7 things you need to know before moving to Exeter – updated for 2024

Matt Furnell


The key to making a smooth, successful move anywhere new is finding out the essential information early on. So, with people worldwide moving to Exeter every day, we want to give you a short insight into what it’s like living in this amazing city. Being based here, Situ has everything worth knowing, so let’s jump right in; here are the seven things you need to know before moving to Exeter.

What you need to know about Exeter

  1. Living in Exeter
  2. Exeter schools
  3. Public transport
  4. About Exeter
  5. Exeter businesses
  6. Things to do in Exeter
  7. The great outdoors

1. Living in Exeter

Exeter city centre.
Courtesy of exeter.gov.uk.

There is no mistaking that both Exeter and Devon have been amongst the best places in the UK to live consistently over the last few years. Reports find that Exeter outscores other British cities in terms of mortality rates, cost of living, the amount of green space, and crime rate.

Moving to Exeter also means moving to one of the top ten safest cities across England and Wales. It’s a big minus for me if I feel like I’m moving somewhere that is not safe and secure, and knowing that Exeter is amongst the safest around is bound to put anyone’s mind at ease.

Of course, it’s always important to plan for the unexpected, so just know that the headquarters of the Devon and Cornwall Police is just on edge of the city along Sidmouth Road.

You are never far from access to healthcare services in Exeter either. There are several hospitals and centres which offer specialist cancer, mental health, psychological and mobility services. The two biggest are the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals based in Heavitree and Wonford, the latter having a 24-hour Emergency Department.

2. Exeter schools

Exeter University.
University of Exeter students. Courtesy of www.exeter.ac.uk.

For families, priority #1 is the welfare of their children. Picking an appropriate school is, therefore, very important.

There are forty-three schools in the Exeter area, covering the education of children of all ages. You have the likes of Exeter College and Stoke Hill Infants and Nursery, both of which have received an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating in recent inspections. Give the gov.uk website a visit for more info on all of Exeter’s educational facilities.

Let’s not forget though the biggest institution in the city, the Exeter University. It’s one of the best in the UK, with such a vast curriculum, encouraging over 30,000 students from across across the UK and the wider world to move to Exeter for their education.

3. Public transportation

Public Transportation in Exeter.
Public Transportation along Exeter High Street. Courtesy of Devon Live.

Exeter boasts fantastic transportation links. Entry into the city centre is simple with the city being intersected by the A377 from the north and the A30 in the south. Exeter also sits just where the M5. The M5 runs as far as Bristol before connecting to the M4. For live traffic updates in Exeter and across the South West, visit the Highway Agency website.

However, there is no hiding from the fact that any city can fall victim to car traffic. Exeter is, therefore, very well-equipped with many running bus services. In fact, there are around seven hundred bus stops covering the area, supporting countless routes in and around the city.

Stagecoach South West is the main bus operator, which accompanies National Express, the biggest operator of longer-distance coach services in the city. If travelling by train and requiring onward travel, it is worthwhile investing in a PlusBus ticket. This ticket enables unlimited bus travel across participating operators’ (including Stagecoach) services across the entire urbanity of Exeter.

Just outside the city centre is Exeter International Airport (EXT), voted in recent years as the ‘happiest’ airport. Most importantly, the airport handles the travel of around one million passengers each year to destinations all over the globe. The airport is only a fifteen-minute car journey from the city centre. Furthermore, Digby & Sowton, Cranbrook, Exeter Central and Exeter St. Davids train stations are no further than twenty minutes away by car too.

4. About Exeter

Exeter Cathedral.
Exeter Cathedral. Courtesy of www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk.

If you didn’t know already, Exeter is a Devonshire city of around 130,000, based in the southwest of England. It’s, rightly so, dubbed as the heart of the county.

Many credit this to the intersecting River Exe, Devon’s largest river flowing from the English Channel in the south, northbound through to Exmoor. I would argue though that it’s the 2000-year-old city wall that truly separates Exeter from the rest in Devon.

There is also the hard-to-miss Exeter cathedral, which is over 950 years old! Being that old, it comes as no surprise it is one of the UK’s greatest cathedrals.

The city has many other attractions as well that display Exeter’s fine history. The history enthusiasts amongst us could visit the Royal Albert Museum, Exeter’s Underground Passages or even the Guildhall on the High Street. Or, better yet, cover it all in one of the Red Coat Guided Tours!

5. Exeter businesses

Met Office Exeter.
The Met Office, Exeter. Courtesy of metoffice.gov.uk.

Corporates and businesspeople, fill your boots because the Exeter economy is not worth looking past. Exeter leads over Plymouth and Torquay as the largest urban centre in rural Devon, home to over 4,000 registered businesses.

The people who work here (including the 35,000 daily commuters) have every opportunity to be successful. After all, Exeter, is in the top ten cities for lowest unemployment in the UK, has an average city centre footfall of over 1.3 million people every month, and not too long ago had a £500 million investment pumped into it.

The commitment of mass employers to situate themselves here, such as the Met Office Exeter and Pennon Group PLC, proves the capability of the local business climate. Moreover, it encourages more and more businesses to relocate here. This has meant a significant population continue to opt to book stays in Situ’s Exeter corporate accommodation.

6. Things to do in Exeter

Exeter Quay.
Exeter Quay. Courtesy of www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk

Moving to Exeter also means moving to a city full of natural beauty. As well as the lovely historic sites we have already mentioned, Exeter’s own unique attractions, such as the iconic Quay, help make the city so distinctive.

The beautiful Exeter Quayside plays host to thousands of tourists and locals alike all year round. The array of eclectic cafes, restaurants and pubs along the Quay help create a great atmosphere, perfect for making their first steps into life in Exeter.

There are plenty of options, whatever your passions. If you’re particularly adventuress, why not check out Clip ‘n Climb Exeter? Described as the ‘perfect vertical playground’, you’re sure of a fun day out whatever your age when you visit this climbing centre.

Or, if the arts scene is more your style, stop by Exeter Phoenix. This vibrant arts centre hosts a wide range of events, including live music, theatre, dance, and art exhibitions. They also have a cosy cafe bar!

You’ll find plenty to do here, read our top things to do in Exeter blog for more ideas.

7. The great outdoors

Stunning green spaces across Exeter are plentiful too. On the outskirts of the city centre, there is Mincinglake Valley Park, Riverside Valley Park, the picturesque Pinces Gardens, Bury Meadow Park and many more. They really do compliment Exeter’s urban scene well, creating a city blessed with diversity.

To fulfil your greater outdoors fix even further, you could travel not too far beyond the area. Why not spend the day visiting the coastal towns of Dawlish Warren, Exmouth or Sidmouth? They are all no further than a forty-five minutes drive away.

Alternatively, perhaps the most popular attractor of tourists to Devon is Dartmoor National Park. It has so much to offer for families, particularly those who are hiking enthusiasts. You may end up having to drive a few extra miles, but the day-out is completely worth it.

Ultimately, there is something for everyone who decides on moving to Exeter. The amazing green spaces and outdoor attractions are just the tips of the Exeter iceberg. A rich history, a functional public transportation system, and a promising economy also make moving to Exeter a truly unique experience.

We hope this guide has given you a good idea about life here in Exeter. It really is a fantastic place with many opportunities and sites to see. If you’re planning to relocate here, take a look at our Exeter serviced apartments, they truly are the best form of accommodation when moving to a new area. For more information feel free to give a member of our team a call at +44 (0)1392 690 079.

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