Devon

Extraordinary Exeter

The county town of Devon, Exeter is a beautiful city with a stunning cathedral, fantastic museums, castles and parks and even underground tunnels. There’s plenty of fab shops too if you need to do a bit of retail therapy as well as gorgeous cafes, restaurants and pubs for when you need to stop for a break.

Exeter’s honey-coloured cathedral, one of Devon’s most impressive ecclesiastical buildings, is located right in the heart of the city and is over 900 years old. Gothic in design, it’s one of the finest examples in the whole of Britain and a perfect haven of calm in the bustling city. Spend half an hour or so wandering around this peaceful medieval edifice and you’ll catch site of the Minstrel’s Gallery, a 15th century Astronomical Clock and the highly decorated architecture and tombs. The two Norman towers and Gothic vaulting (the longest stretch to exist in the world) are of particular note. If you’re about at 5.30 in the week, you might catch the cathedral choir singing Evensong – a truly beautiful experience. 

If the weather is unpredictable or you’re a bit of a culture vulture, the exceptional Royal Albert Memorial Museum (also known as the RAMM) is not just a celebration of all things Devonian from prehistoric to present times, it’s also home to renowned world culture and natural history collections, an art gallery and a temporary exhibition space which hosts fascinating collections from both home and abroad.  

For something really different, you can explore the medieval underground passages that run under Exeter that once housed water pipes. The only passages of its type in Britain, these can only be explored on a tour and they do get filled well in advance, so it is worth booking. Beware – if you are of a claustrophobic ilk, this may not be for you – but children love it!

As you would expect in a city, there are some great places to eat. Jack in the Green is a fantastic pub just outside the city which offers fine dining in a great setting (mead braised belly pork anyone?) plus beer from Otter Brewery whilst The Salutation Inn in Topsham won a Food and Travel award in 2016 for its great food. In Exeter itself the Puffing Billy is well worth a visit for good pub grub, and The Oddfellows is great for food plus the odd cocktail or two! Of course, there's plenty of tea rooms, coffee shops and pubs too for when you need a sit down.

Alternatively, if you want to get your own supplies to take back to your retreat, head to Greendale Farm Shop near Farringdon for tasty local goodies.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Devon here.

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