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Things To Do In Exeter As A Student

Alexandra Greenhalgh
14.04.24 – 07 Mins Read
Aerial view of Exeter

Exeter is a truly fantastic city, and in this guide, we’ll explore the fun things you can do in Exeter that go beyond your studies to make sure you get the most out of your time as a student in this picturesque and historic city.

Nestled in the heart of Devon, Exeter seamlessly blends a rich history with a vibrant contemporary culture, offering a little something for everyone.

From exploring centuries-old landmarks to immersing yourself in the buzzing student scene, Exeter is a treasure trove of opportunities just waiting to be discovered.

Studying at the University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is consistently ranked among the UK’s top universities for national and international standings, and it’s not hard to see why.

The university’s campuses, including Streatham and St Luke’s in Exeter and Penryn in Cornwall, are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including modern lecture theatres, well-equipped laboratories, extensive libraries, and collaborative spaces.

Portland House student accommodation offers convenient living just moments away from the University of Exeter. Located near campus, students can enjoy easy access to lectures, libraries, and university facilities. With its prime location, Portland House provides a comfortable and supportive living environment for students pursuing their academic endeavours at the University of Exeter.

Some of the leading courses at The University of Exeter include…

Environmental Science and Sustainability

Exeter strongly focuses on environmental science and sustainability, aligning with its commitment to addressing global challenges. Programs in this field often benefit from the university’s research initiatives and partnerships with environmental organisations.

Economics and Business

The University of Exeter Business School offers a range of programmes in economics, finance, management, and related fields. The business school is known for its research contributions and its emphasis on preparing students for successful careers in the business world.

Archaeology and Anthropology

Exeter is renowned for its expertise in archaeology and anthropology. The university has a strong historical and environmental archaeology reputation, and its programmes often involve hands-on fieldwork opportunities.

Renewable Energy and Engineering

Given the global emphasis on sustainable energy solutions, Exeter has gained recognition for its renewable energy and engineering programmes.

English and Creative Writing

The University of Exeter has a reputable English department that offers literature and creative writing programmes. The university’s strong literary tradition and the opportunity for students to engage with renowned authors and poets make these courses attractive.


The university offers psychology programs that cover a broad range of topics, from clinical psychology to neuroscience. The Psychology department at Exeter is known for its research contributions and the quality of its teaching.

International Relations and Politics

Exeter’s programmes in international relations and politics are well-regarded. The university often attracts students interested in understanding global affairs and participating in research on political issues.

Interesting facts about Exeter

If you’re thinking about studying in Exeter, scrub up on your knowledge of the city with these interesting facts…

Exeter is a Historic Cathedral City

Exeter boasts a stunning mediaeval cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter at Exeter. Its construction began in 1114, and the cathedral has been a central part of the city’s skyline and history ever since – it is well worth a visit!

Underground Passages

The city is home to a unique network of mediaeval underground passages dating back to the 14th century. Built initially to provide a consistent water supply to residents, these passages now offer an intriguing glimpse into Exeter’s past. Why not take an underground tour?

Roman Origins

Exeter has a rich Roman history, and you can still see parts of the old Roman city wall. The city’s Roman name was Isca Dumnoniorum, and remnants of Roman baths have also been discovered.

Green Spaces

Despite being a city, Exeter is surrounded by picturesque greenery. The Quayside and the Exeter Canal offer peaceful waterside walks, and the expansive Northernhay Gardens, established in 1612, is one of the oldest public gardens in England.

The Trafalgar Way

Exeter played a significant role in history as the place where news of Admiral Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar first reached the shores of England. The Trafalgar Way, marked by plaques, commemorates the journey of the messenger who carried this important news.

Exeter’s Guildhall

The Guildhall is one of the oldest municipal buildings in England, with parts of it dating back to 1470. It has served various purposes over the centuries, including as a court, prison, and meeting place for the City Council.

Diverse Culinary Scene

Exeter offers diverse dining experiences, from traditional pubs to trendy cafes. The city’s food scene reflects its multicultural population, ensuring there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Discover The 5 Best Thai Restaurants In Exeter.

Exeter Chiefs

The city takes pride in its rugby team, the Exeter Chiefs, which has achieved success both domestically and in European competitions. The team’s matches at Sandy Park draw enthusiastic crowds, creating a spirited atmosphere in the city.

Things to do in Exeter as a student

Aside from visiting some of the fantastic places mentioned above, why not also…

Indulge in a Devonshire Cream Tea

No visit to Exeter is complete without experiencing the delight of a traditional Devonshire cream tea. Head to one of the city’s charming tea rooms or cafes and savour warm scones topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam, accompanied by a pot of tea. It’s a quintessential English treat that shouldn’t be missed.

Explore Exmouth Beach

Take a break from the library books and head to Exmouth Beach for a refreshing seaside escape. Just a short 40-minute journey from Exeter, this sandy stretch offers a perfect retreat to unwind. Whether you’re into sunbathing, beach games, or a leisurely stroll along the coastline, Exmouth Beach provides a scenic backdrop for relaxation and fun.

