The historic city of Exeter is an excellent spot for a UK staycation, whether you’re just spending a weekend there or are enjoying your summer holidays in the city and at its nearby beaches. Exeter isn’t a big city, but it’s packed full of fun things to do, and there are a few neighbourhoods that are worth knowing about.
This guide on the best places to stay in Exeter will help you with your hotel selection process. Whether you’re looking for romantic accommodation in Exeter or where to stay in Exeter with kids, this guide will show you the best budget, mid-range and luxury hotels, hostels and apartments.
Top Hotels in Exeter
If you don’t want to read the full article, just click on these links to read more about each hotel.
- Budget Hotel: White Hart Exeter
- Mid Range Hotel: Headweir Mill House Hotel
- Luxury Hotel: Southernhay House Hotel
- Apartments: Regal House
Where to stay in Exeter
- Where to stay in Exeter with kids: Central Exeter
- Where to stay in Exeter for nightlife: Quayside or Pennsylvania
- Most romantic place to stay in Exeter: Topsham
- Where to stay in Exeter for nature: Topsham, Exmouth or Dawlish Warren
- Where to stay in Exeter for culture: Central Exeter
Places to Stay in Exeter
Central Exeter comprises the Cathedral area, as well as the museum and shopping district. It’s the best of all the places to stay in Exeter if you want to be a part of the action and is also a good place to stay in Exeter with kids, as travel time will be minimal. If you’re staying in Exeter for shopping or nightlife, this central area is probably your best shout!
Things to do in Central Exeter
- Exeter Cathedral, one of the best cathedrals in the
- Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter’s most comprehensive museum
- Some Red Coat Tours start from here
- Exeter’s shopping, including the independent lanes Gandy Street and Fore Street
- Parliament Street – the narrowest road in the country and maybe the world!
- Exeter’s Roman Wall
Where to eat in Central Exeter
- Tea on the Green sells delicious open sandwiches and steaming hot mugs of tea
- The Terrace has a great brunch, lunch and dinner menu and fab cocktails!
Where to stay in Central Exeter
The City Gate is a boutique hotel with beautifully detailed bedrooms. You’ll get to enjoy artwork, stylish bathtubs, and plush cushions. There is a bar and restaurant on site, and you can choose from a double or twin room. Click here for rates and to reserve your spot.
Southernhay House Hotel
Southernhay House Hotel is a Grade II listed hotel, with boutique-style luxurious rooms. Also on site is a cocktail bar, private garden and a club room. Some rooms have roll-top baths in their en-suite, and others have kitchenettes. Click here for rates and to book.
Exeter’s Quayside is a beautiful part of the city. Home to some of the city’s attractions – and oodles of its complex history, it’s now a rejuvenated place with lots of bars and restaurants. It’s only a 10 minute walk from here to central Exeter too, so it’s in a great location.
I’d recommend staying in Quayside if you’re wanting somewhere to enjoy nature, but also somewhere where you can enjoy a drink and dinner! It’s a great place for groups or couples.
Things to do by the Quayside
- The historic custom house
- Dine at one of the many restaurants
- Enjoy the scenery – and perhaps hike to Topsham!
- Some Red Coat Tours also leave from here
Where to eat at the Quayside
- On the Waterfront for burgers and pizzas
- The Prospect for pub food
Where to stay at the Quayside
White Hart Exeter
This is a great budget place to stay in Exeter. A traditional British pub with en-suite homely rooms, The White Hart is conveniently placed in the centre of the city. There is free parking, and the pub has a friendly atmosphere with delicious food. Click here for rates and to book your dates!
Hotel Du Vin
This grand hotel has a year-round outdoor pool, and huge luxurious rooms. All are en-suite and have a monsoon shower, with a bath in some. On site, there is a library stocked with 750+ books, as well as a spa and bar. Click here for more information.
Headweir Mill House Hotel
This is a little way from the quay, but still by the river, so I thought I’d include it in this section. It’s a 200 year old mill house that has been recently converted into a hotel, so it’s got plenty of character! The rooms are all boutique-decorated and have plenty of mod cons, so you’ll be able to enjoy a slice of luxury here too. Click here for more information.
Hotels Near Exeter St Davids
This area is very near Exeter St David’s railway station, so it’s ideal for anyone going into town by rail! There are a few bars, pubs and restaurants nearby, but it’s also really close to walk to the city.
Where to eat near Exeter St Davids
- The Imperial
- @ thirty four
Where to stay near Exeter St Davids
Oakcliffe Hotel is a small family-run B&B, with individually decorated rooms kitted out with all you need for a comfortable stay. Vegetarian, continental and full English options are available for breakfast. Click here for rates and more information.
Townhouse Exeter is another lovely historic property. It is Grade II listed, with en-suite bedrooms and fast WiFi throughout. It’s a very charismatic place, in great location between Exeter St Davids Railway Station and the centre. See here for more information.
Topsham is just 4 miles down the River Exe. It’s a very small town, but there is a small museum and walking trails (you can walk all the way down to Exmouth if you desire!). There are a few places to eat in Topsham and the neighbouring village of Exton.
Topsham is a little while away from central Exeter (an hour’s walk or X drive), so it’s recommended to stay here if you’re on a longer visit to Devon (not if you’re trying to see all of Exeter’s highlights in a day or two!) or have been to Exeter before.
It’s definitely the best place to stay in Exeter for nature, and is a great base if you like birdwatching!
Things to do in Topsham
- The Topsham Museum
- The Exe Estuary Walking Trail – see my full guide here.
