You’ve just arrived in Exeter, you’ve raided the home section of your favourite high street store and you’re preparing to settle into academic life. Whether this is your first year or your final year, we’re here to help when that mid-term slump hits and you need a change of scenery. After all, there’s only so many weekends that can be spent in the Lemmy.
Starting close to home, Totnes is under an hour away by either train or car (the journey itself is stunning) and is definitely worth a trip to. Famed as a ‘hippy haven’ you can easily spend an afternoon wandering through the gift shops, record stores, and vintage treasure troves. The high street boasts some amazing independent shops and cafes (think Fore Street, but amped up). If you’re looking for some bargains, plan your trip for a market day for a spot of thrifting. Similarly, Topsham is a local fishing town definitely worth a trip. Only a stone’s throw away by train, treat yourself to a riverside pub lunch, a walk along the river or a pint in one of the town’s many pubs.
If you fancy a trip a little further afield, head into Cornwall as not only are we lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, we border another. You’ll probably need a car for this to make it worthwhile, or a lot of patience and a good booking for the train! Port Isaac is a quaint, sea-side town which also happens to be the filming base of Doc Martin. Grab a portion of fish and chips and eat away to your heart’s content looking out over the harbour and thinking how glad you are you chose a university so ideally situated. While you are day tripping why not call into St. Ives, one of Cornwall’s most famous destinations. Perfect for an afternoon of art and culture as this town boasts not only multiple galleries and museums, but is also home to a Tate Gallery.
Whilst we don’t want to knock our beautiful university town, sometimes we miss the hustle and bustle of a bigger city. Visit Bristol, Bath, or if you’re prepared to overcome the rivalry, Plymouth is only an hour away. Bristol boasts a huge shopping centre, eccentric night life, an amazing music scene, some fantastic art, and a whole host of cafes and restaurants. A trip out of the town centre is definitely worth it to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge, if that’s your sort of thing. Known for its gorgeous Georgian architecture and Roman history, you could easily spend an afternoon soaking in the history of beautiful Bath. For the literary buffs amongst us head to the Jane Austen centre and explore the city through her footprints.
Finally, a Devon speciality, guaranteed to boost your Instagram account and amaze your home friends, is the annual Tar Barrel festival which takes place every bonfire night in our neighbouring town, Ottery Saint Mary. It is an event which has to be seen to be believed, where else can you see locals running through packed streets carrying blazing barrels of burning tar?
– Lowri Ellcock