With two bank holidays to look forward to in May, there's no shortage of events and activities taking place throughout the month.

From music and festivals, to markets and history telling, May is also the month we celebrate Exeter Pride, Devon County Show and the Great West Run. Here's our top picks for May so you don't miss out...

Mad Dog Mcrea Weekender - 3rd to 5th May

It's going to be non-stop musical fun over at Exeter Phoenix this May bank holiday as folk-punk legends Mad Dog Mcrea are in town and they've selected a fine of musical acts for their self-titled Weekender. It might sound a little rebellious but it will certainly be memorable and and of course all in good spirit. Weekend and day tickets are still available if you fancy a piece of the musical action.

Exeter Independent Market - 4th May

Lazily strolling around and soaking up the unique atmosphere of Cathedral Green as you explore a rich variety of our region’s finest makers and traders - this is what May bank holidays are made for. Let local performers provide the soundtrack as you browse handmade crafts, clothes and accessories, locally produced food and drink or vintage treasures. Exeter Independent Market offers a unique one-stop shop in the heart of the city.

Exeter Pride - 11th May

One of the South West's biggest celebrations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans plus (LGBTQ+) communities, and one of the biggest free Pride events in the country, Exeter Pride makes a welcome return on Saturday 11th May. The main event will be a march through the city centre, starting in Sidwell Street and ending at Northernhay Gardens where there'll be a variety of stalls from local vendors, charity organisations and well-being groups. Music, cabaret, a drag competition, clothes swaps, family-focused events and more will be on offer at Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Library and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

Exeter Pride parade

Bloom Festival - 12th May

Helping to promote good mental health and wellbeing, Bloom returns to Exeter Phoenix on Sunday 12th May. Open to all ages, there's a full day of free activities to join in with including discussions, workshops and creative performances. This year the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is: “Moving more for our mental health”, and the festival’s programme has plenty to get your body and mind in motion. See the full programme here.

Fore Street Flea - 12th May

The first Fore Street Flea of 2024 comes to Exeter's vibrant West Quarter on Sunday 12th May. Always a well-loved event, it's a great opportunity to visit and support a brilliant range of stallholders and local businesses. If you can't make this one then other dates for the diary are Sunday 14th July, Sunday 15th September and Sunday 17th November.

Devon County Show - 16th to 18th May

Love animals, tractors, heavy horses, food and drink, music, dog shows, scurry racing, funfairs, crafts, gardens, shopping as well as anything and everything associated with country life in Devon? Then you'll absolutely love the Devon County Show. Returning to Exeter Westpoint from 16th to 18th May, it's a fantastic day out and fun for all the family. Just make sure you check the forecast as wellies might be an option!

Sidmouth International Jazz & Blues Festival - 23rd to 27th May

If laid back grooves and soulful tunes are your vibe then the Sidmouth International Jazz & Blues Festival is just the ticket. Experience the absolute best in Jazz, Swing, Blues, Roots, Soul, Funk, Latin and Cuban music, with headline artistes including Tony Hadley with his swing band, Roachford, MF Robots, Roberto Fonseca from Cuba, British-Jamaican MBE singer Ruby Turner, Elles Bailey and Mica Muller. There's also three days of masterclasses, free music workshops, Jam sessions, live music at fringe venues, street music and much more.

Devonshire Balloon and Music Festival - 25th & 26th May

Hot air balloons will be lighting up the nights sky as the Devonshire Balloon and Music Festival comes to Exeter Racecourse. Kids will love the interactive live animal shows, with special characters roaming the grounds, while top UK tribute artists will be belting out all your favourite classics in the Big Top. That's not all though as also on the line-up is Forever Rivals Wrestling and Extreme Bike Battle performances with BMX & FMX Bikes. 

Tales of the Land and Songs of the Sea - 26th May

Back in 1700, Exeter's port and its canal were considered to be the fourth most important in the country. Join Jon Bell and the Custom House crew to learn about Exeter's proud and interesting maritime and history, through stories, song, music and pictures, and discover the events that shaped Exeter's 'heritage harbour'. Tickets are free but registration is essential.

Great West Run - 26th May

Devon's biggest race takes to the streets of Exeter as thousands of runners gather to complete the challenging 13.1 mile course, along with 10k and mile options. The route will pass through the city and into the surrounding countryside, meaning there's plenty of places for supporters to gather and cheer them along the course. Entry places are still available.

Visit our what's on page for a full list of events taking place in May, and throughout the year.


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 Pride 2024
Previous Exeter Pride march

Exeter Pride is back! One of the South West's biggest celebrations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans plus (LGBTQ+) communities, and one of the biggest free Pride events in the country, will take place on Saturday 11th May with a return of the march through the city centre followed by some exciting events.

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.

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



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