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, it's 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.
UK Domestic flights operated by flybe to Exeter International Airport are available from the following destinations;
Belfast City (BHD)
Leeds Bradford (LBA)
Skybus also operates services to and from St. Mary's - Scilly Isles (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 (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.
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.
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.
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 Cathedral,  and the Cathedral Green; Exeter's top attraction and a very beautiful gothic building. The cathedral lays claim to having the longest unbroken stone roof beam of any building in the world. The Cathedral Green opposite can be a good place to chill out on in the summer, ideal for an inexpensive picnic.
Guildhall, , claimed to be the oldest municipal building in England still serving its original purpose.
Historic quayside including the 17th century Custom House, recently renovated as a headquarters for the city's archaeological service
Medieval churches in the city centre: St Martin's, St Mary Arches, St Mary Steps, St Olave's, St Petrock's, St Stephen's
Parliament Street, claimed to be the world's narrowest.
Rougemont Castle: the grounds and the remaining Norman structures are open to the public, but the central part of the castle has only recently been retired from service as an Assize Court. Its future has not yet been settled, but it is occasionally open to the public
Royal Albert memorial museum (closed on Mondays)
St Nicholas Priory, , the 900-year-old guest wing of a former Benedictine Priory.
Underground passages, one hour Tours are easily arranged of the city's unique medieval (and now out of use) water system. Not for the claustrophobic! The entrance can be found next to the Princesshay shopping develpoment. It is open all year, £4.90 adults, £3.40 children.
University of Exeter parkland campuses and sculpture walk.
Take a free guided tour with the City's volunteer Redcoat guides - tours leave the Cathedral Green or the Quay and last 1-2 hours
Crealy Great Adventure Park, Sidmouth Road, ☎ 01395 233 200. Just outside Exeter, and easily accessible from the main bus station via the 52A or 52B bus, this adventure park has a decent collection of indoor and outdoor slides and rides which should keep children occupied for a full day.edit
The canal and river offers opportunities for watersports and cycling. Bikes and canoes can be hired from Saddles and Paddles , No. 4 Kings Wharf, The Quay, Exeter, EX4 2AN, who offer good advice and the local bike route maps. A series of cycle paths  exist on either side of the river. Along the west river bank, the village of Starcross and the beach of Dawlish Warren are easily reached, and Dawlish, Teignmouth and the south west coastpath can also be reached via this route. On the east bank, the gastronomic town of Topsham, Lympstone village, and seaside resort town Exmouth can be reached.
The High Street is mostly taken up by national clothing and electronics chains, and was branded a "clone town" in a 2005 poll of bland high streets. At that point Exeter High Street had only one "independent" shop (a tobacconist).
Larger concentrations of independent shops can be found in the streets just off the High Street. Fore Street has a number of good outdoor goods shops. Gandy Street and the Cathedral Green offer a similarly eclectic range of retailers. Magdalen Road, a few minutes walk from the city centre, offers award-winning butchers and fishmongers as well as handmade jewellery and gift shops.
A major redevelopment of Princesshay and surrounding streets has brought many new or redeveloped shops and restaurants including the only Apple store in the far southwest.
Mall-type shopping developments in the city include the Guildhall and Harlequins.
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.
Dinosaur Cafe (Mediterranean food), 5 New North Road (At the clock end of Queen Street), ☎ +441392490951. 9AM - 9PM Monday to Saturday. Turkish and English food. Family-owned. Includes a small bookshop. All sorts of meze dishes, which are truly delicious. Large portions and inexpensive compared to similar restaurants. Something of a legend for people connected with Exeter University.£15 for three courses without alcohol. edit
The Double Locks, Canal Banks, Exeter, EX2, ☎ 01392 256947, . The Double Locks pub sits in an idyllic location on the edge of Exeter canal, 20 minutes walk from the quayside. Occasional live music, child-friendly, a solid selection of real ales and a reasonable menu. On sunny weekends the pub attracts many punters, and the May Day bank-holiday beer festival can get very busy, with long queues.edit
Imperial, New North Road, Exeter. 10 minutes walk from the city centre, a decently priced J D Weatherspoons pub.edit
The Angel, 32 Queen Street, Exeter, ☎ 01392 432611, . The Angel is a warm hearted bar in the centre of Exeter. It is independent and promotes great quality in everything: staff, drinks and music. With a relaxed atmosphere during the day, it then turns into a pumping party bar at night.edit
Timepiece, Little Castle Street, Exeter, EX4 3PX, ☎ 01392 493096, . A bar with a nightclub above. edit
The Well House, Cathedral Green. Attached to Michael Caines restaurant on Cathedral Green. Good selection of Real Ales, and a skeleton in the basement!edit
The Old Firehouse, 50, New North Road, Exeter, ☎ 01392 277279. Open until 2 or 3 am most nights, the Firehouse is a pub serving local ales, ciders and food until the wee hours. The 14" pizzas, served from 9pm (after the normal menu ends) are highly recomended, at £7.00 each. Live folk/surf-rock on Fridays, jazz/world on Saturdays, flamenco guitar on Thursdays. Occasionally there is an entry charge on weekend nightsedit
The Cavern, Queen Street (between Boston Tea Party and Tony & Guy). 2030-0100. Live music venue with bands most evenings. Be warned that the Toilets are not for the faint-hearted, however it is a nursery for new talent with bands like Muse, Coldplay and Radiohead playing early in their careers.£varies. edit
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.'
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.
Beaches: the nearest are at Exmouth and Dawlish Warren, but the whole of the south-west peninsula is within reach.
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