The county city of Devon, Exeter is a hub of cultural activity. If you’re visiting for the races you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the city and its surroundings have to offer. From rambling through the dramatic Dartmoor National Park to exploring the city’s many unique attractions, if you’re wondering what to do near Exeter, look no further than our guide.
Discover a rich and varied history
Exeter is a city steeped in history, and there’s perhaps nowhere better to start your discovery than at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery. Housed in a stunning red sandstone Gothic Revival building, the museum holds a variety of world-class collections in areas as broad as zoology, fine art, local archaeology, geology and ancient history to name but a few.
There’s something to pique every interest at the RAMM, but if you want to learn more about the local area we recommend making a beeline for the Making History exhibition, where the story unfolds from prehistoric Devon up to Exeter’s “Golden Age” in the 18th Century.
History lovers will also be amazed when they visit Exeter Cathedral. The stunning feat of architecture was founded in 1050. It houses many ancient treasures including an astronomical clock, works from Shakespeare, the Exon Domesday and the Foundation Charter.
Get back to nature
Exeter boasts an enviable location, close to both the wild countryside of Dartmoor National Park, the picturesque East Devon AONB, and the rugged South West Coastal Footpath, which follows the coastline for spectacular views over the surrounding cliffs, beaches and sea. No trip to Devon would be complete without exploring some of these incredible landscapes.
If you’re with the family and wondering what to do in Devon countryside, River Dart Country Park is a perfect day out for the whole family. Packed with adventurous activities including multiple wild swimming pools, an adventure playground, obstacle course and so much more, all set in the stunning surroundings of Dartmoor National Park.
Explore Exeter town centre
Exeter Racecourse is just 13 minutes away from Exeter town centre by car, where visitors will find a huge variety of independent shops, cafés restaurants and things to do. The Castle Quarter and McCoy’s Arcade are widely touted as the best areas for shopping, where you’ll uncover unusual boutiques selling unique jewellery and gifts.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, you’ll find an exciting array of fine dining and chain restaurants dotted around the perimeter of Exeter Cathedral Green. From steakhouses to pizzas and Italian cuisine to hearty pub grub, there’s something for everyone. Why not stop for an indulgent clotted cream tea at one of the many tearooms in the city centre? It’s a Devon delicacy and perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Don’t miss Devon County Show
Held every year in mid-May, Devon County Show is a celebration of Devon agriculture. From livestock competitions to farm-fresh produce for sale, it’s one of the biggest events in the Devon calendar. Enjoy the finest food, meet pedigree farm animals like sheep, cows and horses, and cheer from the side-lines as countryside pursuits like sheep shearing and herding take place before excitable crowds.