CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Five fascinating historical landmarks to visit in Exeter

PUBLISHED: 11:45 26 August 2014

Rougemont Castle

Rougemont Castle


Heading to Exeter but unsure of the best places to discover the city’s incredible history? HOLLY HUDSON gives us her top five

Exeter has a long and illustrious history. There’s evidence of human inhabitants in the area dating back thousands of years, and over the years Exeter developed into an important military outpost for the Romans and Normans, both of whom used it to control the surrounding areas.

If you want to get a flavour for Exeter’s incredible past be sure to visit these historical sites, all within easy walking distance of local hotels, B&Bs and public transport.

• City Wall

The remnants of Exeter’s city walls date back to Roman times. The Romans founded an outpost and fort for their legion in Exeter (then called Isca Dumnoniorum) in the first century and quickly built a defensive wall.

The wall was built on several times in the following centuries and you can easily find portions of it encircling the city centre.

• Rougemont Castle And Gardens

Situated right in the middle of the city centre, Rougemont Castle and its surrounding gardens take you back to Norman times. The castle was built by William The Conqueror and was the site of a dramatic siege in 1136. Be sure to take some time to explore the gardens, which are often home to events throughout the year.

• The Cathedral

The city’s most iconic landmark is the beautiful cathedral which is nestled right in the city centre, making it easy to get to.

Its official foundation was in 1133 but the building as it stands was complete in 1400 after several rebuilds and additions. With a beautiful vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows and impressive architectural appointments a visit to the cathedral is a must.

• Exe Bridge Ruins

Back before the medieval period, the River Exe was wider than now and tidal, so it was crossed by a ford at low tide and several rickety wooden bridges. These bridges were often poorly constructed and were often washed away by flood waters that hit the area regularly.

In the 13th century the first stone bridge was constructed by Nicholas and Walter Gervaise. The ruins of this bridge can be walked upon and the tower of St. Edmund’s church is still standing.

• St. Nicholas Priory

This beautifully Tudor house was once part of a priory and is more than 900 years old. In Elizabethan times it was home to a wealthy merchant family, and is currently presented as such.

Inside you can see original Tudor artefacts from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s extensive collection. The priory also puts on living history events to give you an insight into Tudor life.

If you’re a history fanatic a trip to Exeter is sure to delight you. With so many sites in easy walking distance it’s possible to visit multiple locations in just a short visit.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay so you can explore the city further, why not visit Event Exeter to find the perfect B&B?


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search