Exeter's Quayside is one of the most attractive areas of the city, popular with locals and visitors alike for its interesting architecture, artisan shops and lively pubs, cafes and restaurants. The Quayside is also a hub for all things active!

It's only a 10-15 minute walk from the city centre or a short bus ride. It's really easy to get there – just follow the walking signs from South Street or Fore Street.

Places to visit

There's no better place to sit and watch the world go by, than on Exeter's beautiful Quayside, but if you want to learn more about it's intriguing history,or take in a wonderful show, then we recommend a visit to the following...

The Custom House Visitor Centre

The Custom House was built in 1680 at the height of Exeter's woollen cloth industry. Today it is a fascinating visitor centre and the meeting point for Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours. Watch 'Exeter: 2,000 Years of History', a short film, detailing how Exeter Quay was once one of the busiest ports in England.

Cygnet Theatre

The Cygnet Theatre is a beautiful little theatre which has thirty years' experience of helping young actors to develop their individual qualities. With a changing calendar of shows and unique performances, there’s always a reason to visit.

Try something new

The Quayside is a great place to try something new. Here are some suggestions to get you started...

Join a Red Coat Tour

The Red Coat’s ‘Canal Trip’ and ‘Exeter’s Historic Quayside’ tours depart from outside the Custom House Visitor Centre throughout the summer. Join the 1-hour Canal Trip on Wednesdays at 11am between June – end of August. The tour includes a one-way boat trip to the Double Locks with on-board commentary. There is a fee for this tour and tickets need to be obtained from the Custom House Visitor Centre on the day of departure.

If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, then the Exeter Historic Quayside tour takes place on Wednesdays at 6pm, and Saturdays at 2pm between May – August. The tour includes a stroll along the Quayside to see the oldest pound lock canal in the country.

Mess about on the river

Situated right on the Quayside, AS Watersports offer tuition in both kayaking and canoeing.

Alternatively just around the corner is Haven Banks where you can have a go at paddle boarding or climbing their 23 metre tower before jumping off it! Yes, you can abseil down or do the power fan descent: it's like a bungee jump!

Explore on two wheels

Saddles and Paddles is an independent business offering bicycle hire. Located right on the Quayside this popular business hires out bikes for all ages and abilities. With an extensive network of traffic free routes and trails to choose from, your only problem will be deciding where to explore first.

Aim for a strike

Bowling is a great way to spend time with your friends and family and at Tenpin Bowling in Exeter, you are treated to a full complex containing arcades, a fully licensed bar, Sky Sports, café, pool tables and of course plenty of bowling lanes.

Head underground 

Haven Banks is the South West’s premier outdoor activity center and training facility. Based on the quayside, there are over 30 land and water based sports to choose from, including caving in an artificial system located within the facility. With an extensive range of equipment and fully qualified instructors, Haven Banks is the place to go when you want to pack a little action into your weekend.

Climb the walls!

The Quay Climb Centre and Clip ‘n Climb are home to the South West’s largest indoor climbing wall. Running a welcoming, safe and vibrant wall for climbers of all ages, abilities and experiences, this is an ideal active day out.

Discover the Quay's vibrant shopping scene

Warehouses and cellars from the height of the industrial age now house workshops where you can see craftsmanship of the very highest quality, with local craftspeople working in wood, stone, glass and metal.

Not only is the Quayside a fantastic place to find the perfect gift, but also a place to find bespoke furniture to complete any room in the home.

Being so close to the water, it’s no surprise that there are fantastic water sports shops that stock not only all the gear that you need to stay warm and safe on the water, but also the boats and boards themselves.

For those who want to take in Exeter and the Exe Estuary on two wheels but don’t have the bike to do it, Exeter Quayside also has fantastic new and second-hand bicycle shops whose friendly and extremely-knowledgeable staff are always happy to help.

Eating & drinking

There’s a fantastic choice of places to enjoy some delicious local food and drink on Exeter’s Quayside. Here’s a few suggestions to tickle the taste buds!

On The Waterfront

Perched on the edge of Exeter’s famous quayside, On The Waterfront is a popular restaurant offering a tempting menu of lunch and dinner dishes, including their renowned, homemade and freshly cooked to order pizzas.

The Prospect Inn

Located only a few doors down from The Waterfront, The Prospect Inn is another fantastic little quayside spot, ideal for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. With a delectable menu running from midday right through until 9pm, you can sit back, relax enjoy a tasty bite to eat and wash it down with a range of popular cask mark ales from the local Heavitree Brewery and more.

Samuel Jones Smoke and Ale House

This classic ale & smoke house built in an old bonded warehouse offers an extensive range of craft beers and delicious smoke-house style food. Smoked and cured in house, cooked on chargrills and barbeque ovens, their imaginative tasty dishes fit perfectly with their contemporary stylish surroundings and with a beautiful outdoor patio and terrace, it’s perfect for those warm summer evenings.

