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Frequently voted one of the best British cities to live in, Exeter certainly breathes an atmosphere of sophistication, culture and charm with this very old city kept young at heart by the large student population attending the University of Exeter. Exeter's history and prosperity began with the arrival of the Romans, whose most obvious legacy is the almost completely intact red stone defensive wall that surrounds the city centre. Today, the manageable city and compact central district showcases centuries of different architectural styles with much of its well preserved medieval layout, offering tantalising opportunities to amble among narrow cobbled streets and discover tucked-away unique independent shops, bars and cafés. Located in the heart of the city and enclosed on two sides by some fine buildings, Exeter’s Cathedral Church of St Peter dominates the skyline and its surrounding lawns, while terraced cafés and upmarket shops make for a popular meeting point on fine sunny days. A 10 minute walk south beyond the ancient city walls leads to the Historic Quayside on the banks of the River Exe. Once an important trading port, this is now a fascinating waterfront attraction featuring all manner of places to eat, drink and shop all housed within the former historic port buildings along the Quayside.
Not only does Exeter have a number of fascinating attractions in its own right, but there are a plethora of things to do and places to visit within easy reach of the city.
Exeter and Devon have got a lot of unique and hidden places. But you have to discover most of them by car, bike or walking as they are not accessible by public transport.
Exeter benefits from being both close to the sea and surrounded by rich agricultural countryside producing fantastic seafood, meat and vegetables right in its own back yard. Not only this, but its long history as a European trading port means there are plenty of international options available when it comes to dining choices.
Devon is famous throughout the world for its clotted cream teas traditionally taken mid to late afternoon. Of course there are plenty of other options available and there is no shortage of cafés serving a range of coffees and hot chocolate accompanied by savoury and sweet light snacks.
With a wide variety of smart wine bars and historic pubs, Exeter has a buzzing nightlife scene to keep the young at heart happy into the wee hours of the morning. Many venues offer live music and there are several nightclubs playing music to suit most tastes.
Exeter’s compact and mostly pedestrianised centre makes shopping a breeze with a wealth of familiar and unique retail choices to help do some serious damage to your credit card. The historic High Street running through the centre is easy to navigate (only buses are allowed through), and features many of the big brand stores such as Laura Ashley, Marks & Spencers, Waterstones, Boots and Dingles, now part of the upmarket House of Fraser group. The Guildhall and Harlequins are two of the covered shopping centres, while the newly opened Princesshay hosts a collection of high-end brands and independent outlets. The cobbled atmospheric and ancient Gandy Street is the place for distinctive designer wear, crafts and unusual accessories, while the steeply sloping Fore Street has a collection of retro clothing, music and extreme sports stores. Continuing downwards to the bottom of the hill, the Quayside has a small but rewarding collection of gift, craft and antique shops housed in historic cellars and warehouses.
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