If you’re looking for a boutique break with a luxe lounge, you’re in luck – Exeter’s full of distinctive places to stay. You can make yourself at home sipping champagne in a copper tub at the luxurious Southernhay House or enjoy a spa break in the recently converted Hotel Du Vin – which is situated inside the city’s old Victorian eye infirmary. Both are about ten minutes in a cab from Exeter St Davids station.
If you have a set of wheels, it’s definitely worth the short drive to Treetops Treehouse in Eggesford – the distinctive lakeside property sleeps four with a kingsize suite and two bunks for the kids. Meanwhile, if terra firma’s more your schtick, try Bovey Castle, a five-star rural retreat that’s nestled elegant and stately on the Exeter side of Dartmoor.
As far as shopping goes, Exeter’s full of hidden gems, and most of them can be found on Fore Street – a steep hill full of independent shops that links the cathedral and the river. Take a stroll in the newly redesigned McCoy’s Arcade for vintage clothes from the aptly named Real McCoy, pick up some boutique beers at Hops and Crafts and check out Manson’s, a guitar shop stacked floor-to-ceiling with all the best things with strings. A little further down the slope, No Guts No Glory is a quirky shop run by a pair of designers – they specialize in posters, clobber, cards and gifts as well as some seriously cool cacti. Keep going over the road to New Bridge Street and you’ll find all sorts of curiosities at Otto’s Antiques & Interiors – a marvelous menagerie of offbeat old furnishings. With all this lot to check out, there’s probably no need to tell you about all the high-street brands you can find in Princesshay.