Few places put the ‘great’ in great outdoors like Devon and the area surrounding Exeter is full of action and adventure. Take a kayak down the city’s very own ship canal, book your passage on a unique steam railway and try to enjoy the view from a 235m zip wire strung over a spectacular woodland valley.
Outdoor activities in Exeter
Book a scenic boat cruise to Exmouth along the oldest working ship canal in Europe or hire a canoe or bike from Saddles & Paddles or AS Watersports and explore the area in style. Exe Adventures offer guided kayaking sessions and will even pick you up and drop you back at your hotel, perfect for Premier Inn customers. By the time you get back, you’ll definitely have earned that drink at the riverside bar that caught your eye earlier.
Not quite in the mood for an outward bound adventure? Not to worry – with some of the best independent shops, bars and restaurants in the city, Exeter Quay is a brilliant place to while away an afternoon. And if the weather does take a turn for the worse, you can always abandon your riverside spot and head inside. Same great views, just a lot cosier!
Bicton Park Gardens
Go Ape! Exeter
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens is one of Devon’s most-visited attractions and it’s easy to see why. The gardens themselves are some of the most spectacular in Britain, home to a cornucopia of rare trees and plants. The 63 acres of grounds are divided into several formal gardens, including the world-renowned Italian garden with its stunning views, terraced lawns and tiered fountains. Explore the winding, maze-like paths of the fernery and you’ll discover the Shell House, home to a stunning collection of seashells from all over the world. You can marvel at the Arboretum too, which is home to over 300 different species of trees, including 25 ‘champions’; the tallest or largest of their kind in the country.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that Bicton is just a paradise for nature lovers. Kids adore it and the estate’s owners have responded with an abundance of things to keep youngsters entertained, from fully-equipped indoor and outdoor play areas, 18-hole mini-golf course, zip slides, nature trail and much more. The undoubted star is the park’s very own narrow gauge steam railway. The 1.5-mile route winds its way through spectacular woodland before returning along the banks of the Great Lake. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the park from the comfort of your own carriage.
Go Ape! Exeter
Once upon a time, people used to enjoy Britain’s woodlands with a gentle stroll through the forest floor. Today, all the action’s going on 40 feet off the ground in the tree canopy above!
Go Ape! now has over 30 locations across the UK and their brand of high-wire adventure is a firm favourite with adults and kids alike. Their Devon site is located in Haldon Forest Park, just a 10-minute drive from our Exeter (Countess Wear) hotel, and they recommend that you set aside two to three hours to fit in everything on offer. That means Tarzan swings, rope ladders and their spectacular 235 feet long zip wire course.
Make sure you take time to appreciate in the breathtaking views of Dartmoor as you hurtle through the air at eye-watering speeds; that’s if you have any breath left! Then it’s time to conquer the famous log balance. Can you cross it without using your hands? Consider the gauntlet well and truly thrown down!