Local area guide

Living in Exeter: area guide - Zoopla

Nestled between Dartmoor National Park and the Blackdown Hills, Exeter is a thriving city with a relaxed vibe.

One of the few cities where you can walk down to the beach and buy fish from the fishermen, Exeter is a safe, friendly and liberal place which offers easy access to the coast and countryside.

With a great cafe culture and lovely pubs for lunch, Exeter also has a thriving shopping scene, with plenty of independent shops and high street favourites.

Plus it can boast having a university that's part of the Russell Group.

Your guide to moving to Exeter

Why Exeter is a good place to live

The second largest city in Devon, Exeter city has a welcoming vibe and a bustling energy.

Just 36 miles from the city of Plymouth and 65 miles south west of Bristol, Exeter enjoys lively markets and a rich cultural scene, with plenty of theatres, museums, galleries and festivals.

The scenic River Exe runs through the centre of the city and the Barley Valley Nature Reserve is just next door.

Shopping here is excellent, with independent boutiques, antique and food markets and all the high street faves.

The city also has plenty of green spaces to enjoy, including the Flowerpot Playing Fields, River Exe Country Park and the Riverside Valley Park, while offering easy access to beautiful beaches, Dartmoor National Park and the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

What's Exeter famous for?

Sometimes known as the 'capital city of Devon', Exeter is famous for its huge Gothic cathedral, built in 1342, which looms over a row of medieval terraced houses near the city's ancient walls.

Exeter Quay is a beautiful part of the city that's famous for watersports and great places to eat and drink.

Exeter also boasts a prestigious university that's part of the Russell Group and famous alumni include J K Rowling, Radiohead's Thom York and Zara Tindall.

Things to do in Exeter

Exeter's proximity to beautiful areas is one of the things that makes it so special.

The Dartmoor National Park and Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are all within easy reach, as are Exmouth beach, Budleigh Salterton Beach, Branscombe Beach and Dawlish Warren.

Culture vultures will love the Cathedral and former monastery Exeter Priory, as well as the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Exeter Quayside.

And be sure to check out the narrowest street in the country: Parliament Street, alongside The House That Moved - a medieval building currently positioned on West Street, at the bottom of Stepcote Hill, but it’s original position was at the corner of Edmund Street and Frog Street. 

Shopping here is excellent, head to Cathedral Yard, Gandy Street, Fore Street and Castle Street for some cool boutiques, while Princesshay has lots of high street faves. Topsham Quay Antiques Centre is great for rare finds, while the Topsham Saturday Market is great for artisan food.

Being a city, Exeter of course has plenty of delights on offer for foodies, and the Exmoor Food Festival should not be missed.

For fine dining, head to Lympstone Manor, Rodean Restaurant or The Conservatory, while great cafes include The Daisy Cafe, The Flat, The Exploding Bakery and Harry's Restaurant.

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Local pubs in Exeter

In partnership with
  • Black Horse

    Exeter, Devon, EX4

    At the Black Horse we pride ourselves in sharing the Great British pub experience. Our menu offers traditional British pub food made from quality ingredients.

  • Old Fire House

    Exeter, Devon, EX4

    Widely acknowledged to be one of Exeter’s best ale and cider pubs, The Old Firehouse is very popular with students and locals alike and offers a buzzy atmosphere, along with a great range of drinks and fantastic food.

  • Vaults

    Exeter, Devon, EX4

    Contemporary, neon-lit gay bar and nightclub with VIP lounge for club tunes and karaoke nights.

Transport in Exeter


Exeter St Davids provides direct services to major cities like London (approximately 2 hours), Bristol (around 1 hour), and Plymouth (about 1 hour).

Exeter Central in the city centre is the most convenient for direct journeys on the Riviera Line to Torquay and Paignton, the Avocet Line to Exmouth, the Tarka Line to Barnstaple and the Dartmoor Line to Okehampton.


Exeter has an extensive bus network operated by companies like Stagecoach and Exeter Cabs.

Regular services operate within the city and surrounding suburbs, while also connecting Exeter to Bristol, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Lime Regis and Dartmouth.

Park and Ride

Exeter operates Park and Ride services from locations like Honiton Road and Sowton, with regular bus links into the city center.


The M5 motorway runs near Exeter, connecting the city to Bristol in the north and Plymouth in the south.

The A30 also provides a major route connecting Exeter to Cornwall and the West Country.


Exeter International Airport is located 4 miles east of the city center and offers domestic flights and international connections to mainland Europe, the Greek islands and the USA.

Transport connections

Exeter Central
National Rail
0.2 miles / 0.3 km
St James Park (Exeter)
National Rail
0.4 miles / 0.6 km
Exeter St David's
National Rail
0.7 miles / 1.1 km
Exeter St Thomas
National Rail
0.8 miles / 1.3 km
Polsloe Bridge
National Rail
1.2 miles / 1.9 km
Marsh Barton
National Rail
1.5 miles / 2.4 km

Schools in Exeter

Exeter offers an excellent choice of Good and Outstanding schools.

For primary aged children, Stoke Hill Infant and Nursery School, St Michael's Church of England Primary Academy and Westclyst Community Primary School are among those rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

In the secondary sector, Torlands Academy and Exeter Mathematics School are rated Outstanding, while St Peter's Church of England Aided School is rated Excellent. Southbrook School and Barley Lane School are both rated good.

Within the private school sector, Vranch House School is rated Outstanding, The Maynard School for girls is rated Exellent and Exeter School is rated Good.

For further education, Exeter University is part of the Russell Group of universities and specialises in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, as well as science and the humanities.

Exeter College is outstanding and offers GCSEs, A Levels, T Levels, BTECs, Apprenticeships, Higher Technical Education and Skills Bootcamps across a whole range of subjects ranging from book keeping to sports, journalism and more.

Schools in Exeter

Exeter Mathematics School
Ages: 16 - 19 years old
Ofsted Rating: Outstanding (2017)
St Sidwell's Church of England Primary School & Nursery
Ages: 3 - 11 years old
Exeter Cathedral School
Ages: 3 - 13 years old
The Maynard School
Ages: 4 - 19 years old
Newtown Primary School
Ages: 4 - 11 years old
St David's CofE Primary School
Ages: 5 - 11 years old
Ofsted Rating: Good (2019)