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Gay Exeter • City Guide

First time in Exeter? Then our gay Exeter city guide page is for you.

Exeter Cathedral


A cathedral city in the South West of England. Exeter is home to around 130,000 people and is the county town of Devon.

Starting life as a fortified Roman city, Exeter has a rich and varied history. It became an important religious centre when it’s cathedral was built in the 11th Century. In the 19th Century the city was known for its wool. Exeter was bombed quite severely during World War 2 in the Baedecker Blitz.

Nowadays, Exeter is one of the main business hubs of the South West, known for being the location of the Met Office and its prestigious university. Visitors come to Exeter to witness its fantastic architecture, proximity to the Devonshire countryside and excellent shopping choice.


Gay Scene

There is only one known gay bar in Exeter, called The Vaults. And whilst the nightlife scene is small, the city is known to be very welcoming of gay visitors. Like the rest of the UK, most bars and clubs in Exeter are LGBT-friendly, and the large student population means a very liberal attitude towards homosexuality in general.

There is an annual LGBT Pride parade and festival, held every summer.


Getting to Exeter

By plane

The Exeter Airport (EXT), located 4 miles from the city centre, offers a modest number of domestic connections and European flights, mostly through Flybe, as well as limited selection of seasonal and charter airlines.

Bus 56 (56A/B) offers a regular service to the train station and bus station, but there is a limited route on Sundays and bank holidays. Tickets cost £3 and journey times are around the half-hour mark.

Taxis can be pre-ordered in advance or hailed at the airport. Journey times into the city centre are around 12 minutes. You can expect to pay in the region of £20 per journey. The regular car hire companies can be found at the terminal.

Alternatively, Bristol Airport is the region’s most well-connected airport, and coach operator South West Falcon offers connections (with 1 change) that take less than 2 hours. You can pay on the bus, but it’s cheaper to book in advance.

By train

Exeter St David’s is Exeter’s main station. It is on the London Paddington to Cornwall Line with journey time at about 3 hours. National services go up to Scotland and the north of England, depending on how far in advance you book. It may be cheaper (and quicker) to fly.

St David’s is 15 minutes’ walk into the city centre, but there is a smaller station in downtown. Exeter Central is a good spot if you’re planning to explore destinations around the region.

By bus

Exeter is served by National Express, Megabus and South West Falcon. Tickets can be extremely cheap, but travelling across the country can take a long time.


Getting around Exeter

On foot

Exeter’s city centre is small, so it is very easy to get around by walking. You will only really need to use other means of transport if you go further afield.

By bus

Exeter bus station is centrally located, and from here you can catch local and regional buses. Stagecoach South West offer the widest range of services. A weekly Megarider pass costs £14.50 and gets you anywhere on local Stagecoach services.

By taxi

There are taxi ranks situated around the city centre, but these can get busy on weekends. It may be easier to pre-book taxis in advance to avoid long waits. UBER is also good option and can be cheaper than local taxis.


Where to Stay in Exeter

For a list of some of the best hotels in Exeter, please visit our Gay Exeter Hotels page.


Things to See & Do

Exeter Cathedral – a fantastic example of gothic architecture that escaped Luftwaffe bombing in World War 2. The cathedral green is a great spot to relax and people watch in the summer, maybe with a picnic.

Underground Passages – you can do tours of the city’s medieval water system all through the year. Be warned that some sections of the tunnels can get quite narrow so these are not for the faint hearted.

Exeter Quay – a picturesque and bustling spot to while away a sunny afternoon or dine on an evening. Throughout the year, a wide range of events take place here including street markets and dragon boat races.

Gandy Street – this street is a treasure trove of quirky independent shops and boutiques. Perfect to get treats for yourself and souvenirs for friends and family. Author of the famous Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling apparently based Diagon Alley on this street.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) – A beautiful Victorian museum. The RAMM has a fascinating collection coverying everything from the history of Exeter, ancient civilisations and taxidermy (of varying quality). Closed on Mondays

The Double Locks Pub – situated a short journey from the City Centre, this traditional boozer by the canal is a fantastic location to spend a summers afternoon. Famous for it’s real ale selection and popular dog show.


When to Visit

Due to its geographic position, Exeter is prone to warm and dry summers and cool, wet winters. It does not get over-crowded with tourists, although the Christmas period and summer are slightly more bustling than other times of the year.

The city’s Pride festival has been held in May for the last few years, and there are other annual events including the South West Festival of Food & Drink in May, the retro-themed Let’s Rock Exeter in July and the Respect Festival in June.


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