Written by Alexi Surtees
I will put it out there fast: I am a complete and utter sucker for bucket lists and hereby pledge my belief in the ‘dare to dream, dare to do,’ approach to life. In curating an Exeter bucket list that would entice readers to uncover some of Exeter’s lesser-known places, I found myself wishing to avoid the obvious. As tempting as it sounds to ‘dare to bare,’ no pun intended on my previous motto, SSB fails to make the cut for this, dare we say it, edgy and alternative Exeter Bucket List.
For most activities, I would recommend partners in crime. However, many of the endeavours may be undertaken alone and should be just as enjoyable.
1. The Exploding Bakery is an absolutely gem. Conveniently located right next to Exeter Central Station, yet away from Exeter’s main hustle and bustle, I cannot more strongly recommend stealing away a few hours on the quaint white benches of this down to earth, creative, and wholesome establishment. I am personally a fan of their hot ginger and honey infusion and the focaccia and soda bread are both dream worthy.
2. The Rusty Bike; if you and your friends are feeling playful, gander down Howell Road to enjoy an evening of games. Even though monopoly is rarely finished, and the drink prices are a fraction steeper than its counterparts, the ambiance is fun, and sitting on long wooden benches brings back memories of primary school in the best of ways. On a more lucrative budget, dinner is also highly recommended. Especially if out of town visitors are down for the day. Going for a 1st this year? The Rusty Bike is a well-established hangout for Lecturers and Tutors…
3. Night skinny dipping in Dawlish; in short skinny-dipping of some variety has to be done at least once in your life. Dawlish provides a particularly exciting backdrop and a little more privacy than the Quayside. A car is required for this activity, as are warm clothes. There is a beautiful cliff face that juts out, from which I recommend watching the sunset prior to your strip down. Maybe this is one for a couple of month’s time…
4. The Hourglass Inn; in close proximity to the Quay, this unique pub-come- restaurant is one to be reckoned with. The cosy interior is adorned in bramble and trinkets and their montage of collected credit cards above the bar is quite the masterpiece. It is easy to get lost in conversation and wine and you suddenly feel quite far from Exeter. The food is articulated and fresh, although again warranting of a more generous budget. The out of date Trivial Pursuit is also a laugh.
5. Watching the Sunrise in Topsham; find the morning person in you and venture to Topsham equipped with a thermos of tea or coffee, some warm porridge and a blanket to enjoy the breaking of a new day in this dreamy town just a few miles down the River Exe. Transport by car is favoured, but bike or train are also viable. Other top-notch sunrise spots include the top of Pennsylvania Road and the top floor of the library has breath-taking views, if you are lucky enough to find yourself there in the early hours. A more recent addition is the top of John Lewis, if you can get past the security guards, and the Bobbi Brown stand!
6. The Turf Pub; opposite the village of Topsham this is best visited on a perfect blue-sky day. If temperatures permit I suggest sharing a jug of Sangria on the outside tables soaking in the distant view of Powderham Castle and the expanded estuary. Located on a National Cycle Route it is an easy bike ride from the Quay or a good hour or two’s walk.
7. Harry’s Restaurant’s ‘Heart Attack’; a sure favourite among the chocolate lovers, this sweet concoction will hit home and more. You better like whipped cream. The portions are massive so definitely something to be shared. This low key, modest restaurant on Longbrook Street is an absolute essential on the Exeter Bucket List; whatever you order to eat, it’ll be a night/meal to remember!
8. Stoke Wood; looking for a break? This hideaway is only a stones throw from campus but is rural and idyllic. Perfect for a run, picnic or walk.
9. The Bike Shed; for the theatregoers among us, a quirky evening at the Bike Shed is an absolute must. Keep tabs on their ever-changing calendar. Performances are innovative, heartfelt, provocative, and intimate. Yes, it genuinely is a converted bike shed! For the avid biker, a visit to The Bike Shed shop upstairs is also a treat.
10. The Picture House is a true ‘cine-glam’ experience. Members can enjoy competitive Monday deals, and the double couches and reclining armchairs make for a comfortable and arguably different viewing experience. Vue, Odeon, who?
11. Buddleigh in Dartmoor; for the adrenaline junkies among us, scramble up the side of the cliff (potentially a slight exaggeration…) and take the leap into the fresh waters of Devon. You shall certainly scream out all your worries and stress. Perfect for Exam time.
Obviously this is far from exhaustive and there is an abundance of eateries, cafés, pubs, adventures and experiences to enjoy during your time at Exeter. Comment with some of your favourite to do’s, but for now start working your way through this little lot!