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19 Underrated Places You Need To Visit In Exeter

Discover the best ale and cream tea (with the jam on top, you heathens).

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1. The Pig and Pallet

Independently run, this no-frills restaurant with the interior of a log cabin’s out house is the best place to get locally bred and sourced meat. It serves all things pork, whether pulled, cured, grilled or fried, with gert lush sides, including chorizo mac 'n cheese, the best scotch eggs I've ever tasted – and I've tasted a lot – and even some token salad. Top tip: wear loose clothing if ordering ribs.
The Pig and Pallet / Via Facebook: pigandpallet

Independently run, this no-frills restaurant with the interior of a log cabin’s out house is the best place to get locally bred and sourced meat. It serves all things pork, whether pulled, cured, grilled or fried, with gert lush sides, including chorizo mac 'n cheese, the best scotch eggs I've ever tasted – and I've tasted a lot – and even some token salad. Top tip: wear loose clothing if ordering ribs.

2. Otterton Mill

My perfect afternoon out would start at Budleigh beach – encompassed within the Jurassic Coast, a world heritage site. Without fail, I ALWAYS hum the Jurassic Park theme tune while here. After a stroll along the River Otter, named after its elusive, hand-holding inhabitants, you arrive at a mill with over a thousand years of history. Plus there's the chance to sample some of the finest scones in the area. It's also the first "chicken spotter" location on the list. Less dodgy than it sounds, honest.
Otterton Mill / Via ottertonmill.com

My perfect afternoon out would start at Budleigh beach – encompassed within the Jurassic Coast, a world heritage site. Without fail, I ALWAYS hum the Jurassic Park theme tune while here. After a stroll along the River Otter, named after its elusive, hand-holding inhabitants, you arrive at a mill with over a thousand years of history. Plus there's the chance to sample some of the finest scones in the area. It's also the first "chicken spotter" location on the list. Less dodgy than it sounds, honest.

3. The Bike Shed Theatre

Heralded for restoring theatre in Exeter, this venue is perfect for seeing touring companies. Situated down the back of an alley, guests can also enjoy the spacious bar, which includes DJ nights and curated vintage furniture. I've spent many an evening here playing a variety of board games, including the intellectually challenging "Guess Who?" – a personal favourite.
The Bike Shed Theatre / Via bikeshedtheatre.co.uk

Heralded for restoring theatre in Exeter, this venue is perfect for seeing touring companies. Situated down the back of an alley, guests can also enjoy the spacious bar, which includes DJ nights and curated vintage furniture. I've spent many an evening here playing a variety of board games, including the intellectually challenging "Guess Who?" – a personal favourite.

4. The Bridge Inn

This 18th Century coaching inn has a beautifully picturesque setting next to the mudflats and farmland of the River Exe. Family-run for over a century, it has a daily rotation of ales and no-nonsense hearty food, plus a room where mobile phones are banned. Not a hipster in sight, this is absolute pub heaven.
Jerry Bird / Via Flickr: easyflyer9

This 18th Century coaching inn has a beautifully picturesque setting next to the mudflats and farmland of the River Exe. Family-run for over a century, it has a daily rotation of ales and no-nonsense hearty food, plus a room where mobile phones are banned. Not a hipster in sight, this is absolute pub heaven.

5. The River Exe Cafe

The number one foodie hotspot in Devon. This award-winning café and restaurant actually sits in the River Exe, allowing guests the option to dine al fresco while gazing at the gorgeous scenery. Open from April to September, tasty and fresh local produce is served up. Legally, the most exotic experience a Devonian can have.
River Exe Cafe / Via riverexecafe.com

The number one foodie hotspot in Devon. This award-winning café and restaurant actually sits in the River Exe, allowing guests the option to dine al fresco while gazing at the gorgeous scenery. Open from April to September, tasty and fresh local produce is served up. Legally, the most exotic experience a Devonian can have.

6. Dr Ink's Modern Curiosities

Set back on Exeter’s historic quay, this intriguing parlour is an absolute must for any fan of quirk and cocktails. It specialises in Victorian recipes, including sherbets and punches served in an array of vintage and reproduction china and glassware. Fans of Fosters and Sex on the Beaches beware, this is not the bar you're looking for.
Dr Ink's / Via Facebook: doctorinkscuriosities

Set back on Exeter’s historic quay, this intriguing parlour is an absolute must for any fan of quirk and cocktails. It specialises in Victorian recipes, including sherbets and punches served in an array of vintage and reproduction china and glassware. Fans of Fosters and Sex on the Beaches beware, this is not the bar you're looking for.

