to Visit in Exeter
The information presented on
these Exeter pages is based on the
Exeter City Centre Street Map and Guide
Bartholomew Street East, Exeter.
Built in 1835 as an extension to the existing graveyard, the Catacomb was
little used and contains only 15 burials. The Catacomb is not
underground, as might be expected, but a building above ground. A 90
minute Catacomb Tour with the Redcoat Guides is available at 2.30pm on
Wednesday and Saturday between May and September, leaving from the Royal
Clarence Hotel (D3). There is no electric light in the Catacomb, so the
tour is given by torchlight. There is a small charge for this tour. Tel
278100 for more information, or contact the Tourist Information Centre.
CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. PETER:
The building of Exeter Cathedral was begun in 1112 on the site of a Saxon
church. The West Front of the cathedral is magnificent, and boasts the
largest collection of 14th century sculpture in the country.
Unfortunately, there is no way to identify most of the figures, but it is
thought that some of them may be old testament kings, and that the screen
tells the story of the old testament. Some of the highlights inside the
cathedral include: the 15th century astronomical clock, one of the oldest
in the world, which tells the hour and the phase of the moon; the
magnificent carved Bishop's Throne dating from 1312; the impressive
choir, where one of the 13th century carved misericords has probably the
earliest depiction of an elephant in England; the Minstrels Gallery of
carved angels playing musical instruments; and the impressive Gothic
vaulting, which is the longest continuous vaulting in the world. The
cathedral is light and airy and is one of the most beautiful churches in
Cathedral Tours lasting about 1 hour are available from April
to October at 11am and 2.30pm every day except Saturday afternoons and
Sundays (a donation is requested). The cathedral is open every day at
7.15am. There is a Cathedral Shop and a Refectory. Tel: 255573.
Services: Mattins at 7.30am weekdays and 11.15am Sundays; Holy
Communion at 7.45am weekdays, 1.15pm Wednesdays and 8am Sundays; Evensong
at 3pm Saturdays and Sundays, 5.30pm Wednes-days; Sung Eucharist at 9.45
Sundays and 5.30pm on Holy Days; Evening Service at 6.30pm Sundays.
Many styles of English architecture are represented in the Close. The
most interesting examples are Mol's Coffee House, a striking
Elizabethan timber-framed building that contains 16th century oak
panelling and carvings; the Royal Clarence Hotel, which was the
first inn in England to be called an 'hotel'; and the Bishop of
Crediton's House. The remains of a Roman bath-house and basilica were
discovered opposite the West Front of the Cathedral when the church of
St. Mary Major was demolished in 1971. The remains were covered over to
preserve them. The Bishop's Palace Garden and the Exploring Cathedral
Close walking tours are a good way to learn about this area of Exeter.
See the Walking Tours section for more details.
The city wall was built during the 2nd century AD to help defend the
city, and although it has been patched and rebuilt over the centuries,
the wall is still essentially Roman. About two-thirds of the old Roman
wall still remains. A free City Wall Tour lasting about 2 hours is
available with the Redcoat Guides. See the Walking Tours section for more
The Quay, Exeter.
Dating from 1681, this is one of the earliest brick buildings in Exeter,
and probably the first purpose built custom house in Britain. The cannons
were part of a shipment that never reached its destination _ they have
never been fired.
Built in 1068 on the orders of William the Conqueror. The County
Court, built for the assizes in 1774, now occupies the inner bailey of
the castle. Not open to the public.
High Street, Exeter. Tel: 01392 265500.
The Guildhall is possibly the oldest surviving municipal building in the
country and is still used for council meetings today. The roof is a fine
example of 15th century carpentry and the front portico, which dominates
the High Street, was built in 1595. The civic silver and official regalia
are usually on display.
Open to the public subject to civic functions from Monday to Friday
10.30am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, and Saturday 10am-12.30pm (it is recommended to
telephone ahead of your visit). Admission free.
THE HOUSE THAT MOVED:
West Street, Exeter.
An attractive Tudor building that was moved on wheels in 1961 from Edmund
Street to its present site next to the remains of the West Gate, to make
way for a new road. It is now a shop.
MEDIEVAL EXE BRIDGE:
The medieval Exe Bridge was constructed around 1200AD and is regarded
as one of the earliest long stone bridges in England. About half of it
can still be seen along with the remains of St. Edmund's Church which
forms part of the bridge. There was another church at the other end which
was destroyed by floods in the 15th century. The bridge was originally
about 600 feet long with 18 arches. It has been replaced three times,
most recently by the two Exe Bridges, and the change in their positions
has allowed half of the medieval bridge to be uncovered.
