Seven free things to do in Exeter

Date Posted: 16/04/2018

Red Coat Guided Tour outside Exeter Cathedral

Ways to explore Exeter in Devon that won’t cost your group a penny, from wandering through the magnificent cathedral to taking a walk along its historic woollen trail.

1. Custom House Visitor Centre

The Custom House was built in 1680 at the height of Exeter's woollen cloth industry. Today it is a fascinating visitor centre and the meeting point for Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours. Lively displays, illustrations and artefacts bringing to life the history and development of Exeter's historic quayside. Groups can also watch a short film of 2,000 years of history.

2. The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

Located in the Old Library in the University of Exeter, this museum is dedicated to the moving image. Visitors can explore popular visual culture through exhibits of toys, artefacts, images and memorabilia from the 17th century to the present day. Large groups should pre-book; tours are available, too.

3. Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery

This free museum has 16 galleries of displays that take visitors on a voyage of discovery from pre-history to the present day, from Exeter to all around the world. With three special exhibition spaces, its changing programme means there is likely to be something different to see every time you visit, from national touring shows to community displays and fine art from the city’s collection.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum Art Gallery

Pictured: Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery. (Photo credit: VisitEngland and Tony Cobley).

4. Red Coat Guided Tours

These free guided walking tours are the perfect way to explore Exeter. Groups of over ten should pre-book; up to 100 people can take a tour at one time. One you’ve met your Red Coat Guide, you’ll spend 90 minutes discovering the city, and take in landmarks of historic, literary or architectural interest.

5. Self-Guided Heritage Trails

Groups can independently explore the city with the help of a free trail. Leaflets are available from Exeter Visitor Information & Tickets or the Custom House Visitor Centre. A number of different routes can be enjoyed including Exeter's Woollen Trail where you’ll discover the history and importance of the woollen cloth trade to Exeter, and the Medieval Trail, taking in some important historic landmarks.

6. Exeter Cathedral

Dating back 900 years, this Medieval cathedral is a fine example of decorated Gothic architecture. It is most famous for its two Norman towers, west front carvings and the longest unbroken stretch of Gothic vaulting in the world. Of note are the Minstrels' Gallery, the 15th century astronomical clock and the highly decorated tombs, bosses and corbels.

Exeter Cathedral

Pictured: Inside the magnificent Exeter Cathedral.

7. Exeter Guildhall

The guildhall is an 800 year-old centrepiece of Exeter’s Civic life, which is still in use today. A structure of outstanding architectural interest, it is not just an ancient monument but remains a busy working building.

For more on Exeter and its group-friendly attractions, visit www.visitexeter.com.

Lead image: Red Coat Guided Tour outside Exeter Cathedral. (Photo credit: VisitEngland and Heart of Devon).

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