As the dissertation looms and that cheeky grad robes fee seems to be staring you in the face, you may be thinking of simpler times. When you were just a silly fresh, graduation felt so far away. Yes, you energetically bounced from club to club, but did you ever stop to explore Exeter properly before COVID came along to ruin your summer? Probably not. But never fear – from one nostalgic final year student to another, here are some top Exeter Bucket List activities. Don’t take the infamous rock picture unless you’ve crossed at least half of these off your list.
1. Batty Bingo
If you’ve not made it to Exeter’s student bingo night yet, you’re truly missing out. With themed nights like Peaky Blinders, St Patrick’s Day, and Oktoberfest, there’s always something fun to dress up for. And this is not your grandma’s bingo game – for starters, there are slightly interesting prizes up for grabs (tin of baked beans anyone?) alongside the genuinely exciting ones (£100 cash, a flatscreen TV, a round of VKs). Plus, Peggy Sue and the team put on a really fun night, with great tunes, live music, and cheap drink deals. Finally, it’s an Exeter tradition to write various insults on any inch of your friend’s skin that you can reach with a felt tip pen. Put Batty Bingo at the top of your bucket list!
2. Go to a beach… that’s not Exmouth or Dawlish
There’s something beautiful about the fact that every time Exeter experiences a tiny bit of sunshine, everyone makes a pilgrimage to Exmouth – but maybe it’s time for a change. I’m not slamming the place, but there’s only so many times a gal can tread on a sharp rock on her way into the slightly brown sea before she wants to break away for pastures (sand dunes?) new. Devon has an abundance of beaches to explore – Sidmouth, Brixham, Teignmouth, and Budleigh Salterton all spring to mind. Grab your rail card (or a mate with a car) and have a beach day!
3. Walk to Double Locks
The quay was probably one of your fave walking spots (along with everyone else in Exeter) during lockdown. But did you know that if you venture beyond the wobbly bridge, there’s a gorgeous pub waiting for you? Double Locks is about 2 miles down from the quay, so it makes for a lovely walk followed by a hearty pub lunch. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even hire a paddleboard or canoe from Saddles and Paddles and arrive in style.
4. Haldon Forest
This one requires a car or a pretty decent cycle, so it’s time to butter up your housemate who drives. About ten minutes out of Exeter is Haldon Forest, a Forestry England site with beautiful views and stunning walk routes. If the closest you’ve come to greenery this year is the Newman Green Lecture theatre, maybe it’s time to breathe some fresh air. There’s so much to do at Haldon Forest, including walking and cycling trails, a café, and even a Go Ape centre if staying on the ground isn’t cutting it for you.
5. Breakfast at Brodies
Particularly apt for mornings after nights out, Brodies breakfasts are pretty legendary. All you can eat cooked breakfasts and waffles? The perfect hangover cure. To be completely honest, I’ve never managed to eat as much as I’d hoped to at Brodies, but I think that says more about my lack of perseverance than anything else. For a bargain price, you can eat bacon and drink Sunny D to your heart’s content.
6. Boozy Brunch
Boozy brunch at Turtle Bay is one of my favourite things to do, and I genuinely think it’s given me transferable skills. Time management – getting your money’s worth is a tight operation, involving a great deal of drive. Teamwork – the whole table has to be ready to order the same drink as soon as the previous one has been downed, or there’s a chance you won’t get those all-important rounds in. I could go on. The most cocktails I have ever rinsed from their £30 deal (including the tasty food) is 6, but I’ve heard tales of 10 being achieved. At that point, they might as well give you a job there. Truly one of the best experiences Exeter has to offer – but don’t be surprised if you get hungover at 4pm.
– Caitlin Barr
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