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Explore the Charm of Quayside Exeter – Your Ultimate Guide

Welcome to Quayside Exeter, a hidden gem in the heart of Exeter. This historic quayside dates back to medieval times and has since transformed into a vibrant waterfront destination. From picturesque waterways to unique attractions and culinary delights, Quayside Exeter has something to offer for everyone. Join us on a journey through this enchanting destination and experience the best that Exeter waterfront has to offer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the rich history and vibrant attractions of Quayside Exeter.
  • Explore scenic riverside walks and stunning views of Exeter waterfront.
  • Indulge in a gastronomic adventure at the diverse range of restaurants and cafes.
  • Experience boating and water sports activities, or immerse yourself in cultural events and festivals.
  • Choose from a variety of accommodation options to extend your stay in Quayside Exeter.

A Brief History of Quayside Exeter

Quayside Exeter is a historic landmark that has stood the test of time and showcases the city’s rich heritage. The waterfront was a bustling centre of trade and commerce for merchants during the medieval times, with cargoes being transported in and out of Exeter via the Exeter Canal. Today, the quayside is an attractive destination for both locals and tourists alike.

The Exeter quayside has preserved much of its original architecture, with some buildings dating back to the 17th century, including The Custom House, the oldest surviving building on the waterfront, built in 1680. It served as a hub of activity for traders and merchants, and now houses a museum that details the history of the Quayside and its importance to Exeter’s trading past.

As industry evolved in the 19th century, the Exeter waterfront underwent significant changes; the canal was widened and deepened, a new bridge was built to replace the old one, and the railway was introduced for transportation purposes. These changes allowed for the efficient transportation of both goods and people, making the quayside an important transport hub for the city.

Today, Quayside Exeter is home to a range of attractions and restaurants, preserving its rich history while offering a vibrant atmosphere to those who visit. The historic quayside has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike due to its charming character and picturesque views.

Attractions on Quayside Exeter

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie or a nature lover, Quayside Exeter has an abundance of attractions to keep you entertained. Here are some must-visit places to add to your itinerary:

Royal Albert Memorial MuseumThe multi-award-winning museum boasts an extensive collection of art, artifacts and natural history exhibits from around the world.
Exeter Quay Climbing CentreChallenge yourself at this unique indoor climbing centre, suitable for climbers of all levels and ages.
Custom HouseDiscover the fascinating history of Exeter’s Custom House, built in the 17th century to collect taxes from ships.
Exeter CanalTake a relaxing stroll along the picturesque Exeter Canal, which stretches from Exeter Quayside to Exeter Ship Canal.
Exeter Maritime MuseumExplore the fascinating history of Exeter’s maritime heritage, including the city’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
Cricklepit MillDiscover the history of this 14th-century mill and its role in powering the city’s industries for centuries.

These are just a few of the many attractions that Quayside Exeter has to offer. Be sure to also explore its quaint shops and cafes, enjoy a boat tour or take part in one of the many cultural events that take place throughout the year.

Riverside Walks and Scenic Views

Quayside Exeter offers some of the most stunning riverside walks in England. Take a leisurely stroll along the Exeter Canal and be mesmerized by the breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding nature. The tranquil and serene atmosphere makes it an ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can also choose to cycle along the paths or simply sit and relax on the benches while admiring the picturesque boats and wildlife.

As you explore Quayside Exeter, you’ll discover hidden landmarks such as the beautiful Custom House, which was built in 1680 and once served as the Exeter Port Authority. Its unique architecture and historic significance make it an important landmark in the area.

For those who love being near the water, Quayside Exeter offers a variety of boat tours and rental options. You can choose to paddle down the canal in a kayak or hop on a guided tour and learn about the history of the area. You can also indulge in some adrenaline-pumping water sports such as wakeboarding, waterskiing, and windsurfing.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or an adrenaline junkie, Quayside Exeter has something for everyone. So grab your walking shoes and head to the Exeter waterfront for an unforgettable experience!

Culinary Delights at Quayside Exeter

When it comes to dining options, Quayside Exeter has something for everyone. From cosy cafes to bustling waterfront pubs and renowned restaurants, this historic quayside is a foodie paradise.

