Exeter, United Kingdom

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My sister is currently 2 years into her PhD at the University of Exeter, and so I finally booked a Megabus to go visit her. Just a brief 7h20 coach ride to Devon from Leeds.

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One of the main sights is the cathedral – an Anglican cathedral with stunning architecture; surrounded by green area to hang out on during the summer; and cute cafes, restaurants and bars around the area.  The entry fee to the cathedral was £7.50 for adults, £5 for students so I didn’t bother as it kinda looked like any other cathedral on the inside.

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After storming out in indignation at the price through the no-exit door of the Cathedral, I made my way down a footpath alongside the old city wall before arriving at the quay. The sunny day was reflected on the river, as people paddled cautiously and others sat outside the cafes and bars, or perused the gift shops.

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As well as exploring the city’s streets and gardens above ground, I was also recommended the Underground Passages tour: which shows you the tunnels which were built in the medieval ages to give clean water to the city. At least, the ones with high social status. As long as you are not claustrophobic – they are definitely worth it just to learn a little about the history of the city.

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I spent the Friday evening having a heavy night with my sister and her friends (and supervisor): from typical pubs to swanky bars, a metal club, and more. Finished the night sharing cheesy chips with my sister. Always a good call.

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To recover from the night, the next day as my sister visited her lab to check on the mice she works on (neuroscience…appetite regulation…some other stuff), I explored the campus of University of Exeter, as it is said to be one of the nicest in the country. I was very happy to see a sculpture by artists and fellow Wakefield born, Barbara Hepworth.

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Considering the campus of my undergrad, Queen Mary, boasts a cemetery – the lush gardens of what used to be a stately home was quite impressive.

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J.K. Rowling used to live in Exeter, and so some places claim to be the inspiration from notable Harry Potter landmarks. Gandy Street is said to have inspired Diagon Alley (maybe?), and has a fun albeit tacky ‘Cauldron Bar’. There is also the Old Firehouse Bar which apparently is what the Leaky Cauldron is based on. I think that one was a bit of a stretch…

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Last but not least: the narrowest street in the world.

I think my sister’s friends expected me to be bored with Exeter – but I was not. Two days allowed some fun exploration around the small city. Lots of old buildings have survived centuries to add to Exeter’s charms, and there are plenty of cute and friendly bars, cafes and restaurants to keep anyone happy. If you have a car, the beaches and surrounding areas are also worth adventuring to. I’ll certainly come back once my sister gets her license 😉

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