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Students at University of Exeter

Living in Exeter

Live in a historic city

Looking to study in city with a rich history, culture and beautiful scenery? Exeter is for you. It's in the heart of the West Country, a friendly and inviting part of England. Alongside its ancient landmarks, it still has a modern feel, thanks to a large student population. 

Exeter is a peaceful, scenic city, surrounded by stunning countryside and coastal views. There’s always plenty to do with good shopping, bars, restaurants, theatres and outdoor activities.

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What makes Exeter unique?

  • Voted the best UK city for quality of life (Arcadis Investigating Britain: Cities Built for the Future 2018).
  • A city with unique historical landmarks and Gothic architecture.
  • Great for outdoor sports as it's close to the countryside.
  • Diverse cultural events including live music, theatre and arts.
  • Easy access to Exmouth Beach, North Devon and Cornwall for surfing.
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Cost of living

After a few weeks of living in Exeter, you’ll begin to have a better understanding of what things cost. This is the ideal time to look at your finances and set your budget so you can keep track of your money.

The below figures are an estimated monthly budget for the main expenses you’ll have, excluding tuition and accommodation fees. The actual amounts you spend may vary but this is a useful guide.

  • Food – £170
  • Entertainment and social activities – £140
  • Travel (local) – £19
  • Clothes and toiletries – £60
  • Other expenses e.g. haircuts – £40

Food in Exeter

You’ll be spoilt for choice in Exeter, with a wide selection of restaurants, cafés and bars. You'll find the Exeter Street Food Market throughout the month in three locations across the city, as well as regular Farmers' Markets in and around Exeter where you can pick up local produce and seasonal fruit and vegetables.  

For a quick snack, there are delicatessens and cafés dotted throughout the city, as well as pubs and bistros serving delicious meals. Be sure to try some of the local specialities too, which include traditional cream teas with clotted cream, fudge and pasties.

You’ll easily find budget-friendly options in Exeter, thanks to its growing student population. In addition to well-known chain restaurants such as Las Iguanas, YO! Sushi and Wagamama, Exeter also has some independent cafés and restaurants to choose from.

Want a quick bite to eat? Head to Devon Coffee or Boston Tea Party which offer coffee, cakes and healthy options to satisfy hunger pangs. If you want something a bit more filling, Café Magdalen will provide you with a hearty all-day British breakfast.

Looking for vegetarian or vegan food? The Plant Café won’t disappoint. It offers a great range of vegan-friendly options, including tarts, soup, paninis, cake and cookies.

The Old Fire House pub is a great spot for pizza, and it also has vegetarian and vegan options on the menu each week. If you want to sample a classic Devonshire tea, the Hidden Treasure Tea Room is the perfect place to give you a taste of life in Victorian Britain.

Living on campus at the University of Exeter

Shopping in Exeter

The main shopping areas in Exeter are:

  • Princesshay Shopping Centre - where you'll find all the well-known mainstream brands and restaurants.
  • The West Quarter – a fashionable area with some of Exeter’s most distinctive and unique shops.
  • Gandy Street – a quirky cobblestone street with independent stores and boutique shops.
  • Cathedral Quarter – a selection of designer and independent stores.

Travel in and around in Exeter

The city centre is reasonably compact, to travelling around Exeter is easy. You’ll find walking or cycling is often the best way to get around. The university is a 15-minute walk from the city centre. 

Buses run regularly, with good routes between the university campus and the city. A weekly ticket is available which will give you unlimited bus travel around the city. For travel further afield, there are great rail links and the airport is around 25 minutes away.

A daily bus ticket will cost you between £1 and £4, and train tickets are from £4.20. As a student, you can benefit from a Unirider annual bus pass for £220, giving you unlimited bus travel in Exeter. A flight to London takes about three hours and prices start from around £35.

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Exeter's main attractions

Exeter is full of fun things to do, beautiful landmarks and amazing places to visit. Among them, you will find:

  • Exeter Cathedral
  • Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre
  • Medieval underground passageways
  • Historic quayside

Festivals and events

Exeter is home to some unique festivals and events, including:

  • Exeter Castle Oktoberfest – a world-renowned German beer festival hosted in Exeter.
  • Lost Weekend – a 3-day festival of interactive media, music, art, great ideas and forward-thinking technology.
  • Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink – an annual festival celebrating Exeter’s rich food culture with local produce and the region’s best chefs.
  • Exeter Beats – a 3-day festival packed full of live music and street food.

Nightlife in Exeter

Exeter offers a selection of pubs, bars and clubs in the city centre, not far from campus. Choices include The Cavern, The Monkey Suit, The Old Firehouse, Timepiece and Unit 1.

On Saturdays, the campus club – The Lemon Grove – puts on a fun student night, and The Imperial is a popular pub located just off the Streatham Campus.

Employability in Exeter

Exeter may be a smaller city but it’s home to many employers, including the Met Office, EDF Energy, FlyBe, BT and NHS Devon.