CUSTOM HOUSE VISITOR CENTRE
Exeter became a thriving port until a weir was built across the
river. Trading, mainly in wool, increased again after the building of
Britain's first ship canal in 1563. There is a lot to see and enjoy on
the Quay, including antiques and craft shops, pubs and cafes, and the
Visitor Centre. The manually operated Butts Ferry crosses the river
between the Quay and the opposite bank. A walking tour of the Quay is
available - see the Walking Tours section for more details.
T: 01392 271611
Open: April - October, daily 10am - 5pm. November - March, Saturday & Sunday 11am - 4pm. Admission: FREE
The Quay House was re-built in 1680-1 at the height of Exeter's woollen cloth industry.
The building was used to store cloth and other goods before they were loaded and transported down the canal. It also had an overhanging roof, which enabled cargos to load and unload out of the rain. Today the history and development of Exeter's Quayside is brought to life with lively displays, illustrations and artefacts. There is also the opportunity to see "Exeter - 2,000 years of history," an exciting audio-visual presentation highlighting Exeter's history from Roman times to the present day.
ROUGEMONT GARDENS is well worth a visit in
fine weather, with its beautifully manicured lawns and borders. The
earthworks and gatehouse of the castle, and parts of the city wall, can
still be seen.
ROYAL ALBERT MEMORIAL MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY:
Queen Street, Exeter. Tel: 01392 265858.
Currently closed for refurbishment
A marvellous traditional museum housed in an imposing Victorian building.
The museum tells the story of Exeter from prehistory to modern times,
through fascinating and imaginative displays. Permanent exhibitions
include natural history, clocks and watches, silver and glassware, and
objects and artefacts from all over the world. The art gallery features
paintings mainly by Devon artists. From 19th June 1999 the World Cultures
Galleries will be open. There is a varied programme of special and
temporary exhibitions and workshops, and an excellent gift and souvenir
Martin's Lane, Exeter.
A sixteenth century inn that Sir Francis Drake is said to have patronised.
SOUTHERNHAY was originally the venue for
fairs and festivals. The Lammas Fair is still held in July. This is a
beautiful and very elegant street with rows of houses on either side of a
ST. MARY STEPS CHURCH:
West Street, Exeter.
This church was founded in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 15th
century. Inside there is a Norman font. The attractive Matthew the Miller
clock, c.1620, on the outside of the tower has figures that strike the
ST. NICHOLAS PRIORY:
The Mint, off Fore Street, Exeter. Tel: 01392 265858.
Newly restored and opened. Founded as a Benedictine Monastery in 1087. It later became an
Elizabethan merchant's house and is furnished as it would have been at
that time. You can see the Norman undercroft and kitchen, the Tudor Room,
and the guest hall. Various temporary exhibitions are held here.
from Easter to October, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm-4.30pm.
Fore Street, Exeter. Tel: 01392 436244.
Built in 1471, it has some very fine oak panelling. The front was rebuilt
in 1905. It is still the home and meeting place of Exeter's most ancient
Guild, the Company of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen. A free 90-minute
Forgotten Exeter Tour includes a visit to Tucker's Hall. See Walking
Tours for more details.
Open from June to September on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
10.30am-12.30pm, and October to May on Thursdays only 10.30am-12.30pm.
2 Paris Street,
T: 01392 665887
Open: June - September and school holidays, Monday - Saturday 9.30am - 5.30pm. October - May, Tuesday - Friday 11.30am - 5.30pm. Saturday 9.30am - 5.30pm. Sunday 11.30am - 4pm. Sunday 10.30am - 4pm (last tour 30 mins before closing). Please allow approximately 1 hour 30 minutes for your visit.
Discover medieval passageways that stretch under the city's streets at this visitor attraction in the heart of the city centre. Exeter's Underground Passages have recently re-opened with a new exhibition full of exciting interactive exhibits. A visit to Exeter's Underground Passages is a most unusual event and one of the most exciting things available for young people in the City of Exeter. The passages welcome bookings from schools, student groups, clubs and societies. Guides at the passages regularly receive letters, stories and pictures from school children who have enjoyed their visits.
Dating from 14th century, these medieval passages under Exeter High Street are a unique ancient monument: no similar system of passages can be explored by the public elsewhere in Britain. They were built to house the pipes that brought fresh water to the city. Visitors to the Underground Interpretation Centre pass through an exhibition and video presentation before their guided tour. Under 5's are not permitted on tours. Not suitable for sufferers of claustrophobia
WYNARD'S ALMSHOUSES was built in 1436 and
restored in 1863. It provided housing for twelve pensioners. There are
panoramic views over Exeter, and the courtyard is open to visitors during
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT:
Don't miss Stepcote Hill with its 15th century merchants' houses,
the Clocktower in Queen Street, and the tiny St Pancras Church
in the Guildhall Shopping Centre. A colourful mural in New Bridge
Street depicts the festival of 1979.
For further information about Exeter, including a free visitor
pack, please contact the
Exeter Tourist Information Centre.