Exmouth had always been on my radar. My family are originally from the West Country, and my gran lived in Exmouth my entire life. I had plenty of childhood memories of piling in the car, driving down the M3, craning our necks for a view of Stonehenge on the A303, and negotiating winding country roads to reach here.
When I was a student at university in Bristol, I drove or took the train frequently to visit my gran, enjoying a bit of jogging along the South West Coast Path but otherwise not seeing much more of the town.
Over the years, I gradually started spending more time in Exmouth, ultimately living in my granny’s house for a little while. And only then, after I’d travelled the globe and spent time on exotic beaches from Thailand to Mexico, did I realise what a wonderful place Exmouth truly is.
Ultimately, this led to my partner and I purchasing our first home in the town and was a big part in the creation of this entire website!
Here are seven of the best reasons to love Exmouth.
It’s the start of the Jurassic Coast
Not many medium-sized towns can brag about being at the start (or end, depending on which way you’re going!) of a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, the Jurassic Coast, which spans East Devon and Dorset, is England’s only one!
Walk to the eastern end of Exmouth beach, and you can’t miss the towering red cliffs – at the top of these is Orcombe Point, the official start of one of the UK’s greatest landmarks. This is the oldest part of the Jurassic Coast, dating back a whopping 250 million years.
And going for a walk along this phenomenal part of our natural history is an everyday occurrence in Exmouth!
And it’s also the end of the Exe Estuary
The Exe Estuary isn’t quite as phenomenal as the Jurassic Coast, but it’s still worth raving about. Exmouth enjoys both ocean and river landscape, and you can follow a trail from the beach, up to the mouth of the Exe and ultimately end up walking along the estuary.
From here, look over to the popular seaside town of Dawlish Warren, the village of Starcross and Powderham Castle – where the Earl of Devon still resides to this day.
You can walk all the way up to Topsham on the same path, and then follow a few shorter paths to reach Exeter Quay, or just tackle the first section to Lympstone and take a train or bus back.
Alternatively, one of my favourite spots around Exmouth is just by the leisure centre at sunset. The sun turns skies pinks, oranges and reds as it descends below the hills on the other side of the estuary, and you can often make out silhouettes of boats, windsurfers and stand up paddleboarders.
Plus, it has copious moorland
Had enough of water-based views? You don’t need to go far to find drier views in Exmouth. Head up to the Bystock Pools and carry on walking from there – you’ll end up in Woodbury Common, a charming yet enigmatic moorland. From one side, you can take in views of the coast in the distance, but in front of you, you’ll just see the moor.
Eventually you’ll reach Woodbury Castle. Don’t expect a well kept buidling – it’s an iron age fort which is more or less just a mound – but the fact that it’s remained in such great condition for all these years is pretty phenomenal.
If you want moor (awful pun, apologies), parts of Dartmoor are only around 45 minutes from Exmouth.
It boasts an up-and-coming dining and bar scene
Back in the centre of town, Exmouth’s dining scene is slowly becoming something to shout about. Gone are the days when dining in British seaside towns meant nothing more than a couple of fish and chip shops (although Exmouth has some incredible ones, more on those in a minute!).
In Exmouth town centre, you’ll find Spoken which serves delicious tapas and incredible cocktails, Vino 32 with some of the best Malaysian food I’ve eaten outside of Asia, Sundowners which offers tasty wraps and The Palm, a classy cocktail bar. Seafront eateries can be a little more touristy and pricey, but we love The Grove which has gorgeous views and drinks at The Point.
But doesn’t forget the classics
Of course, sometimes when you’re at the beach, you just want fish and chips, and Exmouth certainly delivers when it comes to that.
Krispies and Proper Fish and Chips are usually the most popular, and I’ll be honest, I can’t decide which I like better. Krispies serves battered chips, which are just as decadent as they sound and was awarded the best in the UK in 2019, but Proper has a great varied menu.
(I don’t actually eat fish, so I’m not a very good judge, but I’d also add that if either chippy started offering a vegetarian fish alternative, that would sway me one way or the other!).
It has a two-mile-long accessible beach
Exmouth Beach is one of the longest in the area, spanning over two miles. The first part is the estuary, but it quickly turns a corner into the open sea, which is a favourite spot for swimming in the summer.
As it’s such a long stretch, you’re guaranteed to find a spot even on the busiest days, either with views over the estuary or toward the red rock. Lifeguards are present on the beach in the summer months, and you can rent out paddleboards or other watersports gear right from the beach.
It’s in a great location
Growing up in London suburbia, I was always in a great location to visit other locations (Central London, France, the Kent countryside), but my actual surroundings didn’t have much going for them – which has made me adverse to describing proximity to other locations as a benefit of being somewhere!
But hopefully, I’ve shown you how much Exmouth does have going for it, so this last point is just a little extra.
While towns like St Ives and Falmouth in Cornwall may be idyllic, they’re a nightmare to reach. My family are scattered all over the country, and driving six hours every time I visit them isn’t something I wanted to do.
While Exmouth is far from some locations, it’s actually very well connected. Regular trains run alongside the estuary for Exeter, where there are several connections a day to London (two hours ten minutes) or Bristol (around an hour) and some links further afield.
Driving wise, Exmouth is near the end of both the M5 and the A303, which connects to the M3 and then the M25 for London.
Granted, there are definitely better-connected places in the country, but where else do you get similar transport links, UNESCO nature, and a fun seaside atmosphere all rolled into one town?
There’s so much to love in beautiful Exmouth. If you live here too, I hope you’ve been nodding your head in agreement along with this post! If you are thinking of visiting, check out my Exmouth travel guides to get planning.