Exeter City Centre
Tread Exeter's ancient cobbled streets and relax by its riverside quay before hitting the city’s buzzing student nightlife
Set in the heart of southwest England, Exeter is a small-but-perfectly-formed Devonshire city located a swift two-and-half-hour train journey from London. With roots going back to the Roman times, walking around its oft-cobbled streets can feel like a step back in time. A castle and city walls date back to the 11th century, while a short hop away the cathedral boasts some of the country's most impressive Gothic architecture.
However, with students making up a large chunk of the population, you're also never far from a newly-opened coffee shop whipping up a flat white or a funky pub serving a foamy pint of locally-brewed ale. Though compact, the city centre certainly has its fair share of nightlife with student hangouts ranging from commercial clubbing to underground indie. There are also plenty of global and home-grown live music acts playing in local venues like the legendary Cavern (where Exeter-boy Chris Martin and alumnus Thom Yorke used to show their faces).
The Princesshay mall provides a wide range of high-street outlets. For more alternative shopping, the nearby Gandy Street is a cobbled, car-free lane featuring some of the city's most bijou boutiques and gift shops. Further south is the serene historic quayside. Follow the river in either direction and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by some of the region’s most picturesque countryside where you can meander for miles past rolling fields and charming village pubs - alternatively jump on a train and in half an hour you can be feeling the golden sands of delightful Exmouth beach between your toes.