For a taste of traditional British cuisine, head to The Prospect Inn. This charming waterfront pub boasts stunning river views, a cosy atmosphere, and a menu featuring classic dishes such as fish and chips, Sunday roast with all the trimmings, and homemade pies.

For those looking for something more exotic, head to Samuel Jones Smoke & Ale House. The menu at this trendy eatery features mouth-watering BBQ dishes, locally sourced meat, and an impressive selection of craft beers.

If you’re in the mood for seafood, then Rockfish is the place to be. This stylish restaurant offers a selection of fresh seafood dishes, including classic fish and chips, grilled lobster, and seafood platters to share.

For those seeking a waterfront view with their meal, head to The Waterfront. This popular restaurant has an extensive menu of modern British cuisine, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Dine al fresco on the terrace and enjoy panoramic views of the River Exe.

No matter your taste or budget, Quayside Exeter has a restaurant or café to suit. So why not indulge in some culinary delights on your next visit to Exeter?

Boating and Water Sports

Quayside Exeter is the perfect playground for boating enthusiasts and water sports lovers. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the tranquil waters of Exeter Canal, taking in the picturesque views of the historic quayside. For those seeking a more adrenaline-pumping experience, why not try your hand at sailing or join a guided boat tour? Whatever your level of experience, there are plenty of options available to suit your preferences.

If you’re looking for something more leisurely, you can take a relaxing boat trip along the canal to enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife. There are also various fishing trips available, giving visitors the opportunity to catch their own dinner and experience the thrill of the catch.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, there are endless possibilities for enjoying the water at Exeter Quayside. So why not dive right in and explore this vibrant and exciting aspect of this historic waterfront destination?

Cultural Events and Festivals

Quayside Exeter is a vibrant hub of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, offering a plethora of things to do in Exeter. Whether you’re a music lover, a foodie, or an art enthusiast, there is always something happening on the Exeter waterfront to pique your interest.

One of the most popular events in Quayside Exeter is the annual Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink, showcasing the richness and diversity of the region’s culinary scene. The festival brings together top chefs, local producers, and food lovers for a weekend of gastronomic indulgence.

If you’re a fan of live music, don’t miss the Exeter Street Arts Festival, a free event that takes over the streets of Exeter with music, dance, and theater performances. This festival is a celebration of the creativity and diversity of the city’s arts scene.

Exeter Fringe Festival

Another exciting event on the Exeter waterfront is the Exeter Fringe Festival, showcasing the best of alternative theater, comedy, and performance art. This festival brings together local and international performers for a week-long celebration of the weird and wonderful.

Other notable festivals on Quayside Exeter include the Exeter Craft Festival, showcasing the best of local crafts and artisans, and the Exeter Respect Festival, celebrating diversity and community spirit through music, dance, and food.

Make sure to check out the event calendar for Quayside Exeter during your visit, so you don’t miss out on the exciting cultural events and festivals that make this waterfront destination truly unique.

Shopping and Local Crafts

Quayside Exeter is not only rich in history and culture but also offers a unique shopping experience. The district features an array of local shops and craft stalls that cater to every taste. The boutiques and galleries offer one-of-a-kind treasures, handmade jewellery, and locally produced artwork.

Support independent artisans and take home a piece of Exeter’s vibrant creative scene. Browse through art and antique shops selling unique pieces and explore the local craft markets featuring handmade souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones.

Shop NameCategoryLocation
The Quay Climbing Centre ShopOutdoor equipmentExeter Quay
Quayside GiftsGifts and souvenirsExeter Quay
Devon Guild of Craftsmen ShopLocal craftsRiverside

Whether you’re looking for a unique piece of jewelry or a special memento of your visit to Exeter, Quayside Exeter has got you covered.

Local Craft Markets

Exeter Quayside hosts regular craft markets, showcasing the talents of local artisans. Browse through the stalls offering handmade jewellery, pottery, textiles, and more. The craft markets are a perfect opportunity to uncover hidden treasures and support independent traders.

  • Exeter Craft Market – Every Saturday and Sunday from March to December.
  • Quayside Sunday Market – Open every Sunday throughout the year.

