Have you ever considered travelling to Exeter with kids? There are so many wonderful opportunities and places to explore in this city. Whether you are a family who enjoys the busy city’s hustle and bustle of the countryside’s tranquillity, there are so many things to do in Exeter.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
Is Exeter Good for Families?
Exeter is an excellent location in Western Europe to create family memories, whether you enjoy spending time at the beach or in the bustling city centre.
There is something for everything when you visit this city, with so many different fun things to do in Exeter, so it is perfect when you are looking for a location when explore the UK with kids.
How to Get to Exeter, UK
If you travel to Exeter internationally, you can arrive by plane using Exeter’s international airport. Then a bus runs to the city centre so you can travel directly from the airport in half an hour. Compare flights to Exeter here >>>
You can also get to Exeter via train from various stations around the country; London, in particular, has a frequent service to the Exeter stations. There are two stations available for your journey to Exeter Central and Exeter St Davids. Get your train tickets to Exeter here >>>
Exeter is easily accessible by bus if you travel from another area in the south of England, or if you are travelling from further afield, the National Express coaches also stop at the Exeter bus station. Compare car hire prices and availability for your dates here >>>
Whether you own your own or rent one, you can travel to Exeter, Devon, by car. It is easy to get to the city via the motorway.
Top 10 Things to do in Exeter with Kids: Family Attractions and More
If you are wondering what to do in Exeter with kids, there are many attractions you can visit, but below are ten ideas of what to do in Exeter with kids.
#1 Northernhay Gardens
If you are looking for a location to take a picnic with plenty of historical significance, then this is the location for you. There are aspects of the park that date back to Saxon England. In fact, Northernhay Gardens is the only place in England where you can see a Saxon town wall.
#2 Crealy Theme Park
Crealy Theme Park is a great location to spend the day as a family. It is an award-winning theme park with over 60 rides and indoor play areas for your kid’s entertainment if it starts to rain. As well as being home to rides, Crealy houses several different animals allowing visitors to learn more about them, making it a great Exeter kids day out.
#3 Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle is a gorgeous location that you could spend a whole day exploring. Whether you are strolling around in the beautiful grounds, taking part in the deer park safari or part of a tour group exploring the castle itself, there is always something to be doing or seeing at this attraction. Your kids will love to explore the historical halls and run around the large gardens while you soak up the atmosphere.
#4 Quay Climbing Centre
If your kids love to climb and be active, and you’re looking for indoor activities in Exeter, the Quay Climbing Centre is the perfect activity to let them burn excess energy. It is located on Exeter Quayside, so it is easily located when you are exploring.
You will need to fill out some forms for yourself and your children before being allowed to climb so that you are aware of the safety features in place, but there is plenty of supervision, so there’s no need to worry.
#5 Visit the Royal Albert Memorial Museum
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, or RAMM as it’s known, was established in the 1860s. It is now the home of many fascinating exhibits that will appeal to all ages. There are fun activities to engage your kids in, such as a special version of Minecraft and create your own mosaic.
#6 Exeter Quayside
A short walk from Exeter city centre is the historic Exeter Quayside, a popular location with tourists and locals alike. Brimming with different activities and restaurants that are enjoyable for all, including the Quay Climbing Centre. It is also the location of several different events depending on the time of the year, such as live music performances.
#7 Northcott Theatre
Do you enjoy watching plays and soaking up the ambience of live performances? If so, Northcott Theatre should be added to your must-do list when visiting Exeter, especially in the winter. Exeter Northcott Theatre is located on the university campus but is open to everyone. This is the perfect location for some entertainment in Exeter.
#8 Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral is a beautiful historic location in Exeter. You can join guided tours to explore the cathedral to ensure that you don’t miss anything, or you can wander around at your own pace if you prefer. Exeter Cathedral also offers many family-friendly activities and hosts many events throughout the year, so it’s best to check what is available during your visit.
#9 Underground Passages
The Medieval Underground passages were created to bring clean drinking water into the city but are incredibly interesting to explore by guided tour. These guided tours have been running through the well-lit passages since the 1930s for visitors five and over.
#10 St Nicholas Priory
St Nicholas Priory was a monastery for over 500 years before it was closed because Henry VIII dissolved all such sites when the buildings were pulled down. It is now used for themed event days. For example, an upcoming one is a Tudor day, and rooms are set up for visitors to explore the past themselves. It is a great place to visit with kids for a fun and educational trip.