Hike the Exeter Green Circle

For nature enthusiasts, the Exeter Green Circle provides a scenic walking route around the city, passing through parks, woodlands, and waterways. It’s a great way to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and discover the green spaces that surround Exeter.

Explore the Quayside

Take a leisurely stroll along the Exeter Quayside, where historic buildings and modern amenities converge. Explore independent shops, enjoy a meal at waterside restaurants, or simply soak in the scenic views along the Exeter Canal.

Experience Exeter’s Nightlife

Exeter offers a vibrant nightlife scene with something for everyone. Here’s a glimpse into the city’s diverse nightlife:

Pubs and Bars

Explore Exeter’s historic pubs and modern bars, offering a wide selection of craft beers, ciders, cocktails, and spirits. From traditional English pubs to trendy cocktail bars, there’s a venue to suit every taste.

Live Music Venues

Enjoy live music performances at venues like The Cavern Club, The Exeter Phoenix, and The Old Firehouse. From local bands and acoustic acts to touring musicians, you can catch a variety of music genres throughout the week.

Clubs and Late-Night Venues

Dance the night away at Exeter’s clubs and late-night venues, where DJs spin the latest tracks and partygoers hit the dance floor until the early hours. Popular spots include Unit 1, Rosies, and Timepiece.

Comedy Clubs

Have a laugh at one of Exeter’s comedy clubs, where you can catch stand-up comedy shows and improv performances. Look out for events at venues like The Bikeshed Theatre and The Exeter Corn Exchange.

Cultural Events

Experience Exeter’s cultural nightlife with events such as theatre productions, film screenings, poetry readings, and art exhibitions. Check out venues like The Northcott Theatre and Exeter Picturehouse for a diverse range of cultural offerings.

Food and Drink Festivals

Sample local cuisine and beverages at Exeter’s food and drink festivals, which showcase the region’s culinary delights. From street food markets to beer festivals, there’s always something delicious to indulge in.

Student Nights

With a large student population, Exeter’s nightlife caters to students with dedicated student nights, drink specials, and themed events at various venues across the city.

Riverside Dining

Enjoy riverside dining along Exeter’s picturesque Quayside, where you can dine al fresco and soak up the scenic views of the River Exe. Many restaurants and cafes offer outdoor seating and evening entertainment.

Casinos and Gaming

For those feeling lucky, Exeter’s casinos and gaming venues provide opportunities for gambling and entertainment into the late hours.

Pub Quizzes and Trivia Nights

Test your knowledge at one of Exeter’s pub quizzes or trivia nights, where you can challenge your friends and enjoy a fun evening of brain-teasing questions and friendly competition.

Things to do in Exeter for free


For nature enthusiasts, the Exeter Green Circle provides a scenic walking route around the city, passing through parks, woodlands, and waterways. It’s a great way to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and discover the green spaces that surround Exeter.


Take a stroll along the Exeter Quayside, where historic buildings and modern amenities converge. Explore independent shops, enjoy a meal at waterside restaurants, or simply soak in the scenic views along the Exeter Canal.

Exeter Cathedral

Visit Exeter Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. Admission is free, and you can explore the cathedral’s stunning interior, including the vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, and impressive mediaeval sculptures.


The RAMM is a free museum in the heart of Exeter, showcasing a diverse range of artefacts, from ancient Egyptian mummies to local history exhibits. It provides a fascinating journey through time and cultures.

Northernhay Gardens

Relax in Northernhay Gardens, Exeter’s oldest public space, which dates back to the 17th century. Enjoy a stroll among the flowerbeds, sculptures, and historic features of this peaceful green oasis.

Exeter’s Historic Buildings

Take a self-guided walking tour of Exeter’s historic buildings, including the medieval city walls, the Guildhall, and the historic quayside warehouses. Many of these landmarks are free to admire from the outside.

Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours

Join a free guided walking tour led by Exeter’s knowledgeable Red Coat guides. Tours cover various themes, including the city’s history, architecture, and famous residents.

Haldon Forest Park

Escape to nature at Haldon Forest Park, located just a short drive from Exeter. Enjoy walking and cycling trails, picnicking spots, and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside—all for free.

Exeter’s Street Art

Discover Exeter’s vibrant street art scene by taking a self-guided tour of the city’s murals and graffiti artworks, which can be found in various locations around the city centre.

Events and Festivals

Keep an eye out for free events and festivals happening in Exeter throughout the year, including music performances, cultural celebrations, and community gatherings. Check local listings for upcoming events.

Exeter is a city with a rich history and stunning architecture.

The combination of mediaeval buildings, cobbled streets, and modern amenities creates a unique backdrop for your academic journey.

Discover Vita Student Accommodation, Portland House in Exeter.

Here are just some of the benefits of living in Vita Student accommodation in Exeter:

●      All-in services like free breakfast and housekeeping

●      City-centre locations.

●      Modern design that is made for both studying and socialising

●      Security.

●      High-quality Amenities.

●      Big events on a daily basis

Find out more.