Visit Quayside Exeter for an immersive shopping experience that combines traditional crafts with modern creativity.

Accommodation Options

Extend your stay in Quayside Exeter and make the most out of your visit to the Exeter waterfront. There are a variety of accommodation options to choose from, ranging from luxurious boutique hotels to cozy B&Bs.

If you’re looking for a touch of luxury, the Hotel du Vin Exeter is an excellent choice. With a prime location on the Quayside and stunning views of the River Exe, this elegant hotel offers spacious rooms and suites and a beautiful terrace for al fresco dining.

For a more budget-friendly option, try the Globe Backpackers Hostel. This quirky hostel is located in a historic building and offers comfortable dorms and private rooms. Its proximity to the waterfront and other attractions in Exeter makes it an excellent base for exploring the area.

Other options include the charming St. Olaves Hotel and the cozy St. Andrews Hotel, both situated just a short walk from the Exeter waterfront and offering comfortable accommodation at affordable prices.

Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to wake up to beautiful water views and easy access to the attractions and activities of Exeter. Book your stay now and make your visit to Quayside Exeter unforgettable!


Quayside Exeter is a hidden gem in the heart of Exeter that offers an enchanting blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. From exploring the historic significance of this scenic waterfront destination to indulging in culinary delights, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely riverside walk, try your hand at boating or water sports, or shop for unique local crafts, Quayside Exeter has it all. You can also choose from a variety of accommodation options to extend your stay and wake up to beautiful water views every morning.

Plan Your Visit Today

Don’t miss out on the charm of Quayside Exeter. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and captivating history of this hidden gem. With cultural events and festivals throughout the year, you can experience an exciting range of entertainment options and make unforgettable memories with family and friends.


Q: What is Quayside Exeter?

A: Quayside Exeter is a historic waterfront area located in the heart of Exeter. It offers a rich history, picturesque waterways, a vibrant atmosphere, and a range of attractions for visitors to explore.

Q: What is the history of Quayside Exeter?

A: Quayside Exeter has its roots as a bustling trading hub during medieval times. Over the years, it has transformed into a vibrant waterfront destination while still retaining its historic charm.

Q: What attractions can I find on Quayside Exeter?

A: Quayside Exeter is home to numerous attractions, including the award-winning Royal Albert Memorial Museum and the unique and interactive Exeter Quay Climbing Centre. There is something for everyone to enjoy.

Q: Are there scenic walks along the riverside in Quayside Exeter?

A: Yes, Quayside Exeter offers picturesque riverside walks along the Exeter Canal. You can enjoy breathtaking views, observe wildlife, and discover hidden gems such as the historic Custom House.

Q: What culinary delights can I experience at Quayside Exeter?

A: Quayside Exeter boasts a diverse range of restaurants and cafes. From traditional English pubs serving hearty meals to trendy eateries offering international cuisines, there is something to satisfy every palate.

Q: Can I engage in boating and water sports at Quayside Exeter?

A: Absolutely! Quayside Exeter offers opportunities for boating enthusiasts and water sports lovers. You can rent a kayak or paddleboard, join a guided boat tour, or try your hand at sailing.

Q: Are there cultural events and festivals held at Quayside Exeter?

A: Yes, Quayside Exeter is a hub of cultural events and festivals throughout the year. From live music concerts to food festivals and art exhibitions, there is always something happening on the waterfront.

Q: Can I find unique shops and local crafts at Quayside Exeter?

A: Quayside Exeter is home to a range of unique shops and local craft stalls. You can explore boutiques and galleries to find one-of-a-kind treasures, handmade jewelry, and locally produced artwork.

Q: What accommodation options are available near Quayside Exeter?

A: There are various accommodation options near Quayside Exeter, including boutique hotels and cozy B&Bs. You can choose according to your budget and preference, with beautiful water views and easy access to attractions and activities.

Q: Why should I visit Quayside Exeter?

A: Quayside Exeter offers a perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re interested in exploring its historic significance, indulging in culinary delights, or simply enjoying the waterfront atmosphere, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

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Thomas Winfield
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