7. The Underground Passages

instagram.com / Via devon-calling.com

Originally constructed to bring in clean water from outside the walls to inside the city, these medieval passages are the only ones like them in Britain to be open to the public. Dating back to the 14th Century, the passages sit 4 to 6 metres underground, stretching 425 metres across the city. They also served as vital shelter during World War II, and guided tours provide fantastic ghost stories.

8. Topsham

Quintessentially British, this gorgeous village lies on the River Exe and can transport you back to Dickensian times. It's laden with gorgeous local pubs and cafes, quaint shops and galleries, and is also home to a fabulous second-hand bookstore where you can pick up all sorts of gems. Definitely stroll along the harbour-side, but use the rule of thumb, "look but don't touch" with the overpriced antiques shops.
Keith Letten

Quintessentially British, this gorgeous village lies on the River Exe and can transport you back to Dickensian times. It's laden with gorgeous local pubs and cafes, quaint shops and galleries, and is also home to a fabulous second-hand bookstore where you can pick up all sorts of gems. Definitely stroll along the harbour-side, but use the rule of thumb, "look but don't touch" with the overpriced antiques shops.

9. Double Locks

Situated on the Exeter Ship Canal with fantastic outdoor space, Double Locks hosts live events throughout the year, with log fires inside for the chilly nights. There’s a fantastic outdoor playground for kids (of all ages – even 31), and dogs are just as welcome. Their annual beer festivals are also ideal for long summer days.
Double Locks / Via doublelocks.com

Situated on the Exeter Ship Canal with fantastic outdoor space, Double Locks hosts live events throughout the year, with log fires inside for the chilly nights. There’s a fantastic outdoor playground for kids (of all ages – even 31), and dogs are just as welcome. Their annual beer festivals are also ideal for long summer days.

10. Greendale Farm Shop

With their own master butchers, fishing fleet and café, this farm shop is perfect for getting luxury items and quality fresh produce, or taking the family out for some scrumptious treats. This is the second "chicken spotter" stop on the list, where you can purchase feed for 50p. Westcountry heaven.
Greendale Farm / Via Facebook: GreendaleFarmShop

With their own master butchers, fishing fleet and café, this farm shop is perfect for getting luxury items and quality fresh produce, or taking the family out for some scrumptious treats. This is the second "chicken spotter" stop on the list, where you can purchase feed for 50p. Westcountry heaven.

11. Exeter Cavern

Underground café by day, live music venue by night. This alternative hub – sticky tables and all – is Exeter’s longest running live music venue, and has been host to some of the biggest names in the UK, including Coldplay, Biffy Clyro and Muse, as well as acting as a platform for local and international bands. Friendly note – not recommended for your "Sunday best" outfits.
Exeter Cavern / Via exetercavern.com

Underground café by day, live music venue by night. This alternative hub – sticky tables and all – is Exeter’s longest running live music venue, and has been host to some of the biggest names in the UK, including Coldplay, Biffy Clyro and Muse, as well as acting as a platform for local and international bands. Friendly note – not recommended for your "Sunday best" outfits.

12. Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Suitable for all ages, this gorgeous historic building is more than just a local museum. Still housing Gerald the Giraffe, one of the museum’s key objects (and firm favourite of any local), it displays collections from around the globe and hosts a varied programme of exhibitions and events. Great for family day trips and swanky private parties. (Or so I hear. Cough.)
RAM Museum / Via rammuseum.org.uk

Suitable for all ages, this gorgeous historic building is more than just a local museum. Still housing Gerald the Giraffe, one of the museum’s key objects (and firm favourite of any local), it displays collections from around the globe and hosts a varied programme of exhibitions and events. Great for family day trips and swanky private parties. (Or so I hear. Cough.)

13. Fore Street

If you're looking for comic shops, vintage stores, and independent cafes, then head down to Fore Street. Away from the chains and crowds of the High Street, you’ll also find the Picturehouse cinema, Manson’s Guitars, and the beautiful Tucker’s Hall. A great alternative to its more famous cousin, the Diagon Alley-inspiring Gandy Street.
The Holdiches / Via holdiches.com

If you're looking for comic shops, vintage stores, and independent cafes, then head down to Fore Street. Away from the chains and crowds of the High Street, you’ll also find the Picturehouse cinema, Manson’s Guitars, and the beautiful Tucker’s Hall. A great alternative to its more famous cousin, the Diagon Alley-inspiring Gandy Street.

