Exeter is one of the UK’s most famous cities and the crown jewel of the South West. With its rich history, outstanding educational institutions, and vibrant culture, Exeter is fast becoming a highly sought-after destination for those looking for a new place to call home. But is Exeter a nice place to live?
Located in Devon in the South West of England, Exeter is one of the country’s oldest cities. Like nearby Bath, Exeter dates back over two thousand years to the Roman era, with its ancient walls surrounding the city centre. The city is steeped in history, with its imposing Gothic cathedral, underground passages, and idyllic quayside.
Exeter proudly marries the old and the new. The city’s bustling shopping districts and eateries cater to thousands of locals and visitors every month, while The University of Exeter has been among the best-performing universities in the country for decades. Exeter has a unique culture, with two great sporting teams in football’s Exeter City and recent European rugby union champions, Exeter Chiefs, calling the city home.
This article covers everything you need to know about living in Exeter, the pros and cons, and the various cultural highlights of the city. Let’s take a closer look at Exeter and see if it’s a nice place to call home!
Our experience of Exeter. The pros and cons of living in the city.
Exeter has become a highly sought-after location for affluent commuters to settle down into family life with its fantastic schools and relaxed, idyllic lifestyle. As such, house prices have risen over the past decade with the average price for a house in Exeter now costing buyers £346,036.
This is not to say that there are no affordable houses to buy or rent in Exeter. Far from it. With many areas of Exeter developing at a rapid rate, there are some bargains on the market if you know where to look.
But what are the pros of living in Exeter? That’s the reason why people would part with their hard-earned cash to move to the city, after all. Well, thankfully, there are many pros to living in this one-of-a-kind city. Chief among these (pardon the pun, rugby fans) is the city’s outstanding architectural beauty.
Exeter has some truly eye-catching landmarks, from its beautiful Cathedral and surrounding period buildings to its cobbled West Quarter and charming quayside. The city also has some of the best schools in the country, while its University is everpresent among the UK’s leading universities for research and academic prowess.
There are very few downsides to living in Exeter, but for those on a tight budget, it can be an expensive place to live, while its location in the heart of Devon means it can be a lengthy trip for commuters to London.
Exeter’s different areas
Exeter is a sprawling city with an estimated 132,000 people now living there, continuing to grow by over 1% each year. Exeter’s beauty isn’t just confined to its ancient centre, as its quiet suburban neighbourhoods are attracting more and more people to settle in the city and start a new life in Devon.
Some of the best areas to consider in Exeter when thinking about moving to the city are:
- St Leonard’s: St Leonard’s has fast become one of the most popular places to live in Exeter. The neighbourhood has a quiet, relaxed, and friendly feel to it. Moving here, you’ll instantly get to know members of a tight-knit and welcoming community that has a distinct village atmosphere despite being in the heart of the city.
- Heavitree: Heavitree has gone through a huge amount of development over the years turning it into one of the most attractive places to live in Exeter for young families. With its schools, shops, cafés and hospitable locals, Heavitree is also one of the most affordable places to live in Exeter.
- Topsham: With its transport links to the M5 and railway station, Topsham is the perfect place for commuters to live within touching distance of the city. The area lies on the estuary of the River Exe and has some remarkably beautiful properties on the market.
- Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania is the home of Exeter’s university grounds and has a quiet, tranquil feel to it. It also has superb access to the city centre and mainline railway station.
- Quayside: Exeter’s famous quay is one of the most sought-after destinations for would-be homeowners. The quayside boasts a fantastic array of restaurants and cafés, while it is perfectly located for a short walk to the city centre.
Pros of living in Exeter
Exeter has some of the best restaurants, cafés, and eateries in the southwest. From its charming gastro-pubs to its hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, and cosy eateries, you’re never short of great places to eat in Exeter. For coffee and cake lovers, check out Boston Tea Party on Queen Street, or for those with a penchant for fine dining, run don’t walk to The restaurant at The Salutation Hotel.
Exeter is an ancient city, and despite being heavily bombed during The Second World War, many of its historical landmarks are still intact and ready to explore. The city’s Gothic cathedral attracts tourists all year round and hosts tours throughout the year. The Underground Passages are also a must-visit for history buffs, while the The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is the perfect place to learn about Exeter’s rich history and guarantee kids a fun-filled and educational experience like no other.
Charming green spaces
Exeter has some charming and expansive green spaces to stretch your legs and enjoy a peaceful break during the warmer months. Bury Meadow Park and Northernhay Gardens are both tranquil retreats from the hustle and bustle of the bustle shopping district of Exeter city centre, while Princes Gardens and Belmont Park are popular amongst locals and families looking for a relaxing walk with family and friends.
Exeter is great for families looking to send their children to school. With some of the best private and state education in the country, the city has been attracting families to settle down in the heart of Devon. Exeter is also home to The University of Exeter, a Russel Group institution, and one of the leading universities in the country for research and academic prowess. The university is also home to one of the best cinema museums in the country, The Bill Douglas Museum, home to some priceless cinematic memorabilia.
Exeter is home to two of the most renowned and celebrated sports teams in the country. Exeter City Football Club, or the Grecians as they are known to their supporters, have been an eccentric addition to the football league since the team was founded in 1901. The club famously placed a controversial statue of singer Michael Jackson outside its ground, while the team’s fortunes on the pitch are equally as unpredictable. While Exeter City FC currently play in League One, the city’s Rugby Union team is a fearsome prospect. Recently crowned European and English league champions, The Exeter Chiefs are one of the best teams in Europe and play out of the raucous home ground atmosphere of Sandy Park.
Exeter has so much to offer to anyone thinking about moving to this historic city. Let us know if you live in Exeter and what you think about the area in the comments.