City Guides

8 Quirky Things To Do In Exeter


Exeter City in Devon is regularly ranked amongst the UK’s most liveable city. Since the Roman Britain period, Exeter has evolved through many trades that leave the now heritage of one of the UK’s oldest ship canals and most of its Tudor’s charm. Check out our selected list of places to visit and things to do in Exeter below and start planning your trip for the next time you will be in town!

I. What are the top attractions that Exeter is famous for?

Exeter is famous for the beautiful coast, the historic Exeter Quay and the UK’s favourite Dartmoor National Park. If you are visiting Exeter attractions for a day trip, there are plenty of places to stop by. And here are the top places to visit in Exeter when you first come here!

House that moved 

This 14th century house is located not where it was built! In fact, the whole house was moved on thick iron rails, uphill, in one whole piece, to near Western Way and Fore Street in an effort of archaeologists to protect it. What an unusual journey for a house!

Parliament Street

Parliament Street dates back to the 1300s. It is considered the narrowest street in the world, and its narrowest point is measured at only 25 inches wide. 

Underground passages

Exeter's underground passages are many medieval vaulted passages used to transport clean drinking water to the walled city. This is the only city in the whole UK with this kind of passage. A guided tour is available for this place. 

St Stephen’s church

St Stephen’s church is the oldest building in Exeter city. Some areas of the church can be traced back as far as the 13th century. One of the two surviving ancient Parish Churches post the Blitz, this place is an embodiment of the city’s endurance through Exeter's history.

Princesshay shopping area

Is Exeter good for shopping, you would ask? Come to Princesshay - home to over 65 shops and restaurants and shop away! Located at the heart of Exeter city centre, within Exeter’s historic Roman Wall overlooking the city’s iconic cathedral, you can shop, dine and relax with all the brands from big names to quality independents.

II. What are quirky things to do in Exeter today? 

If you are thinking of moving to Exeter for your university years, you are probably looking for things to do in Exeter besides popular tourist spots. The city offers many options for many different interests. Check out our list of quirky things to do in Exeter below for more information!

The Freemasons Hall 

Tucked away on the historic Gandy Street is the home to a mysterious brotherhood of the wealthy and powerful in the past. The building now hosts the Exeter Conservative Party's printing office. Harry Potter fans will find the  scene familiar, as Exeter University’s famous graduate-author JK Rowling was indeed inspired by many Devon landmarks.

Doctor Ink’s Curiosities

A quirky bar with many creative cocktails. Located in Exeter's quayside, the place creates an imaginative story behind the cocktails and delivers superb service. Many visitors highly recommend this unusual experience.

Red House Mysteries - Escape Games

Red House Mysteries are the creators of narrative Escape Rooms, Interactive Games and Online Mysteries in the centre of Exeter and Torquay. The experience is a well-paced, well-thought-out and great fun out with friends and family.

Board - award-winning board game café

Board offers more than 350 board games from family classics to the latest exciting adventure games. The place is a great thing to do in Exeter on a rainy day with friends of all ages. 

Jetsim Centre

Jetsim Centre is a flight simulator that offers you an immersive experience of controlling an 80-tonne 737 aeroplane. From inside a cockpit with a 220-degree projection, you can take off or land the aeroplane, fly around Devon or Mount Everest or land in Ibiza at sunset. The experience is suitable for beginners or pilot-aspirers alike.

Aviation South West

Sky-lovers can skip the flight simulation completely and take a real flight experience instead. The Approved Modular flying school with 20-years of experience offers flying experience down the coast from Exeter to Plymouth area and back, or professional and private flight training.  

Go Ape Haldon Forest Park

Go Ape for a day and experience flying between treetops on zip-wires and leaping off the Tarzan Swing amid Exeter’s stunning greenery. The adventure is well-recommended by thrill-seekers and groups of friends.

IV. Where should I live near Exeter?

Now that you know the number of fun things to do in Exeter for your university life, you are probably wondering is Exeter a safe city to live in? And if it is, where should be the top areas to live?

The University of Exeter has created its own page to answer about Exeter’s safeness. In general, the city is safe to live but common safety methods should still be implemented to best ensure your enjoyable university life.

As a student, your living location should be a good combination of affordability, house quality, commute times and entertainment. And Student Cribs has comprised a detailed list of the most recommended roads in Exeter for a university student. If you still don’t know where to start, try the following Union Road, Victoria Street, Pennsylvania Road and Longbrook Street, Mount Pleasant, Howell Road, Powderham Crescent or Heavitree Road.

IV. What is there to do in Exeter for free?

We all know about those university days when the only thing stopping you from going out is what in your pocket. But that is not a problem because there are many free or cheap things to do in Exeter, ranging from Playgrounds, Colleges & Universities, Art Gallery and History Museums. Here are some of our suggestions!

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum is home to one of the largest collections of material relating to the moving image in Britain. Visiting the museum will give you an insight into Early Film Making. 

American Independence Museum

Founded in 1991, the museum celebrates American struggles for freedom and self-governance. American students may find volunteering for the museum an enriching and informative experience.

Gilman Park

The park is great for some outdoor sports such as kayaking, paddle-boarding, skating or bicycling around. There are some nice trails for wood walks, and two cannons to commemorate the city’s role in the Revolutionary war.

The Rinks at Exeter

Twin ice rinks open for people of all ages and all year round. You can try public skating, figure skating, playing hockey or joining the Ice Skating Club of Exeter. 

Seacoast Art Association

Art lovers will love the supportive community of artists and like-minded people in the Seacoast Art Association. The association offers a Scholarship Fund for high school seniors in the seacoast area to pursue their artistic endeavour.

V. Does Exeter University have a good reputation?

The University of Exeter holds a stable position in the top 200 of Times Higher Education’s world university ranking. The public research university is a member of the reputable Russell Group of UK universities. Some of the university’s famous alumni include writer J. K. Rowling, politicians Sajid Javid and Caroline Lucas.

What other questions that you have in terms of living and studying in Exeter? Register an account at Degree Key and stay put for even more helpful guides on things to do in Exeter in the future!

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