Tourist Information in Exeter & East Devon
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Exeter & East Devon Tourist Information




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With one of Britain's most stirring coastlines and a landscape that has remained largely unspoiled for centuries, Devon's eastern corner is a rural retreat that combines surprising contrasts and hidden delights.

Although the region is dominated by the historic cathedral city of Exeter, capital of the southwest, it incorporates secluded villages, sweeping river valleys, tree-lined hilltops and a not-to-be-missed seaside experience. Its entire Channel coastline, from Orcombe Point, near Exmouth, to the county's border with Dorset, is part of the 95-mile 'Jurassic Coast', one of the UK's World Heritage sites.

Beautiful and awe-inspiring, its red sandstone cliffs have yielded many fossils and dinosaur remains. Ladram and Sidmouth have important sites dating to the Triassic period while the area around Lyme Regis, on the Dorset border, was where the pioneer palaeontologist Mary Anning found the first remains of the giant flying reptile Ichthyosaurus.

The great cliffs are not just the haunts of fossils.  Hereabouts the climate is so mild that palm trees flourish - as do holiday activities.

The resort of Sidmouth, for example, has almost 500 listed buildings as well as a fine, mile-long main beach and a second beach known as Jacob's Ladder.

Old fishing villages such as Beer lie in the sheltered coves that proved perfect hideaways for bands of old-fashioned smugglers; Beer Head soars to over 400 feet and has the most westerly chalk cliffs on the Channel coast.

The former Roman port of Exmouth was one of the first seaside resorts to be made popular in the late 18th century, playing host to luminaries like Lord Nelson and the Romantic poet Lord Byron.

   


Most of inland east Devon is so naturally beautiful it is divided into two areas of outstanding natural beauty, including the Blackdown Hills in the northeast.

Tiverton boasts the remains of a 14th century castle and a 15th century church while the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was born at picturesque Otter St Mary.

Historic Honiton was famous for lace-making and provided the material for Queen Victoria's wedding veil.

The city of Exeter was the creation of the Celtic Dumnonii tribe who called it Iscka. The Romans made it their most westerly stronghold and surrounded it with a defensive wall. Later the city was transformed by Alfred the Great and became one of the largest woollen towns in England, although much of it had to be rebuilt after bombing raids destroyed its ancient centre in the Second World War. One of the buildings that miraculously escaped severe damage was the Norman cathedral of St Peter, a 13th century Gothic masterpiece encircled by a diamond-shaped close.

The cathedral has a vaulted ceiling with the longest unbroken span in the world and boasts some of the finest stained glass in England as well as a 60ft Bishop's Throne. Exeter's 14th century Guildhall is one of Britain's oldest municipal buildings while its old Ship Inn is said to have been Sir Francis Drake's favourite drinking place. The city's most remarkable tourist attraction is a series of underground passages built to bring water to the townspeople in the 14th Century. They're open for guided tours – but not for those who suffer from a fear of enclosed spaces.

Other magnets for visitors include the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (closed for refurbishment until 2011) and the Benedictine priory of St Nicholas, now presented as an Elizabethan townhouse. The latter dates to 1070 and has a 15th century kitchen and a Norman undercroft. One of Exeter's jewels is its quayside containing a host of restored 19th century maritime warehouses. The nearby Custom House dates from 1680-81 and is Exeter's oldest brick building.

East Devon's strangest curio is a bizarre Gothic 'folly' named 'A La Ronde' that was built with 16 sides by wealthy cousins Jane and Mary Parminster in the 1790s.

Inspired by a Grand Tour of Europe, they may have based their idea on an Italian basilica.

IMAGES: CCL

Exeter Cathedral © Tony Howell
Orcombe Point, Exmouth: Mick Melvin
Red Sandstone Orcombe Point: Kate Burhouse
East Cliff Lyme Regis: Malcolm Etherington
Ladram Bay © Tony Howell
Jurassic Coast © Tony Howell
Jurassic Coast © Tony Howell
Sidmouth Main Beach © Sidmouth Town Council
Beer: Peter Watkins
Exmouth: Andy Peacock
Blackdown Hills: Derek Harper
Tiverton Castle: Humphrey Bolton
Exeter City Walls: Derek Harper
Cathedral Nave © Exeter Cathedral
Exeter's Underground Passages © Mike Alsford
A La Ronde, Exeter: Chris J Dixon



 

Tourist Information Centres

AXMINSTER TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
The Old Courthouse, Church Street, Axminster, EX13 5AQ
Tel/Fax: 01297 34386

BUDLEIGH SALTERTON TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 6NG
Tel: 01395 445275    Fax: 01395 442208

EXETER VISITOR INFORMATION & TICKETS
Dix's Field, Princesshay, Exeter, EX1 1GF
Tel: 01392 665700    Fax: 01392 665260
E-mail: evit@exeter.gov.uk

EXMOUTH TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Alexandra Terrace, Exmouth, EX8 1NZ
Tel: 01395 222299    Fax: 01395 269911
E-mail: exmouth@btinternet.com

HONITON TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Lace Walk Car Park, Honiton, EX14 1LT
Tel/Fax: 01404 43716
E-mail: honitontic@btconnect.com

OTTERY ST MARY TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
10b Broad Street, Ottery St Mary, EX11 1BZ
Tel/Fax: 01404 813964
E-mail: tic.osm@cosmic.org.uk

SEATON TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
The Underfleet, Seaton, EX12 2TB
Tel: 01297 21660    Fax: 01297 21689
E-mail: info@seatontic.freeserve.co.uk

SIDMOUTH TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Ham Lane, Sidmouth, EX10 8XR
Tel: 01395 516441    Fax: 01395 519333
E-mail: sidmouthtic@eclipse.co.uk

TIVERTON TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Phoenix Lane, Tiverton, EX16 6LU
Tel: 01884 255827    Fax: 01884 257594
E-mail: tivertontic@btconnect.com



  

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