Stately and serene Exeter might not have fairly the nationwide stature it as soon as loved as a wool and tanning centre in Tudor occasions when it was one of the populous locations in Britain. However regardless of the passing of its Golden Age some 4 centuries in the past, this cathedral metropolis continues to beguile with its manicured gardens, a lovely architectural mish-mash of types and an unruffled really feel the place aimless wandering somewhat than attraction box-ticking is rewarded.

With Ryanair having launched flights to Malaga and Malta, amongst different locations, from Exeter airport in April 2019, right here’s how one can spend a while away from the departure terminal, whether or not you’ve a couple of hours or an in a single day to spend on this fascinating South Devon hub.

What to do 

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Thoughts-bending museum 

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Folks stress-free on Exeter’s cathedral inexperienced

Getty Pictures

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You possibly can’t go to Exeter with out seeing its Cathedral

Getty Pictures

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Gandy Avenue is rumoured to have been the inspiration behind Diagon Alley

Flickr/Alison Day

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Harry’s specialises in steaks

exeter.gov.uk

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St Nicholas Priory dates again to 1087

Flickr/Robert Cutts

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Mill on the Exe is ideal for a day pint

exeter.gov.uk

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Hand blended tea at The Home Of Hope and Mercy In The Jungle

The Home Of Hope and Mercy In The Jungle

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Southernhay Home Lodge is the town’s greatest boutique resort

exeter.gov.uk

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Folks stress-free on Exeter’s cathedral inexperienced

Getty Pictures

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You possibly can’t go to Exeter with out seeing its Cathedral

Getty Pictures

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Gandy Avenue is rumoured to have been the inspiration behind Diagon Alley

Flickr/Alison Day

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Harry’s specialises in steaks

exeter.gov.uk

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St Nicholas Priory dates again to 1087

Flickr/Robert Cutts

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Mill on the Exe is ideal for a day pint

exeter.gov.uk

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Hand blended tea at The Home Of Hope and Mercy In The Jungle

The Home Of Hope and Mercy In The Jungle

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Southernhay Home Lodge is the town’s greatest boutique resort

exeter.gov.uk

There’s one thing of the Renaissance mindset concerning the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, which possesses one of the wildly eclectic everlasting collections of any museum exterior London. Lose your self in galleries with shows that zig-zag from a tiger shot by George V to treasure troves of Roman cash present in Devon fields to the splendidly unusual glass imaginary sea creature created by Steffen Dam. 

Store on Diagon Alley

What slim, pedestrian-only Gandy Avenue (the hub of Exeter’s self-declared ‘Indy Scene’) lacks in dimension it makes up for in inventive zeal with round a dozen impartial shops. Pop into Moko for bespoke fashions and furnishings and Chococo for excellent chocolate fondues, brownies and sundaes. Harry Potter followers ought to take be aware – the road allegedly offered J Okay Rowling, who went to school in Exeter, with the inspiration for Diagon Alley. 

Gandy Avenue is rumoured to have been the inspiration behind Diagon Alley (Flickr/Alison Day)

Get your climb on

In search of all of the world prefer it was designed by Willy Wonka and Jeff Koons, the Quay Climbing Centre is a Technicolour riot of climbing partitions in an outdated energy station the place even absolute novices, beneath the steerage of splendidly pleasant instructors, can begin tackling the ascents instantly.

Head to the Purple Coat 

Purple Coat guides are fully free strolling excursions round Exeter. Merely flip up on the proper place and also you’re away. Themes embody “Exeter throughout the Blitz” and “Forgotten Exeter”.

Towers of energy

All roads in Exeter result in the Cathedral and it’s a grandiose magnificence certainly, constructed partially on the location of a Roman bathhouse. The 2 immense Norman towers flank a constructing containing riches together with a 60ft bishop’s throne and sculptures of Alfred the Nice, William the Conqueror and King Canute.

You possibly can’t go to Exeter with out seeing its cathedral (Getty Pictures)

Going underground

Initially designed to carry water into the town within the 13th century, Exeter’s Underground Passages have, someway, survived centuries of improvement and Nazi bombardments to change into a severely spooky attraction in their very own proper. The community of passages stretches proper throughout the town and, though excursions are inclined to final not more than 25 minutes, you’ll virtually definitely really feel you’ve had sufficient of those dank, slim tunnels by then. Undoubtedly not for the claustrophobic. 

The place to remain 

Previously the house of Captain William Fitzpatrick, an officer within the East India Firm, the Southernhay Home Lodge is a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse not removed from the cathedral. Festooned with vintage work of bygone sultans and admirals, rolltop baths, a severely stylish cocktail bar and a bag of Devon fudge on arrival, that is, by a cushty margin, the best boutique spot for miles round. Doubles from £105, B&B.

Headweir Home, previously the house of a mill proprietor (the mill itself is now a pub subsequent door), has a light-weight, modern really feel inside with framed blueprints of the unique mill and views out over the nonetheless gushing weir itself. Doubles from £75, B&B. 

Southernhay Home Lodge is the town’s greatest boutique resort (exeter.gov.uk)

You possibly can’t get extra central than Metropolis Gate, a refurbed pub with rooms that’s barely a minute’s stroll from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Rougemont Gardens. The rooms are cosy however have a sprightly really feel due to the colorful rugs, throws and cushions. Full marks for the complimentary pot of fudge and a carafe of candy port on arrival. Doubles from £69, B&B. 

