Five fascinating historical landmarks to visit in Exeter
- Credit: Archant
Heading to Exeter but unsure of the best places to discover the city’s incredible history? HOLLY HUDSON gives us her top five
Exeter has a long and illustrious history. There’s evidence of human inhabitants in the area dating back thousands of years, and over the years Exeter developed into an important military outpost for the Romans and Normans, both of whom used it to control the surrounding areas.
If you want to get a flavour for Exeter’s incredible past be sure to visit these historical sites, all within easy walking distance of local hotels, B&Bs and public transport.
• City Wall
The remnants of Exeter’s city walls date back to Roman times. The Romans founded an outpost and fort for their legion in Exeter (then called Isca Dumnoniorum) in the first century and quickly built a defensive wall.
The wall was built on several times in the following centuries and you can easily find portions of it encircling the city centre.
• Rougemont Castle And Gardens
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Situated right in the middle of the city centre, Rougemont Castle and its surrounding gardens take you back to Norman times. The castle was built by William The Conqueror and was the site of a dramatic siege in 1136. Be sure to take some time to explore the gardens, which are often home to events throughout the year.
• The Cathedral
The city’s most iconic landmark is the beautiful cathedral which is nestled right in the city centre, making it easy to get to.
Its official foundation was in 1133 but the building as it stands was complete in 1400 after several rebuilds and additions. With a beautiful vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows and impressive architectural appointments a visit to the cathedral is a must.
• Exe Bridge Ruins
Back before the medieval period, the River Exe was wider than now and tidal, so it was crossed by a ford at low tide and several rickety wooden bridges. These bridges were often poorly constructed and were often washed away by flood waters that hit the area regularly.
In the 13th century the first stone bridge was constructed by Nicholas and Walter Gervaise. The ruins of this bridge can be walked upon and the tower of St. Edmund’s church is still standing.
• St. Nicholas Priory
This beautifully Tudor house was once part of a priory and is more than 900 years old. In Elizabethan times it was home to a wealthy merchant family, and is currently presented as such.
Inside you can see original Tudor artefacts from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s extensive collection. The priory also puts on living history events to give you an insight into Tudor life.
If you’re a history fanatic a trip to Exeter is sure to delight you. With so many sites in easy walking distance it’s possible to visit multiple locations in just a short visit.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay so you can explore the city further, why not visit Event Exeter to find the perfect B&B?