- Birdwatching over the estuary
Places to eat in Topsham
- L’estuarie, a Mediterranean restaurant
- The Globe, which serves hearty pub food
- Bridge Inn, another great country pub
Where to stay in Topsham
The Globe is a 16th century coaching inn with beautifully decorated, perfectly clean rooms. All rooms are en-suite, and have a flat screen TV and super comfortable beds. Downstairs, the bar is welcoming and serves up tasty meals and drinks. Click here to book!
Route 2 Apartments
Route 2 Steam Packet Apartments provides self-catering accommodation, perfect for groups of people who want to have their own living space. The apartments have open plan kitchens and dining areas, a flat screen TV and lovely bathrooms. Click here to read more and to reserve your spot.
Pennsylvania is a studenty area, being in close proximity to Exeter University. It’s a great place to stay if you want somewhere with local vibes, especially if you are student age yourself! The area was named after the US state in the 1820s, by a Quaker banker with the name of Joseph Sparkes.
There are a few things to do in Pennsylvania itself, and it’s a short walk from the city centre. There are lots of bars and pubs in the area, although these do all have a very studenty vibe.
Things to do in Pennsylvania
- Duryard, an ancient deer park
- Bill Douglas Cinema Museum
Where to eat in Pennsylvania
- The Victoria Inn
- The Ram Bar
Where to stay in Pennsylvania Exeter
The Raffles is a cosy guesthouse with homely rooms, a shared lounge, and a garden. All rooms have their own bathroom, and breakfast is available for all guests. Click here for more information.
Regal House is a lovely boutique holiday home. It has 2 double bedrooms and 1 bathroom with a bath or shower. There is also a TV, and a seating area within the holiday home. Click here to read more.
Where to stay near Exeter
Exmouth is a beach town about 12 miles from the city, and is one of the best spaces to stay near Exeter. Why? It’s the biggest nearby settlement, and it’s got a gorgeous beachfront – it sits where the Jurassic Coast and Exe Estuary meet, so there’s tonnes of diverse scenery here.
It’s also got accessible moorland, and from Exmouth it’s easy to see the rest of East Devon. You could hike to Budleigh Salterton across the cliffs or through the moors to East Budleigh or Otterton, or get in your car and see the western end of the Jurassic Coast, with towns like Sidmouth and Beer close by.
Exmouth is a great destination for a one or two week long break, so if you are planning on spending longer in the Exeter region, you might just want to base here and travel into Exeter on one or two days to see the sights. It’s around a 25 minute drive, or you can take a train (about half an hour) or bus (45 minutes to an hour).
Things to do in Exmouth
- Enjoy the beachfront
- Take to the water on a stand up paddleboard
- Explore the end of the Exe Estuary and pop into nearby Lympstone
- Hike on the Jurassic Coast’s western cliffs, maybe as far as Budleigh Salterton. Here’s a moorland and coastal hike that I loved!
- Go hiking through the moorland
- See the quaint village of East Budleigh
- Explore Otterton and its historic mill (and try to find beavers in the River Otter!)
- Go to the Exmouth Museum to learn about the town
- You can read my full things to do in Exmouth guide for more information!
Places to eat in Exmouth
- Krispies, award winning fish and chips. Try their double battered chips – they’re not a healthy dinner, but they are SO good.
Where to stay in Exmouth
TLC Exmouth Bed and Breakfast
TLC Exmouth Bed and Breakfast has cosy rooms with a private bathroom and seating area. Breakfast is served each morning – English/ Irish breakfast, continental, vegan and gluten free options are all offered. Click here for more information.
The Dolphin Hotel
The Dolphin Hotel is located right in the heart of Exmouth, close to the seafront. It has some on-site parking and free WiFi in public areas. All rooms are en-suite and have tea and coffee making facilities. There is also a fresh breakfast served each day! Click here to read more.
The Devoncourt Resort
Just a 15 minute walk from the town is the Devoncourt Resort. With modern rooms with flat screen TVs, tea and coffee facilities, and private bathrooms, it’s one of the best places to stay in Exmouth. There is an indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, sauna and hot tub on site. Click here for more information.
Dawlish Warren is a small beach village. It does have a few places to stay, as the village is very much focused on holidays and the summer season. It sits on the other side of the estuary from Exmouth (a boat connects Exmouth with Starcross, which is nearby).
Like Exmouth, I would recommend staying in Dawlish Warren if you are having a longer Devon trip and you want to spend more time by the coast, just travelling into Exeter for sightseeing.
Dawlish Warren is a good place to stay if you want somewhere beachy, but don’t want to stay in a town like Exmouth. In my opinion there is more to do in Exmouth – the Juarrasic Coast does it for me – but Dawlish Warren is beautiful too!
Where to stay in Dawlish Warren
Dawlish Warren Holidays
Dawlish Warren Holidays is home to self-contained 2 bedroom chalets. At the holiday park, there are indoor swimming pools, a bar, a restaurant and some evening entertainment. The chalets have free WiFi and living, kitchen, and dining areas. Click here to read more and to reserve.
Lammas Park House
Lammas Park House is a cosy hotel close to Dawlish Warren seafront. This award-winning hotel has seafront rooms, and is in a great location to enjoy this side of the Exe Estuary. Rooms include en-suites, as well as flat-screen TVs and tea and coffee facilities. Click here for more information.
Places to stay near Exeter!
Hopefully this guide of where to stay in Exeter has helped you plan a bit more of your trip there! For more information, check out my weekend in Exeter guide.