In Focus – Exeter

See & Do

Exeter’s Underground Passages

You know how it is, you can’t truly understand a place until you know all of its secrets, and the Exeter Underground Passages are probably the worst kept one this city has to offer. Originally designed to pump clean drinking water round the city, these narrow passages are a must-see for history buffs (but one to avoid if you get claustrophobic).

If art and culture’s more your bag, make a beeline for Exeter Phoenix, a bustling creative hub at the end of Gandy Street – a narrow road of shops that was the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. At the Phoenix you’ll find rotating exhibitions, gigs, theatre and comedy as well as independent flicks with Q&As. Talking of films, The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum on the university campus houses one of the world’s largest collections of material relating to the moving image, with over 75,000 items in an archive dating back to the 17th century. What’s more, it’s open seven days a week and is absolutely free.

Once you find it (it’s hidden down a passage near the top of Fore Street), The Bike Shed Theatre is good for a full evening’s entertainment. The charmingly compact red brick theatre puts on shows from some of the best small companies in the country – and the bar’s pretty good for a knees up after the curtain call, too.

If you plan on using Exeter as a base for exploring, head out west to Dartmoor, or down the River Exe to the stunning sands of the Jurassic Coast at Budleigh or Exmouth. On your way home, try some west country tipples at Topsham’s Pebblebed Vineyard – you won’t regret it.

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