A guide to a weekend in Exeter
Amazing countryside and ancient history
So often, when people asked me where I am from, (apart from Indonesia), I answered "I'm from Exeter", and instantly I got this puzzled face. I then said again, slowly in case they misunderstood my pronunciation "Exeter". Still puzzled.
Then I said "It's in Devon, South West of England, near Cornwall" (and of course it is nowhere near Conrwall!), then some of them would say "ahhh" still sounded unsure where it is, or some of them would say " oh ya, I know - it's near Plymouth right" - wrong! but it's closer than Cornwall. Only few of them know where Exeter is, mostly people had been studied at its famous University, University of Exeter.
If you haven't been to Exeter, or if you are still wondering where you would spend a nice and cosy weekend, with the flavour of country side yet still within a city vibe, I recommend you come and visit Exeter.
You start exploring Exeter with its ancient history which is dated to 50AD. Pretty amazing innit! At the heart of Exeter city stands the magnificent Exeter Cathedral, more than 900 years old, this beautiful building is one of the great cathedrals of England. Its Gothic architecture seemingly portrays the whole structure of the building. For those who thrill with height, there are special Roof and Tower tours available, giving you panoramic views of Exeter and beyond. For those fancy walking underground, there is history below ground too. Beneath the buzzing High Street, lies Exeter's Underground Passages. This passage was built to bring spring water in the city, and was constructed in medieval times. Guides tours operated daily and you can discover the fascinating heritage of Exeter.
If you still have time to spare - Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum is free to visit. It's located in city centre and it will take you on a voyage of discovery from prehistory to the present day. Often, they have exhibitions from our local artists.
Alternately you can pick up a trail map and take self-guided walks around Exeter. A popular choice is the City Wall Trail which tells the story of Exeter's 2000 year-old Roman city wall that is still about 70% remaining and a medieval guildhall still in use today. Beyond the city walls, there are further heritage actuations to discover, such as - Fursdon (the oldest family homes in Devon, Powderham Castle home of the Earl of Devon, which is about 20 minutes drive from Exeter.
There are many cafes and bistros or teashop in the charming history building around Exeter. After a long day of discovering Exeter, you should try to taste the homemade Devon Cream tea (Scones, jam and thick cream) - probably the best in the world!
If you are ales or beer lovers, many Exeter's pubs have been serving local and visitors for many many year (hundreds perhaps), - taste real ales and otter in the historic pubs around Exeter the Cathedral Yard and High Street. Apparently, humorous has it that Sir Francis Drake and Charles Dickens used to be the regular in these pubs.
There are also markets at the weekend and foodies events in the city, such as Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink in April.
If you fancy a great night out with great ales and ciders with rustic atmosphere and live music, you can visit The Old FireHouse with its delicious late pizzas.
You probably want to do some activities the next day. Exeter has its river, River Exe is surrounded by countryside and close to the coast, so you can easily go for outdoors activities, such as walking, cycling, kayaking and canoeing. You can hire bikes or canoes in the nearby hire shops located at the Exeter Quayside.
Exeter Quayside is one of the most attractive areas of the city, popular with locals and visitors with its fascinating history, architecture and pubs and restaurants.
You can enjoy the food or people watch and it is lovely in the sunny day or sunny afternoon.
If you fancy cycling and exploring the surrounding countryside, you can go for a walk along the river or hire bike(s) to the Exeter canal. Stop for a pint of ale or cider at the Double Lock hotel before carry on cycling along the River Exe to the Exe Estuary with its outstanding and protected natural beauty.
Exeter canal was built in 1566 to allow ships to avoid a weir built in 1317 by the ninth Earl of Devon to force ships to unload at Topsham. The Lock keeper's cottage were built in 1827, when the canal was extended to Turf.
As you feeling like carry on cycling along the canal, especially when the sun is shining and the panorama view is stunning, you can cycle to The Turf pub. The Turf Pub is overlooking the Exe Estuary and in an area of outstanding natural beauty. If you are birdwatchers, the Exe Estuary is home to abundant birdlife.
The most famous ways to get to The Turf pub are by walking, cycling, canoeing or by boat. The distance from Exeter Quayside to The Turf about 7 miles (10km). Alternatively, if you fancy driving, Dartmoor National Park is just a short drive from Exeter. Or, sandy beach is not far either - Dawlish Warren and Exmouth beach are decent beaches to go.
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