Last Updated on June 11, 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
For those familiar with the Southwest, the historic city of Exeter likely needs no introduction. After all, as the capital city of Devon, this settlement has no shortage of fantastic and unique things to do. However, there’s a reason that the rolling hills of Devon are so green and that reason is rain! As such, you can expect a fair few showers during your visit, even if you’re going during the summer. Here’s how to spend a rainy day in Exeter!
Visit the RAMM Museum
Newly renovated as of just a few years ago, a trip inside the RAMM (full name: Royal Albert Memorial Museum) is easily one of the best things to do in Exeter when it rains. Free to visit and perfect for all ages, the museum is divided into several sections and is set over two levels.
While one part of the museum looks at the history of the nearby Jurassic Coastline (where fossils can be found in abundance), another downstairs section of the Exeter attraction follows the history of the city, from the Roman era and right up until the present day.
Upstairs, there’s a space dedicated to the Natural World, while one room even houses glass vials and is reminiscent of a Victorian museum. Throughout the year, there are everchanging exhibitions, meaning that no two visits to the museum are ever the same. Whatever your reasons for visiting, you surely won’t be disappointed!
Hideaway from the rain in one of Exeter’s many coffee shops
What may well surprise visitors to the region is the sheer number of coffee shops and cafés dotted around the city centre and beyond. From speciality coffees to homemade baked cakes, there’s no shortage of wonderful establishments where you can cosy up with a good book and escape from the rain!
Go shopping in Princesshay
Part of a newer development in the city in the past decade or so, Princesshay is a massive partially covered shopping complex in the heart of the city. Home to many high street brands as well as eateries and lots of hidden history (for example, a section of Roman wall), you could easily while away an entire afternoon drinking coffee, shopping, and scouting out off the beaten path gems, all the while hiding away from the rain.
Visit Exeter Cathedral
By far one of the most beautiful Gothic Cathedrals in the UK, Exeter Cathedral took several hundred years to build and is a stunning feat of engineering, by any stretch of the imagination. Though you’ll have to pay to visit this ancient structure, in our opinion the entrance fee is more than worth the price- the interior is simply that stunning!
Discover the churches of Exeter
There are plenty more churches in Exeter than just its expansive Cathedral. The rest of the ecclesiastical buildings in the Devonian capital city are free to visit and have just as much to offer in the way of quirky architecture and a real insight into local history.
Some of the more impressive chapels to see in the city centre include the St Pancras Church, which is tucked away in the very heart of the Guildhall Shopping Centre and is a historic gem amidst modern buildings, as well as St Martin’s Church, which is free to visit, dates back to the 11th-century (making it one of the oldest buildings in the city), and is now run and managed by the Churches Conservation Trust.
Explore Exeter’s Underground Passages
Many visitors to the city don’t know this, but one of the best-kept secrets Exeter has to offer is the opportunity to visit its underground passages. Available to visit by paid guided tour only, the medieval subterranean walkways tell the secret story of Devon’s capital city. In fact, Exeter is the only English city to have this type of underground passageway system. Discover more about how to visit Exeter’s Underground passages here.
Take a day trip from Exeter
Of course, thanks to Devon’s coastlines the weather is pretty variable across the county and so on days when it might be raining in Exeter, it may well not be raining just a short train ride away. As such, if you truly want to escape the bad weather, then you might consider hopping on a train or renting a car and taking a fantastic day trip from Exeter.
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