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Exeter one of Englands Top 10 Cities for Families

Exeter one of  Englands Top 10 Cities for Families

Exeter is a small city that packs a big punch. It is one of the most vibrant, attractive and historically interesting cities in England dating back from Roman times. A city waiting for us to explore………

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We thought we’d tour some of England’s cities over the next three weeks and find out for ourselves… Discover which of England’s cities are jam packed full of family friendly activities, motorhome friendly and which ones we’d want to return to…. possibly even to live in once our ‘European Roadschooling Adventure‘ ends. So what did the beautiful, cathedral city of Exeterin Devon have in store for us?

To illustrate what we’re comparing against, you might want to take a peek at our City Experiences page (read more here) or even take a look at our Top 10 Family Experiences across Europe (read more here) …. For us a city has to excite kids. Kids love to be entertained, they love to find interesting historical sites. They enjoy being surrounded by quirky history as it allows their imaginations to be activated…

If pushed to give our ‘Top European City’ so far (and we’ve seen over 50!) we’d suggest these two cities would be neck and neck.

 

 

  • Dubrovnik – Think Games of Thrones, think Walled City, think Adriatic Coast and Croatia…. this place has endless historically significant places to explore… it certainly entertained our girls with it’s history and adventurous activities
  • Porto – A European City of Culture, it’s steeped in the history of Portugal’s great ‘Age of Discovery’ yet has sights/sounds across the entire city that are magical for children… JK Rowling even used the place to dream up some Harry Potter locations
So how did Exeter compare to these two above? Well for starters, Exeter matches their impressive historical significance, enjoying a rich history of its own dating back to it’s fortified garrison in Roman times . It has links to William the Conqueror through the cathedral and is famed for being the birthplace of ‘hotels’. It prospered hugely in the 1400’s due to it’s growing cloth trade, so where better to start the tour than a visit to Tuckers Hall.

Ornate

Tuckers Hall

So after heading into the city towards Exeter’s pretty quayside, (motorhome parking in Havens Bank is £2.50 for the day) we headed up towards the city centre via Tuckers Hall. This Guild of local benefactors and it’s cloth trade over the centuries has played a pivotal role in Exeter’s wealth… the museum and its staff were fabulous and treated the girls to an amazing tour of Exeter’s history as both a producer and exporter of fabric/cloth… the impressively ornate Tuckers Hall provided a great start to understanding just how much this city developed and prospered due to a trade we’d first encountered in Bruges, Belgium.

Award Winning Red Coat City Tour

So after a hearty lunch of Chicken Wraps, Salads and enough sweet tea to sink a ship…. we head onto our next installment of Exeter History, courtesy of the Red Coat Tours that run daily for free from outside the Cathedral. We were regaled of stories of medieval cat flaps, volcanic rocks to make city walls and even a Saxon riddle or two for good measure… Ian our guide was perfect for the girls, and had Libby/Lottie hanging on his even word.. well worth the hour if you can spare it we’d suggest!

Exeter’s

Hidden Passages

Leaving the Red Coat Tours, we found our way to yet another of Exeter’s hidden gems, this one is so well hidden it’s some 13ft underneath the main high street – Exeter’s Underground Passages. Having visited the underground passages beneath a French Fort near Bordeaux, we thought we might know what to expect… so when they handed out the hard hats and we squeezed into the passage… our hearts quickened a beat or two!!! It’s very, very tight!! certainly for grown adults but our guide showed us through the 300m of tunnels that have existed since the 14th Century (with additions in the 18th Century)…

 

There’s a vast array of family friendly opportunities to discover more about the tunnels and just how they took water to the cathedrals from outside the city… in fact it reminded us of Segovia and its ancient Roman Aquaduct… it’s just Exeter had decided to place their ‘aqueduct’ under the ground!!! But there was some fantastic opportunity for the girls to learn about engineering and how they created the tunnels… a highly informative way to spend an hour under Exeter!!!

Pizza and Pie at The Stable

With the light fading and the children’s energy levels flagging, we headed for The Stable Exeter in the Guildhall, this recently opened ‘Pizza & Pie’ restaurant is perfect for kids who’ve enjoyed a busy day in Exeter… in fact it has certain charm to it due to the bench like table seating and the informal, yet friendly way the staff treat you… the food was excellent (we’d certainly echo the staff’s view that the Blazing Saddle Pizza is the one to pick!!!! Whilst Libby reckons you have to try the Baked Carmalised Apple Cheesecake!!

 

So all in all, it’s been a busy day around Exeter today… testing it out and finding that not only do we love the laid back approach of this beautiful, historic city… but we also love the people, they’ve been brilliant with the girls and that’s made all the difference… So we can certainly tick off the list that Exeter has an amazing history behind it, but what about its adventurous side!!! Well tomorrow sees us head down to see the quayside from the water with Paddles & Saddlesbefore getting involved with some ‘Clip’n’Climb’ & the rock faces at Quay Climbing Centre

Need a map to help you?

exeter

so where did we park the bus for the night?

our top tips to help you?

Top tip number 1 – Take time to enjoy the daily FREE award winning Red Coat Guided Tours which are provided by Exeter City Council. It is a walking tour telling the history of Exeter lasting 90 mins.

Top tip number 2 – Discover over 2000 years of Exeter’s history at the fascinating and FREE to visit Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM)

Top Tip Number 3 – Bring your adventurous spirit as Exeter is full of action from indoor climbing, kayaking, high wires, amusement parks to the Exeter Chiefs!

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About The Author

Richard

Ever wanted to pack your bags, just jump in a motorhome and go off and explore Europe as a family? Well, that’s exactly what my family has done since September 2015. Visiting 35 European countries, travelling over 54,000 miles and grabbing over 450 family experiences on the way… enjoying Bobsleigh in Norway, Climbing into Mt Etna in Sicily or Kayaking the River Dordogne.

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