Bar Venezia

This popular Mediterranean cafe and bar has fast become one of Exeter’s trending restaurants. This hidden jewel of the city is located right on the waterfront and it’s substantial menu offers a range of cuisine from Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and France, including a delightful array of vegetarian and pasta dishes.

The Coffee Cellar

Located at the far end of the river walk, this charming coffee house provides a relaxed and friendly atmosphere as well as a range of fantastic coffees, teas, smoothies and freshly prepared lunchtime snacks. With outdoor and indoor seating, is ideal no matter what the weather.

Puerto Lounge

Puerto Lounge sits on the edge of the River Exeter and boasts an informal café/bar, ‘all are welcome’, community feel. An eclectic scattering of colours and furniture lends itself perfectly to the laid back but lively vibe. Take a seat on the terrace and watch the world go by. The all-day menu offers huge variety, no matter what time of day. From brunch to hearty dinners, there is no shortage of variety.

The Hourglass

Cosy, quirky, quaint, unique – just some of the fitting words used to describe this wonderful hidden gem of a gastro-pub located just above Exeter Quay. The small inventive menu offers just enough variety to tease the palette. Whether you opt for a hearty rib-eye or the Portuguese Fish and Chorizo Stew, you’re guaranteed a true taste sensation.


The latest addition to the Quayside, Rockfish Exeter is a stunning fish and chip restaurant, owned by celebrity chef, Mitch Tonks. Already popular amongst visitors and locals alike, this family-friendly restaurnt serves up classic seafood dishes and daily specials, offering something for everyone.


Exeter Quayside
Historic Site
Monolith at Exeter Quayside. Copyright: DOminic Lowther

Exeter's Historic Quayside is the most attractive area in the city, popular with locals & visitors for its fascinating history, pubs & restaurants.

Custom House Visitor Centre
Heritage/Visitor Centre
Exeter Custom House (c) Philip Vile Photography

The Custom House Visitor Centre is in the centre of Exeter's historic quayside & occupies one of the most historic buildings on the waterfront.

Cygnet Theatre
Ham and Passion at the Cygnet Theatre (c) Maria Falconer

Cygnet is a training theatre with a varied programme of classical, modern and musical plays throughout the year, including new theatre works. The theatre has nearly 40 years experience of helping young actors to develop their individual qualities.  They offer drama training in the form of one day courses, a one year foundation course or three years full time professional training for actors.  Cygnet graduates have gone on to have successful careers in all aspects of stage, film, TV & Radio, to form their own companies and found theatres.

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.

Exeter Ship Canal
Waymarked Trail
Far away view of Double Locks (c) Mathilde Le Floch

The Exeter Ship Canal first opened to shipping in 1566 and was the first canal to be built in Britain since Roman times. It was also the first canal in England to use the pound lock.

Hire a kayak from AS Watersports to take a trip down Exeter Canal
Watersports Centre
Kayaks on the River Exe

AS Watersports are pleased to offer Canoe, Sit on top kayak and paddleboard hire on the historic Exeter Ship canal. The canal is a nice and easy paddle that is perfect for all paddlers including families and novices. There is some great wildlife to be seen along the Exe Salt Marshes and two great pubs! We also offer canoe, kayak and paddleboard tuition. One of the greatest things about paddling is gaining skills to make these experiences even better. All activities are based from our waterside shop, where our extensive selection of kayaks, canoes, and all sorts of watersports equipment caters to all needs from the beginner to the expert. Being right beside the canal, you can get out on the water and try before you buy!

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.

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.

Clip ‘n Climb
Adventure Park/Playground
Clip n Climb

Clip N Climb is healthy & challenging climbing fun for everyone ages 4yrs & up!

Exeter's Historic Quayside

Exeter's Historis Quayside is one of the ,ost attractive areas of the city, popular with locals and visitors alike for its fascinating history, interesting architecture and lively pubs and restaurants.

Exe Estuary
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Exe Estuary - Andy Hay

The Exe Estuary is of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl, supporting 1000s of birds. One of the best opportunities to view the wildlife of the estuary is at the the RSPB's two nature reserves.

On The Waterfront
On the Waterfront, Exeter - taken from across the Quay

Perched on the edge of the historic Exeter Quayside, we are housed on the ground floor of a magnificent 19th century warehouse. This building and many like it nearby served the booming woollen industry of the mid 19th century.

Rockfish Exeter
External  image of Rockfish restaurant

Amongst the treats at this consistently award-winning restaurant are sustainably sourced and locally landed seafood, often cooked within hours of being caught. From your table by the Quayside enjoy simple, relaxed, ingredient-driven quality food for the whole family.



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