14. The Beer Engine

Dating back to 1850, this pub, restaurant and mini-brewery sits along the Tarka Line, famous for beer enthusiasts doing the 'Tarka Trail'. Interior décor and beer names reflect the railway theme, with ‘Piston Bitter’ and ‘Sleeper Heavy’ on tap. Perfect for enjoying in the split-level garden.
Geograph / Via geograph.org.uk

Dating back to 1850, this pub, restaurant and mini-brewery sits along the Tarka Line, famous for beer enthusiasts doing the 'Tarka Trail'. Interior décor and beer names reflect the railway theme, with ‘Piston Bitter’ and ‘Sleeper Heavy’ on tap. Perfect for enjoying in the split-level garden.

15. Woodbury Common

Predominantly heathland, Woodbury Common covers a vast expanse of East Devon. With stunning scenery, it’s a much-loved spot for dog-walking, mountain biking and orienteering. It’s also home to Woodbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort, and has a lesser-known bloody history dating back to 1549. Warning: this is a training ground for the Royal Marines, so no naughty shenanigans... #Camouflage.
Pebblebed Heaths / Via pebblebedheaths.org.uk

Predominantly heathland, Woodbury Common covers a vast expanse of East Devon. With stunning scenery, it’s a much-loved spot for dog-walking, mountain biking and orienteering. It’s also home to Woodbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort, and has a lesser-known bloody history dating back to 1549. Warning: this is a training ground for the Royal Marines, so no naughty shenanigans... #Camouflage.

16. Oddfellows and The Speakeasy Cocktail Lounge

Situated behind Exeter High Street, this pub serves phenomenal Sunday roasts. But it’s the the Speakeasy Lounge upstairs that raises the bar (pun intended). Also available for private hire, groups can have a cocktail masterclass, sampling their boozy wares as they go. After *significant* research, I have decided this place most definitely wears the crown of best cocktails in town.
tripadvisor.co.uk

Situated behind Exeter High Street, this pub serves phenomenal Sunday roasts. But it’s the the Speakeasy Lounge upstairs that raises the bar (pun intended). Also available for private hire, groups can have a cocktail masterclass, sampling their boozy wares as they go. After *significant* research, I have decided this place most definitely wears the crown of best cocktails in town.

17. Rougemont Gardens

Originally part of the defence of Exeter Castle, these Grade II listed gardens are open to the public and now house the most important event of the year: The Exeter Festival of Southwest Food and Drink. Previous events have included outdoor cinema nights, gigs, and Shakespeare in the Gardens.
Miracle Theatre / Via miracletheatre.co.uk

Originally part of the defence of Exeter Castle, these Grade II listed gardens are open to the public and now house the most important event of the year: The Exeter Festival of Southwest Food and Drink. Previous events have included outdoor cinema nights, gigs, and Shakespeare in the Gardens.

18. Herbies

This vegetarian restaurant is family-run and more about its old bistro-style look and feel rather than fine dining. The food is hearty enough even for the most devout meat-eater, with reasonable prices and proper portions. There’s also a variety of vegan dishes, and even vegan organic wines.
Lucy @lalingua

This vegetarian restaurant is family-run and more about its old bistro-style look and feel rather than fine dining. The food is hearty enough even for the most devout meat-eater, with reasonable prices and proper portions. There’s also a variety of vegan dishes, and even vegan organic wines.

19. The Turf

Open during the warmer months and overlooking the Exe Estuary, The Turf is a real destination pub. Not accessible by car, guests can park nearby and walk, canoe, or even arrive by ferry. Outside boasts a large beer garden and DIY BBQs, great for large parties and celebrations – but be warned – table space is sparse at peak times. Be prepared to run faster than Usain Bolt to acquire one.
tripadvisor.co.uk

Open during the warmer months and overlooking the Exe Estuary, The Turf is a real destination pub. Not accessible by car, guests can park nearby and walk, canoe, or even arrive by ferry. Outside boasts a large beer garden and DIY BBQs, great for large parties and celebrations – but be warned – table space is sparse at peak times. Be prepared to run faster than Usain Bolt to acquire one.