The immense Victorian red-bricked eye infirmary is now a Lodge du Vin, which offers impressively with the constructing’s huge proportions. Rooms are executed in muted gray tones, with massive home windows overlooking the stainless lawns. Doubles from £75, B&B.

The place to eat 

Previously a stone masons, Harry’s has been the standout domestically owned restaurant within the metropolis for the final 26 years. It is a steakhouse that deftly combines heat amber lighting with white tiled partitions, pink leather-based cubicles and darkish woods to create a splendidly seductive environment. Faultless steaks are all sourced from AW Luscombe in close by Totnes however the starters and sides, together with velvety breaded bone marrow and unctuous mac and cheese, are absolute knockouts too.

Tea on the Inexperienced appears to be like, from the skin, to be a mean coach occasion centric tearoom reverse the cathedral. In actuality, lunches right here, together with hen, avocado and chorizo salads and gargantuan open sandwiches, are a triumph; with the meat all sourced from Halden Hill farm barely two miles away: you possibly can even see its rolling meadows from the highest flooring window.

Harry’s specialises in steaks (exeter.gov.uk)

Situated within the basement of what was once a physician’s surgical procedure, Rendezvous is a comfortable, stone-flagged, wooden-beamed nook simply 5 minutes’ stroll from the cathedral that has an unlimited, daily-changing menu that normally consists of stone bass and crab from close by Brixham.

Moral pizza however with out an excessive amount of in the best way of sanctimony is the modus operandi of The Flat, which boasts an all-organic menu that includes vegan and vegetarian choices and with domestically sourced elements coming to the fore on their “Truffle” pizza topped with blue cheese, courgettes and radicchio. 

Proprietor and head chef Mike Barry has been serving high-end Brit-centric consolation meals at The Conservatory for nearly twenty years now. Ask for a desk within the upstairs eating room close to the Tudor panelling (relationship from 1600) and feast on the likes of crab crumpets and pork stomach with braised pink cabbage and celeriac fondant. 

The place to drink 

The Pursuit of Hoppiness could also be a robust contender for worst pun within the historical past of British pub names, however the chunky pale wooden tables are good for an extended, lazy night session among the many extra discerning college students, bohemians and actual ale aficionados of the town – lots of whom make a beeline straight for the “Fridge of Desires” containing all method of ultra-obscure canned and bottled ales and IPAs.

Log fires, a comfortable, bow home windows and a set of ephemera together with a poster for the 1970 World Cup and an historical automobile horn make The Hourglass, open since 1848, the easy entrance runner on the subject of genuine old-school boozers. Beers (served on request in 4 pint jugs) embody ales from native breweries together with Exe Valley and Dartmoor.

Mill on the Exe is ideal for a day pint (exeter.gov.uk)

Located in a former paper mill, slightly below Blackaller Weir, the brick walled Mill On The Exe is a two-floored, beamed-ceiling behemoth overlooking an virtually obscenely fairly footbridge. To sip a toothsome pint of St. Austell Tribute on a summer time’s afternoon on the terrace right here is to expertise Exeter residing at its best.

There’s a smokehouse, distillery and microbrewery all tucked away behind, and beneath, Victorian boozer the Fats Pig. Don’t miss the superbly herby and well-smoked sausages as a part of its Smokehouse Choice bar snack platter.

Victorian impressed cocktails are the theme behind Physician Ink’s Curiosities. Barmen appropriately attired in tweed and facial hair create a half Dickens, half Dalston vibe down by the town quayside.

The place to buy 

With a UK-wide status for excellence, Manson’s is a guitar store with severe clout. Employees are surprisingly un-snooty and former clients have included Jimmy Web page and Noel Gallagher. 

Hand blended tea at The Home Of Hope and Mercy In The Jungle (The Home Of Hope and Mercy In The Jungle)

Working each Thursday from 9am-2pm on the nook of Fore Avenue, Exeter Farmer’s Market has a formidable vary of native produce, together with honey from Blackaller Bees and bottled actual ales from The Exeter Brewery.  

An immense collection of free leaf teas, together with native varieties Devon Duchess and Devonian Rose, are all blended by hand by the homeowners of the splendidly named The Home Of Hope and Mercy In The Jungle. It additionally provides tea tasting periods and handmade teaware. 

Architectural spotlight 

As soon as a part of a Benedictine monastery, St Nicholas Priory dates again to 1087, although the type inside is from the Tudor period, when the home grew to become a household house after the dissolution of the monasteries. Observe the Priory is just open for 3 hours on Sunday afternoons from 1-4pm.

St Nicholas Priory dates again to 1087 (Flickr/Robert Cutts)

Nuts and bolts 

Public transport

Town centre is well sufficiently small to discover on foot however there’s a respectable bus community. Uber can be obtainable. Bear in mind that Exeter St David’s station (on the mainline Nice Western Railway route from London) is a 20-minute stroll away from the town centre.

Finest view

Sweeping views out over the town are greatest loved with a glass of prosecco in hand from the Rooftop Bar on the Terrace, which additionally serves up some sybaritic meals within the type of shredded duck flatbreads and large beef sirloin sandwiches.

Insider tip

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum has, this yr, begun a collection of “RAMM Lates”: night openings of the museum that includes every little thing from stay DJ units to bop performances and storytelling.