After spending Easter with the family and doing a spot of grandparent duty enjoying the grandchildren, we felt the need for a change of scene.  We are a bit stuck in UK for now but making the most of the opportunities to explore.  We had never been to Exeter so we booked a few nights at the racecourse campsite.

Exeter Racecourse campsite
View across the heathland beyond the racecourse

On our first day we went in search of the park and ride into Exeter.  The nearest park and ride allows campervans but was very full.  However, we finally managed to obtain a space and headed into town for the afternoon.

As luck would have it, we were just in time for a free tour of the cathedral.  It is a stunning building with so much history.  It was started in 1114 and was remodelled in the Decorated Gothic style between 1270 and 1350. The vaulted ceiling is particularly impressive and it is the longest unsupported vaulted ceiling in the world.

Longest vaulted ceiling in the world

There are more than 400 bosses which act as locking stones for the vaulting.

Bosses on vaulted ceiling

There is an astronomical clock dating from 1484 which is still operational, and there is a hole in the bottom of the door below the clock which was cut sometime between 1598 and 1621 to provide access for the Bishops cat to deter rats and mice!

Astronomical clock

The organ is unusually placed in the centre between the nave and the choir.  There are further organ pipes along the West wall that provide the lowest notes.  The longest pipe is 36 ft tall.

There was so much of interest inside the cathedral but it is equally attractive on the outside and it can be seen from the modern shopping centre with a particularly fine view from Debenhams cafe.

Cathedral front
Cathedral Yard view
Seen from shopping centre

Next day we were earlier to town as we wanted to join a tour of the city.  There are a number of tours offered free by the Exeter Red Coat guides.  We spent 2 hours with our guide and gained a much better picture of the development of the city.  One of the oldest parks is Rougemont Gardens which are on the site of the castle, following the city wall.

Rougemont Gardens Introduction board
Castle built into city wall
Garden view

There was so much more information provided by the guide but too much for here.

Decorated wall in the back streets
Original entrance to the city

The last place on the tour was the Guildhall.  It is the oldest civic building in constant use in Europe.  The ceiling in the council chamber is very ornate.

Ceiling in council chamber

After the tour we went down to the quays for a wander.  There are some little individual craft shops which needed my attention.  I spent some money there and we also had coffee overlooking the river.  Quite a pleasant spot even on a rather dull day.

Exeter Quays

Altogether an interesting city.  There are a lot more places to visit in Exeter but they will have to wait until next time.

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