For other places with the same name, see Exeter (disambiguation).
Exeter Cathedral

Exeter is the county town of Devon and historically the administrative capital of the south-west peninsula. A historic mid-sized cathedral city with a good blend of arts, education, retail and history.


In AD 50 a Roman military base was built at a strategic crossing point on the banks of the river Exe, seven years after the main Roman invasion of Britain. The settlement quickly gained in importance as the administrative centre for the Dunmommi tribe once the legionnaires left. Indeed, its Roman name, Isca Dumnomiorum, means "town of the Dumnonii (Devonian) tribe". Parts of the original Roman walls can still be seen today. The city continued to hold regional significance through the turbulent Dark Ages, being twice captured by the invading Vikings. Following the Norman Conquest, the inhabitants rebelled against William the Conqueror, who laid siege and subsequently built Rougemount Castle to ensure future compliance. During the renaissance period it developed into an economically powerful city through the wool industry, and a period of rapid growth commenced. Later, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, industry was driven by water power from the River Exe. It remained a significant seaport (courtesy of its Ship Canal) until the age of steam, but there was no major industrialisation in the later 19th century. The city was badly damaged in an incendiary bombing raid on the High Street and surrounding areas in 1942, and although post-war reconstruction has been limited, a number of interesting buildings remain.

Now Exeter is the commercial and service centre for a largely agricultural hinterland, with a population of around 110,000. Good facilities for tourists exist, but tourism does not dominate; regularly voted among the top 3 cities in the UK for quality of life.

Get in

By plane

UK Domestic flights operated by flybe to Exeter International Airport are available from the following destinations:

Skybus also operates services to and from St. Mary's - Scilly Isles (IATA: ISC) during the summer.

International flights to Exeter operated by flybe are available from the following destinations, with services from France under a codeshare agreement with Air France (IATA: AF):

Air Transat also operates a scheduled service to Toronto, Canada. There are charter flights to many holiday destinations.

Transport to and from the airport is by public bus or taxi. Buses run fairly frequently, with a twenty minute trip to the city centre bus station, and costs about £3.00 single. A taxi costs between £10.00 and £20.00.

By train

Exeter is on the London Paddington to Cornwall line, with a train roughly every hour from Paddington to Exeter through most of the day. Exeter St. Davids is the main train station, a 15 minute walk or bus journey to the city centre. Several smaller stations for local and regional trains exist, including Central, St Thomas and St James's Park. Central station is just a 5 minute walk into the city centre along Queen Street. The journey time from London Paddington to Exeter St. Davids is anywhere between 2 and 3 hours, with the average being around 2 hours 30 minutes. There is also a slower service from London Waterloo via Salisbury, about every 2 hours, which can take up to 4 hours. This service calls at Central station as well as St David's. National services are also run to Bristol, South Wales, Birmingham, the north of England and Scotland; service to Bristol is approximately hourly. Local trains run to Barnstaple and Exmouth as well as along the main lines.

By bus

National Express operates a number of bus services from points around the United Kingdom that arrive at the city's bus and coach station,in Paris Street, only a few minutes walk to the main shopping area in High Street and the cathedral green.

Two companies run coaches between Exeter coach station and London's Victoria Coach Station. National Express offers a nine times a day service (Service Numbers 501, 404 & 406) with some advance fares as low as £2.00 return, and Megabus runs once a day starting at £1.50.

Get around

The central area of the city is fairly small, so it is easy to get around on foot. Buses within the city are operated by Stagecoach Devon, who also operate buses to most regional destinations. A day pass within the city costs £4, with a regional pass valid on Stagecoach and Western Greyhound costing £6.50, 1 week passes are £12.00. Some regional routes are operated by FirstBus, and by small independent operators. Cycle paths of varying quality run through the city. The most scenic route runs along the canal towpath.


Exeter Clock Tower


The Lady Chapel of Exeter Cathedral









What follows is a small selection of the city's restaurants; the national chains of Pizza houses etc. are also well represented, some of them in attractive settings e.g. ASK and Pizza Express on Cathedral Green, and Zizzi's in Gandy Street. The suburb of Topsham also has a good range of restaurants.







Mid range


Stay safe

Exeter is very safe compared to other cities in the UK. There is a slight likelihood that you will be asked for money by homeless people at some point, but most of them are not aggressive and will simply move to the next person if you tell them,'No, sorry.'


The local newspaper is the Express and Echo, published weekly. It is a good source for local events listings. The Exeter Flying Post offers alternative editorial views.

Go next

One of the main pulling points for the city is the ease in which one can get out of the urban environment and into the countryside. Exeter is a convenient gateway to Dartmoor, Plymouth and the rest of Devon and Cornwall.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, January 09, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.