Exeter Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
(Exeter, Devon, England, UK)
The leading sights and tourist attractions in Exeter are encircled by a medieval city wall, which remains around 70 percent complete and adds much character to the city centre. There are more recreational attractions and green spaces in central Exeter than you would expect, while close by, the roller coastal rides at the Crealy Great Adventure Park make for a fun and enjoyable day out.
Walking in the city is the perfect way to sightsee and tour the main places of interest. Taking your time to explore Exeter by means of a self-guided walking tour along the City Wall Trail provides a relaxing and unhurried experience, and you will find that the further you walk, the more tourist attractions that you will discover.
Walking / Red Coat Guided Tours
Address: Visitor Information Centre, Dix's Field, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1GF, England, UK
Tel: +44 01392 265203
Free guided walking tours couldn't come more highly recommended, and there are no less than 18 different tours to choose between, most of which are completely free of charge and even include a 'Ghosts and Legends' evening walk. Daily walking tours are provided by a team of 'Red Coats' and those wishing to join in the fun can simply meet up outside of either the Quay House Visitor Centre or Abode Exeter Hotel, on the Cathedral Yard. Popular walking routes include the Exe Estuary Nature Reserve Trails, the City Wall Trail, the Green Circle, the Medieval Trail, the Ship Canal Walks, the Woollen Trail and the Exe Valley Way, each of which has something different to offer.
Open hours: daily - hours vary
Address: 2 Paris Street, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1GA, England, UK
Tel: +44 01392 665887
Nobody could possibly begin to imagine the extensive series of vaulted medieval passageways that lie beneath the streets of Exeter. These hidden passages date from the 14th century and were historically used to bring fresh water into the city. Nowadays, the underground passages have become a popular attraction in their own right, offering archaeological artefacts, various hands-on exhibits, a short film presentation and guided tours, which generally last around 30 minutes. Do note that during the main school holidays, the tours of the underground passages quickly become fully booked, and since spaces are limited, you may wish to arrive early.
Open hours: June to September, Monday to Saturday - 09:30 to 17:30, Sunday - 10:30 to 16:00; October to May, Tuesday to Friday - 11:30 to 17:30, Saturday - 09:30 to 17:30, Sunday - 11:30 to 16:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children, seniors, students and families (two adults and up to three children), not suitable for children under five years
Crealy Great Adventure Park
Address: Sidmouth Road, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DR, England, UK
Tel: +44 01395 233200
Situated just outside of the city and easily reached by bus, the Crealy Great Adventure Park is a top family attraction in Devon and contains many exciting rides and fun attractions. Always popular is the Tidal Wave Terror log flume ride, the El Loco roller coaster, the Queen Bess pirate ship, the Summer Soak Zone, aerial walkways and some enormous soft play centres. There are also a number of friendly farmyard animals and cuddly pets at the Crealy Great Adventure Park, along with 'Close Encounters' handling sessions, where children are able to handle everything from ferrets and rats, to hedgehogs, snakes and creep crawlies. There is easily enough to fill an entire day at Crealy, so it is best to arrive early, and advisable to pick a sunny day.
Open hours: daily, April to October - 10:00 to 18:00; November to March - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children, families and seniors
Parks and Gardens
There really are a lot of green areas and recreational spaces scattered around the city, allowing tourists to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. These parks and gardens always feature plenty of pathways, seats and pleasant views, and include:
- Alphington Whitestone Valley Park
- St. Bartholomew's Cemetery
- Belmont Park
- Duryard Valley Park
- Exe Estuary
- Heavitree Pleasure Ground
- Ludwell Valley Park
- Mincinglake Valley Park
- Northernhay Gardens
- Riverside Valley Park
- Rougemont Gardens
- Southernhay Gardens
- Stoke Woods
Open hours: daily
Address: Barnfield Theatre
, Barnfield Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1SN, England, UK
Tel: +44 01392 271808
Address: Northcott Theatre
, Stocker Road, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4QB, England, UK
Tel: +44 01392 223999
Address: New Theatre
, Friars Gate, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AZ, England, UK
Tel: +44 01392 277189
There are no less than three separate theatres located within Exeter, with regular performances and shows. Sited within the Streatham campus of the university, Northcott Theatre is known for its Shakespeare productions and in the past has hosted many plays at Rougemont Castle
. Also very noteworthy is the Barnfield Theatre, which was converted in the early 1970s from the 19th-century Barnfield Hall and is used by both professional and amateur theatrical companies alike. Finally, the New Theatre on Friars Gate serves as the venue for the Cygnet Training Theatre.
Open hours: daily - hours vary
Admission: charge for shows and performances
The House That Moved
Address: 24 West Street / Stepcote Hill, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1BA, England, UK
Tel: +44 01392 665700
Without question one of the more unique tourist attractions on offer in Exeter, the aptly named 'House That Moved' did just that, when its future was threatened by plans for a new inner road. This beautiful 14th-century timber-framed Tudor house was relocated from its original site on Edmund Street in 1961, when it was carefully moved inch by inch to its current location (70 metres / 230 feet from its former spot) - a major operation that took considerable planning and work. Nowadays the house looks as if it has always stood on West Street and is now home to a local company known as Pirouette, who specialise in silk dresses, vintage wedding gowns and handmade jewellery.
Open hours: daily
Address: Commercial Road, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AB, England, UK
Tel: +44 01392 279244
The Cricklepit Mill is a revitalised Grade II listed building and is located within an important conservation area. Functioning as the headquarters of the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT), the Cricklepit Mill features an interesting reception area, where visitors can learn all about the history of this medieval mill. There are two huge 19th-century water-wheels here, one of which is in working order and is actually used to demonstrate the milling process, by grinding wheat into flour. The adjacent River Exe and wildflower meadow is rich in wildlife, and it is known that a group of otters are living close by.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 17:00
Although most would perhaps not immediately associate the city of Exeter with birdwatching and wildlife, there are a large number of nature reserves in this area, featuring camouflaged bird hides and trails. Peregrine falcons are known to nest in the city centre and are always carefully monitors by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). If you are keen to get up close to local wildlife during you stay and fancy trying your hand at a spot of birdwatching, then head out to the Exe Estuary, the Haldon Forest Park Bird of Prey Viewpoint, Stoke Woods, or the Old Sludge Beds Nature Reserve - and don't forget to bring your binoculars!
Open hours: daily