The South West Coast Path is Britain’s longest national trail, a staggering 630 miles starting in Minehead and finishing in South Haven Point. It’s an outstanding experience and there are lots of short sections that you can enjoy for a day or even half-day walk. In Exeter you can walk the City Walls or the longer Green Circle to find out what the city is all about!

Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours

South Devon's Countryside and Culture

Discover South Devon’s Countryside for more opportunities to enjoy the surrounding area...

Whether your interest is in fresh water or the sea there is a wide range of water sports - highlights include canoeing, kayaking, surfing or just sitting back and enjoying a day cruise.

As well as the world’s biggest music festival held at the end of June most years at Glastonbury, there are plenty of other music festivals in the South West. Local to Exeter are Beautiful Days, Chagstock, as well as Port Eliot, just beyond Plymouth, being a wonderful experience. Musicians from Muse come from Devon, as well as other artists including Ben Howard, Seth Lakeman and Chris Martin from Coldplay!

Chris Martin (Coldplay) at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Exeter 2016

Uncover the History and Heritage of South Devon through the National Trust. Visitors are increasingly coming to the area to trace their ancestors and a good place to start is the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter or the Cornwall Family History Society.

Local highlights of the South West include Killerton near Exeter, Knighthayes Court (a gothic fantasy near Tiverton), Al la Ronde (a crazy many sided house near Exmouth), Greenway near Torquay for Agatha Christie enthusiasts and Coleton Fishacre (an arts and craft house near Kingswear!)

Art in South Devon ranges from ancient to modern, from Sir Joshua Reynolds, founder of the Royal Academy to Damian Hirst, one of the leaders of Young British Artists. For lovers of modern art, a visit to see Hirst’s powerful Verity in Ilfracombe makes for a great day out as does a visit to Bruton and the Hauser &  Wirth gallery. Closer to Exeter, a visit to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey can easily be combined with Dartmoor.

The region has long attracted authors and poets – Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Laurie Lee, Thomas Hardy, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Michael Morpurgo amongst many others. Stroll down Gandy Street in Exeter – the rumoured inspiration for Diagon Alley in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. For those interested in literature, there are festivals across the region including Budleigh Salterton and Ways with Words at Dartington. 

(c) In Exeter - Gandy Street

Thinking further afield, the South West isn’t short of a theatre or two. The outdoor Minack Theatre in Cornwall is one of a kind, high on the cliffs in Porthcurno, Cornwall... whilst Exeter is home to Exeter Phoenix, Barnfield Theatre and Exeter Northcott Theatre!

If film and television locations interest you, take a visit to Port Isaac to see the location for the popular TV series Doc Martin. There are also opportunities to visit TV locations for Poldark, the Rosamunde Pilcher books so popular in Germany and films such as The Mercy and Warhorse.

Our region is renowned for its food and drink - you can trace the produce from source to table! Take a look at the Exeter Food & Drink trail, Food and Drink in South Devon, Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink and the Seafood Coast!

Sports and Events in the South West

For spectator sport there’s a world class Rugby union with the Exeter Chiefs, the community owned Exeter City Football Club with a great tradition of developing young players and horse racing at Exeter Racecourse. As well as this, county and international cricket can be enjoyed at Taunton.

Make sure you check out what events are taking place in Exeter and Devon during your stay. In 2020, there will be events in Dartmouth and Plymouth to celebrate 400 years since the Mayflower voyage to the USA.

Exeter Chiefs Victory Parade 2017

Other highlights

Many locations in the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire are within an hour’s travel time! This includes world class resorts and beaches in Devon & Cornwall. Here are some of the more local highlights:

You can make Exeter and a touring trip to the South West whatever you want to make it – you’ll never be short of options!


Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club Fixtures
Exeter Chiefs v  Bath Rugby

Come along and enjoy superb rugby at Sandy Park for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby 2019/20 season, with one of the top clubs in the country and Aviva Premiership champions in 2017. The Exeter Chiefs are committed to providing supporters with a complete match day experience starting when the gates open. The Chiefs have invested heavily in state of the art technology to add to the match day experience and each internal bar area is provided with large drop-down screens to view previous Chiefs matches, Sky matches and internationals.

Exeter City Football Club Fixtures
Exeter City Football Club Fixtures

Exeter City Football Club are based at St James Park, in the heart of Exeter and compete in the EFL Football League 2. The Grecians have been supporter owned since 2003, with over 3000 members paying monthly to keep the club running. We pride ourselves on creating a warm, family friendly atmosphere at St James Park. So why not come and see for yourself the local team that were finalists in last year's League Two play offs.

Exeter Self Catering - luxury city centre serviced apartment
Exeter Self Catering, Exeter Serviced Apartments,

Clifton Court Apartment - Extremely spacious ground floor, with an open plan living/dining & fully equipped kitchen area. Two double bedrooms - superkings or singles, two bathrooms. Shared garden. Private parking. Fibre broadband. Very quiet, city centre location. The best ratings of any independent apartment in Exeter.

Saddles and Paddles
Boating and Canoeing
Saddles  Paddles

Bike and canoe hire from Exeter's historic quayside. Explore the old canal trail. Seven miles of flat, traffic free cycling in beautiful countryside. The canoes are great fun and easy to use for exploring this beautiful waterway.

Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours
Walking Tour
Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours

Find out more about the city’s turbulent history on a free guided walking tour with the Red Coat Guides, running daily throughout the year.

Quay Climbing Centre
Adventure Park/Playground
Two people climbing in Quay Climbing Centre

Enjoy climbing with your family or friends at the South West’s largest indoor climbing wall. The Quay Climbing Centre is located in the heart of Exeter’s Quayside in the Old Electricity Building.

National Trust Killerton House & Gardens
Historic House/Palace
Killerton pond

Explore Killerton, one of Devon's great estates, with a landscape garden, parkland, Georgian house and renowned fashion collection.

Exeter Racecourse
Sports Ground/Stadium
Haldon Gold Cup race

Set in a stunning location overlooking beautiful Devon countryside, Exeter Racecourse prides itself as being one of the UK’s most progressive tracks, with excellent facilities and transport links.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery - RAMM
Royal Albert Memorial Museum Queen Street Exeter

Exeter’s world-class museum has stunning displays and galleries, fabulous exhibitions and modern amenities. The displays reveal Devon and Exeter’s rich history and global connections. Exotic animals, birds and insects delight children and the World Cultures galleries display stunning items from all over the world.

Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral roof top tour

Medieval cathedral. Fine example of Gothic Decorated style. Longest unbroken stretch of Gothic vaulting in the world. Image screen on West Front, Minstrels' Gallery and tombs. Expert guided tours, trails and activities for the family

Exeter's Underground Passages
Historic Site
Exeter's Underground Passages

The Passages were built to house the pipes that brought clean drinking water into medieval Exeter. A guided tour of Exeter's Underground Passages is a memorable event - narrow, dark, interesting and exciting.

Exeter Phoenix
Arts Centre
Exeter Phoenix - front of building

Exeter Phoenix is a vibrant, world-class multi-artform venue in the heart of Exeter's city centre. Each year we host hundreds of events and artistic activity spanning many disciplines.

Exeter Northcott Theatre
Exeter Northcott theatre exterior

The Exeter Northcott Theatre has been the home of high-quality professional theatre in Exeter and Devon for 50 years. The varied programme includes drama, dance, opera, ballet, music, workshops, community and educational events.

Quay Climbing Centre
Adventure Park/Playground
Two people climbing in Quay Climbing Centre

Enjoy climbing with your family or friends at the South West’s largest indoor climbing wall. The Quay Climbing Centre is located in the heart of Exeter’s Quayside in the Old Electricity Building.



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