Seeing as this is my last article as a Razz regular correspondent for this year *sob, sob*, I thought I’d collate my ideas on all the wonderful places and things in Exeter into a day’s fairly packed but completely do-able itinerary. Here goes…
Wake up: Assuming money isn’t an issue I think I’d stay at Southernhay House. My family stayed there once when they visited and it’s just gorgeous. It may be small, with only ten rooms, but this boutique hotel boasts impressive architecture, and oozes luxury and elegance. If only the student budget would stretch ey?
Breakfast: This is a tough one. I think it would be a toss-up between the Real Food Store on Paris Street which sells all organic produce and award-winning local food. Yum. Or Lloyd’s Kitchen just off the High St. which recently had a makeover and is now looking very flash. Their Eggs Benedict is to die for!
Take a walk: I really love walking to the Quay, dropping down from the city centre to the countryside in minutes. The beautiful and historic quayside seems worlds away from the urban streets of Exeter. On a good day, people flock here and it’s nice just to wander around and listen to the seagulls, a little reminder of how close to the coast Exeter is!
Enjoy a coffee: Seeing as I’m down by the Quay I can’t resist the lure of The Coffee Cellar. It’s the quirkiest café I know and a real treasure. Other café gems in Exeter include Boston Tea Party and the Exploding Bakery, both by Exeter Central Station. You really are spoilt for choice here.
Go shopping: The shopping scene in Exeter is a real dream. After hitting the big names of Princesshay and the High St., I’d take a wander down Gandy St. to delve into more independent delights, such as Moko. I’d recommend for anyone stuck gift-buying. As an avid reader, I’d also want to visit Book-Cycle which is a fantastic charity-based book shop set in a Georgian house.
Lunch: After all that retail therapy I’m bound to be hungry! On a sunny day there is no place like the picturesque Cathedral Green and so I think I’d definitely head there to soak up the rays. And what better way to enjoy the view than from an outside table at Tea on the Green? Their Devonshire afternoon tea is scrumptious, as are their fresh sandwiches and salad. All washed down with a proper cup of tea. Perfect.
Spend the afternoon: I think a long walk to work off that lunch would be in order. I love the back streets of Exeter, especially the winding paths behind Fore St and the Southernhay district. The University campus itself is stunning and so a little trip up to Reed Hall and the botanical gardens wouldn’t go a miss either. I realise I’m being very optimistic with my weather predictions and in reality Exeter gets its fair share of rain and so my wet weather plan would be to catch a play at the Bike Shed Theatre or a film at the Picturehouse cinema. This independent style cinema has a café, homemade treats, chalkboard signs and free screenings for students. It’s absolutely fantastic! The RAMM museum is also a great way to while away the hours.
Have a cocktail: Drinking cocktails is one of my favourite pastimes (without sounding like a raging alcoholic!) and so a pre-dinner tipple would definitely be on the agenda. In my opinion, you can’t beat the bar at the Magdalen Chapter hotel. Again, a little pricey but it’s absolutely fabulous. My favourites are the Raspberry Collins and the Apple and Mango Daiquiri. A sit down in front of the log fires with a glass or two sounds ideal to me.
Dinner: After a cocktail or two, I probably wouldn’t want to walk too far, so I would stay at the Magdalen Chapter for dinner. The food is exceptional. If I wasn’t in that much of a sophisticated mood however I’d probably go to El Bocado on South St for the best tapas in town or my firm favourite The HubBox for fool proof burgers. Again, there’s more restaurants in Exeter than you can possibly make your way round (even during a three year degree…believe me, I’m trying!) and so whatever mood you’re in there’ll be somewhere suitable!
Evening: The Firehouse is great in the evenings with live music and a really intimate atmosphere. Plus, you can text all your friends and tell them you’re sitting in the pub which inspired the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter which is pretty cool (well it is if you’re a Potter nerd like me)! And if, by some sort of miracle, you still have space for food you can order an infamous Firehouse late night pizza. A real feast for the eyes (and stomach!).
Spend the night: Despite the temptation of the wonderful hotels of Exeter, I think I would be drawn home to my own little student house, just off Pennsylvania Road. My bed is lovely and comfy and besides, my student house is very central so I could start thinking about where I might have breakfast the next morning! In my perfect world, I’d have a great night’s sleep, wake up and do it all over again!
by Sinead Buckingham, Razz Exeter Correspondent