In South-West England you’ll find the city of Exeter, part of Devon and well known for its cathedral and the University of Exeter (ranked in the UK’s top 10 universities).
While the city might be relatively small compared to London, it’s a rather quaint town to visit with several things to do.
If travelling from London to Exeter by train, the quickest option is from London Paddington (you can also travel from London Waterloo but the journey is at least an hour longer), it is also advised to book your tickets well in advance as they can be quite costly if purchasing on the day of travel.
Things to do solely in Exeter:
- Grab some dinner (or lunch) one night at The Rum & Crab Shack
- Have a spot of afternoon tea at Tea On The Green (they tend to be quite busy so it’s worth booking in advance)
- Experience a night out how the students do at Timepiece (be prepared for lots of drunk students)
- Wander the Exeter Christmas Markets (if you’re visiting over the Christmas period)
- Admire the Cathedral from outside, or opt for a paid tour inside
- Head to St David’s Church for Christmas Carols performed by the Exeter University Soul Choir (again, only if visiting during the Christmas period)
- Enjoy happy hour 2FOR1 cocktails all day every day at Las Iguanas (their nachos are well worth ordering if you get a bit peckish too)
If you have the time, some day trips worth taking include heading to Exmouth, which is easily accessible by a 20-30minute train ride and only costs around £4-5 for a return ticket.
While it might seem odd visiting the ‘beach’ during the winter, the Europeans love it for some reason that I’m still trying to figure out. Obviously given the low temperatures I wouldn’t recommend going for a swim but one benefit of going in the winter is that you’re unlikely to encounter large groups of people like you might during the warmer months.
When in Exmouth:
- Grab a traditional pub lunch at The Grove (their venison pie is to die for),
- Walk off lunch with a stroll along the beach towards the colourful beach huts – there’s also the option to do a cruise along the shoreline,
- Warm up with a hot drink from Bumble and Bee Tearoom & Kitchen nestled in the piteresque Manor Gardens,
Another day trip to consider is to Castle Cary, although you can get the train I would recommend driving instead if you have access to a car as the train ride is relatively expensive at £25.50, the station is a long walk from anything and there’s always the possibility of delays and full trains, which can often mean standing the whole time (or in my case sitting in the middle of the aisle).
While it’s nice to head there on a Sunday for a traditional Sunday roast over lunch be aware that most things (other than pubs) are closed limiting what there is to do. Nonetheless, The Natterjack Inn serves up a top notch roast making the journey well worth it. After lunch cruise down the English country lanes into town and have a wander around.
What are some of your favourite English towns/cities to visit?
Let me know in the comments below!