Exeter is a marvellous place to come and study. Big enough to not feel suffocating, but small enough to not get lost in a mass of people, this town can offer a lot. However, it is easy to miss a few things in the rush of Freshers’ Week. Whether you are a fresher or a returning student hoping to find something new, here are five suggestions (somewhat) off the beaten track.
Hatt’s Cocktail Bar
Hatt’s is a large cocktail and wine bar, located in the heart of Gandy Street. Spread over two floors, the underground cellar bar offers an amazing place to grab a few cocktails with friends. Comfortable sofas and a low ceiling give the space an intimate feeling, and thick walls mean phone signal is hard to come by, making this the perfect place to escape the outside world. If you’re lucky, sometimes live music is performed downstairs on a Friday night.
Book-Cycle is a bookshop run by volunteers, for the benefit of charities across the world. Set in a building that could have come straight out of Harry Potter, at Book-Cycle you can choose up to three books and donate what you think to be a fair price as payment. They do not keep a catalogue of how many titles that they stock, but two floors are stacked floor-to-ceiling with books. Book-Cycle has so far managed to build over 300 libraries across Africa from donations, and has sent over 250,000 books worldwide, so pop down to the shop located just off Fore Street and help give back while also finding a new book to read.
A strange one, I’ll admit, but Exeter has a growing Escape Room scene. Escape Rooms are rooms, usually themed, that you and a group of friends are locked in. You then must answer a series of questions in order to escape. Mission Escape (up the road from Book-Cycle) offers three different themed rooms to attempt, and Red House Mysteries located nearby offers two further challenges. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, especially if the weather is bad.
Glorious Art House
The Glorious Art House is halfway down Fore Street, which may seem a long way from campus, but trust me, is worth the walk. Opened in August 2014, this cafe is spread over three creaking floors, with a lovely courtyard in the back for when the sun is shining. Try and nab the sofas in the front windows, but if not, anywhere will do – and the excellent coffee in bright homemade crockery will keep you coming back for more.
The Picturehouse is tucked away at the bottom of Fore Street, and unlike the Odeon on Sidwell Street or the Vue near Unit 1, it feels less like a chain cinema (despite being one) as it only has two screens. There is an upstairs bar which offers a great selection of small bites and drinks, and there are often offers available to students. As well as the typical blockbusters that a cinema provides, the Picturehouse also screens indie films as well as National Theatre plays, streamed live from London.
Now it’s time to go and explore the hidden treasures of your new home!
– Max Price