Where to Stay in Exeter with Kids
There are a large variety of places you can stay in Exeter with kids. The accommodation in Exeter that you choose largely depends on the level of privacy you prefer and the activities you are focusing on during your visit. Below are three options for different budgets.
Budget: Holiday Inn Express Exeter
Holiday Inn Express is located close to the international airport and has easy access to the route to Dartmoor if you are looking to spend a lot of time there. The cost of the room includes breakfast, and if you request one, a cot can be provided for younger children.
Mid-Range: Quayside House
Quayside House is a home that you can book for your family’s stay that is self-catering and a superb location for visiting Exeter Cathedral.
It has three bedrooms, so there is no need to share a room with your children and a patio for you to relax in privately after a long day exploring. There are no cots available for younger children, but if you have a car with you, there is free parking available at this location.
Splashing Out: Entire House with Stunning Gardens and Pool
If you are looking for somewhere that is like a home away from home, then this stunning property is available for you to book for your family.
While it is a little further out from the city centre (5 miles from Exeter St David train station), this accommodation is suitable for a family who likes to have space to blow off some steam in the evenings and not have to worry about the noise levels constantly. Unfortunately, it does not have cots available for younger children.
Where to Eat in Exeter with Kids
Devonshire Clotted Cream is a must-try while you are in Exeter. You can have it on ice cream, scones, or tea. Most places will offer this as an option when you are looking at the menu.
There are also a lot of creameries in Devon, so make sure to try as much Devon ice cream as you can.
The Daisy Café: If you are looking for locally sourced and delicious home-cooked food, this is the café for you. They have won café of the year twice, the most recent in 2020.
Red Panda: Within walking distance of the Royal Albert, Memorial Museum is the Red Panda restaurant. They serve healthier Asian cuisine with their own sauces and condiments, and each meal has three salads with it.
Hub Box Exeter: Hub Box specialises in burgers from local, sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients. It even has a special kid’s menu with several different options for your kids to choose from.
Herbies: Herbies is a family-run restaurant in the heart of Exeter city since 1990. It has both a sit-in and a takeaway menu, so you can choose whether to eat out or simply order food to take home with you after a long day.
How to Spend 2 Days in Exeter with Children
There’s no shortage of places to visit in Exeter or things to see in Exeter, so below is a suggestion on how they spend two days in Exeter, Devon.
One Day in Exeter
Morning: You can spend the morning at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, exploring the different exhibits and possibly taking part in some of the events there. Then you can head to Red Panda for lunch afterwards.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, head to Exeter Quayside, where you can walk around this historic site, heading to Quay Climbing Centre so your kids can expend some excess energy. This will be enjoyable even on a rainy day.
2 Days in Exeter
Morning: On the second morning of your visit, traverse the underground passages of Exeter, exploring the tunnels once used to move water to the city.
Afternoon: Once you have eaten lunch, head over to Exeter Cathedral to view the stunning architecture and go on a tour around the historic building. Afterwards, you can watch a film at the Odeon, Exeter, as a way to relax after a day on your feet.
Days Out Near Exeter
Exeter is not the only location with enjoyable attractions for the whole family. If you are looking for something memorable further afield, there are plenty of things to do near Exeter that allow you to enjoy the outdoors.
The Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast is a scenic piece of land stretching between Orcombe Point (Exmouth, Devon) to Old Harry Rocks (Swanage, Dorset). It is the perfect place for walking, dog-friendly beaches and fossil collecting.
You can travel around the Jurassic Coast by different methods, such as train, bus and car. It is best to look into which will be able to get you to your attraction easiest before you set out.
Day Trip to Becky Falls
Becky Falls is a picturesque location perfect for a family day out, no matter the weather. It is home to a waterfall that has been there for over 12000 years, standing at 70 feet high. There are lots of adventures to keep your little ones entertained, such as an animal petting zone and a nature challenge.
The easiest way to reach Becky Falls is by car. It is roughly half an hour from Exeter and is easily found using the brown tourist signs.
Dartmoor National Park
There are many different activities available at Dartmoor National Park, whether you are looking for a walk and enjoying the wildlife or something a little bit more adventurous like horse riding.
A forty-minute car journey from Exeter easily reaches Dartmoor National Park.
Plan Your Trip to Exeter with Children
The best seaside towns near Exeter are Dawlish or Dawlish Warren, Torquay, Exmouth and Sidmouth.
Trains from Exeter go to London (Paddington and Waterloo), Cornwall (Penzance), North Devon (Barnstaple), South Devon (Paignton and Oakhampton) and Leeds, to name a few stations.
Discover More of the UK with Kids
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.