Indoors, outdoors, in forests, on beaches, in cinemas, on water coasters, in kayaks, on trampolines, in virtual reality headsets, on steam trains… we’re exhausted just thinking about all the brilliant activities in Exeter!
Activities in Exeter
Where to go
Surrounded by beautiful Devon countryside, it’s no surprise that Exeter has so much to enjoy outdoors. Stay at one of our four local Premier Inn hotels and use them as a base to explore this action-packed region.
Exeter Quayside is the perfect place to start your outdoor adventure. Nestled next to the River Exe and just an eight-minute walk from our Exeter City Centre hotel, it’s hugely popular with visitors and locals alike. How you chose to explore the interlocking system of rivers and canals is up to you but you’re certainly not short of options. Take a stroll along the riverbanks and towpaths, hire a bike for farther-flung adventures or get as close to the water as possible in a kayak. Alternatively, you just order a drink at one of the many waterside bars and restaurants and watch the world float by.
If you’re here with the family, a visit to Crealy Adventure Park in Clyst St. Mary should be high on your agenda. It bills itself as the south-west’s number one family day out and who are we to argue? With over 60 rides and attractions, including the world’s first water coaster, it’s guaranteed to keep your little ones entertained in a big way. And with our Exeter (M5 J29) hotel just a 10-minute drive, bedtime is never far away for sleepy adventurers.
If they’ve got any adrenaline left, you might want to think about booking a session at Go Ape!. The high ropes course is based at Haldon Forest Park and includes two 235m zip wires! Or if heights aren’t your thing, how about a little jungle warfare? OK, so it’s not actually a jungle but everything else at Adrenalin Games Paintball is absolutely authentic, right down to real military vehicles. No wonder it’s TripAdvisor’s number one paintball venue in Exeter.
For something slightly more sedate, we heartily recommend Exeter Golf & Country Club. Opened in 1929 and created by renowned course designer James Braid (who was also responsible for Gleneagles), the 18-hole Wear Park course is one of Devon’s finest and also boasts a spa, gym, tennis facilities and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Plus, it’s only a minute’s drive from our Exeter (Countess Wear) hotel.
For more on the best outdoor pursuits Exeter has to offer, see our in-depth guide.
Devon isn’t just about the great outdoors. There’s plenty to do inside too (and it’s always good to have a few of these up your sleeve in case the weather refuses to play ball).
Clip ‘n Climb at The Quay Climbing Centre in the heart of Exeter is a brilliant introduction to climbing for young and old alike. Kids will love their multi-colour climbing walls featuring skyscrapers, giant spheres and even space invaders. But dare you attempt their heart-stopping ‘Leap of Faith’?
If you like the idea of going up and down a little more rapidly, then get yourself along to iBounce. Exeter’s first trampoline park features giant airbags, stunt and activity zones, light chaser games and huge foam pits. Not to mention a café overlooking the fun for mums and dads whose bouncing days are behind them.
For those who prefer their action on the big screen, Exeter’s got no fewer than three cinemas to choose from, with mainstream movies at the Vueand Odeon, while the Picturehouse caters for fans of arthouse cinema in a beautifully converted 1930s bus garage, which is just one mile away from our Exeter Central St. Davids hotel.
If you fancy being part of your own movie, then book yourself in at Dreamscape VR in Matford Barton. The UK’s number one virtual reality studio immerses you in your own virtual landscape with games and simulations aimed at all ages, from space pirate training for kids to frankly terrifying haunted house experiences that are strictly for the over 18s.
Clip 'n Climb
Tours and trails
Exeter’s a brilliant city to explore by bike, whether you’re taking a leisurely cycle around the centre or heading out into the surrounding countryside. Hire yourself a ride at Exeter Quayside and follow the Exe Estuary Trail down to Dawlish, Topsham or Exmouth, where you can stay in our Exmouth Seafront hotel if you want to spend a little longer taking in the stunning sights before heading back to the city.
Alternatively, pick up a mountain bike at Forest Cycle Hire and go off road at Haldon Forest Park. Fancy a completely different way to conquer the city on two wheels? Try Go-Segway Tours, which can be found in Kennford next to Go Ape! Haldon Forest Park.
A gentle stroll is often the best way to discover a city and Exeter’s certainly compact enough to enjoy under your own steam. For an expert insight into this ancient city’s secrets, book yourself onto an official (and free) Red Coat Guided Tour. Or why not discover the city’s culinary highlights on the Exeter Street Food Tour?
And if you’re happy soaking up the city’s delights on your own, then pick up a free leaflet from Exeter Visitor Information and follow the Exeter City Wall Trail.
Dawlish Warren Beach may be the go-to destination for Exeter’s beach crowd but with one and a half miles of golden sand and towering dunes, there’s always plenty of space to enjoy. Watersports are a big attraction, so why not have a crack at surfing, safe in the knowledge that RNLI lifeguards patrol the most popular spots.
Or you can just enjoy the amusements on dry land, from go-karts and mini-golf to games and great family rides.