Looking back over my posts, it’s odd that I’ve never written about Exeter! Things are about to change, my friends. I’m giving you the ideal walking map for a day trip to Exeter Quay, complete with my favorite pubs (and even gluten free pizza!!).
This walk is full of nature, quaint shops, dogs running off-leash, along fields and forests and rivers! It actually used to be my old running route!
^^Double Locks pub at the end of the river…
I lived in Exeter for a year, during my study abroad program, so to me it feels like this weird idyllic home, but also a bit melancholy and nostalgic. Because I only lived there for a year (a year I spent reading Shakespeare and traveling non-stop and meeting lifelong best friends and eating *a lot* of clotted cream) I mostly just have fond memories of Exeter – it’s a smallish city, and I didn’t live there long enough to ever get bored. Still, every time I’ve gone back I get a rush of nostalgia – it’s just not the same without my American friends from my program there alongside me. It’s weird and sad to think that it will actually never be the same.
Still, it’s a wonderful city that I love, and I’m so excited to share it with you! Probably one of my favorite areas in Exeter is the Quay (pronounced “Key” as I learned with much shame in the first week of my study abroad program). I’m lucky to only live an hour away from Exeter now, so when I took the train over last weekend we made it into a day trip to the Exeter Quay.
To get to the Exeter Quay, if you’re coming from out of town, take the train to the Exeter St. Davids train station. From there you can literally just walk along the riverside path until you get to the Quay!
After passing this bridge (^^) you’re at the Exeter Quay! Be careful of all the hungry swans and geese though…
^^The Quay is a very charming area. One of my favorite unique additions are these tiny shops built like caves into the side of a huge brick wall! They’re mostly crafty/artisan shops… although you can find a bit of Cath Kidson here and there.
^^ Overall, the Exeter Quay buildings are beautiful brick pieces that overlook the river. It can get a bit crowded on a sunny summer day, but was a bit calmer as we visited right at the turning into Autumn 🙂
^^ So it’s basically idyllic…is there any better word?! There are lots of antiques shops and restaurants at the Quay. Also, if you’re in an active mood, you can rent bikes, rent canoes or kayaks, take a river cruise, or even go rock climbing or bowling!! Basically, you’re not going to run out of things to do.
But if you’re in the mood to find the secretive pub at the end of the river, just keep walking alongside the river path.
It’s a bit twisty – you’ll need to cross the bridge over the river, and then follow the southernmost leg of the river when it splits. It’s pretty self explanatory in terms of signs and riverside paths, but if you’re directionally challenged like me, you can follow along on my map!
^^You’ll probably see quite a few people fishing, canoeing, paddle boarding, and more on a nice day.
And then…dun dun dun…you can’t miss it! You’ll reach Double Locks, the pub at the end of the river!!
Well, it’s not quite the end of the river, but there is a large weir, so this is the end point for any boaters who’ve been floating along the river. Lots of people kayak their way to the pub, or even road bike (you’ll see a few patrons wet and covered in mud), or of course walk!
^^We sat out back on the many benches overlooking the river, and I enjoyed hot chocolate. It was a bit chilly, though, so eventually we moved inside…
Where it’s still oh-so-very British and cozy. Seriously, this is probably the most quintessential southwest English pub you will ever see. And even though it’s so out of the way, it’s always full of happy (dirty) people and dogs, munching away on fish and chips, burgers, you name it…
^^And yep, I did say dogs. Dogs are very welcome at Double Locks!
^^It’s just gorgeous from the front. Look at that! The ivy was quite overgrown when we visited…you can barely see the “Double Locks” sign peeking out between the vines!
^^dirty puppy paw towels – can’t be having a muddy pub!
^^ Eventually, we began our walk back along the path toward the Exeter Quay….
^^Where of course we stopped for an early dinner at On the Waterfront, AKA probably the best pizza you’ll ever eat (especially gluten free – it’s basically like GF sourdough bread base!!).
All in all it was such a nice fall day, walking along the beautiful river, getting some fresh air, and revisiting some of my absolute favorite places in Exeter. Definitely what I needed after the not-so-great news last week. I hope you enjoy my little map, and I hope it can help you navigate your way to the Exeter Quay, and the lovely wee pub at the end of the river.
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