Don’t have a car? Here are six places you can get to in Exeter without one

Because we’re not all blessed with a Fiat 500

There can be no disputing that Exeter and its surrounding area is incredibly beautiful, but getting to visit these spots is sometimes a struggle. It may take a lot of public transport and time to get you to the most remote part of Dartmoor, I’m afraid.

Sadly, I am one of the 20-year-olds who still flashes my green license to the bouncers without shame – but public transport is much better for the environment anyway. Plus, you can romanticise your life on the train rides, so there are literally no disadvantages. Have no fear, we’re here to help with a list of the very best spots to get to around Exeter without a car.

1. Exmouth and Dawlish (or Teignmouth)

The classic Exeter day out, insert the beach 0f your choice:

Option A: Exmouth – the basic, reliable choice

Option B: Dawlish – less to do, but prettier (sorry not sorry)

Option C: Teignmouth – aka you’ve done the other two to death

No matter where you choose, getting to the beach from one of Exeter’s many train stations is super easy and affordable. Make sure you bring your railcard though, as ticket officers LOVE to check them, especially when they know you’re a student. Trains run regularly from Exeter St David’s, but also from St James’ Park and Polsloe Bridge, which may be a better bet for everyone in student housing.

2. Totnes

About a 30 minute train ride towards Plymouth is the beautiful Totnes. This is the indie girl’s dream place – think vegan cafes, unlimited charity shops and a local market at the weekend. Totnes is one of my absolute favourite places to explore near Exeter and trains run multiple times per hour from St David’s. You do have to climb a rather steep hill to get there, but you see pretty architecture (win) and can treat yourself to a pastry after, I promise. I can confirm that the best pieces of clothing I own (an Exeter staple trench coat) come from charity shops from wandering along Totnes’ streets. Take your mates and indulge in some well deserved second hand retail therapy.

3. Topsham

Ok, let’s move away from Great Western Railway for a second. Between the coast and Exeter city centre lies Topsham. A pretty harbour town, Topsham is only a (slightly long) walk away. So, connect your Strava and stroll for a Sunday roast at one of Topsham’s quaint pubs. If you fancy one or two drinks, it’ll make the walk back a lot quicker too.

4. Ikea

Unless you’re planning on buying a sofa, heading to Ikea by bus is a really easy and cheap journey. It costs £2 each way and the bus takes you from the city centre direct to Ikea’s welcoming blue and yellow walls. Treat yourself to a 99p hot dog or splash the cash for some meat (or meatless for us veggies) balls. I guarantee you will probably come out with a soft toy of some form – bonus points if it’s a Djungelskog. Anyone who knows me knows I have a small (sarcasm intended) addiction to Ikea animals. You will never have just one.

5. Bristol

Less than an hour train journey is Exeter’s slightly more party heavy city, Bristol. I know so many people who have taken the last train from Exeter for a Bristol night out and caught the first one back for the vibes. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, Bristol is a super fun spot to explore: Grab some coffee and food (like this massive sandwich) and dodge the skater boys. There are no mullets and quarter zips in sight. Why? Bristol is cool.

6. St Ives

Ok, I get it, this one is a bit out of the way of Exeter. But truth is, St Ives is a bit out of the way of anywhere, so really a three hour journey isn’t too bad. Plus, there is nowhere better to enjoy coastal delights and beautiful scenery. Beware of St Ives in the summer though, chances are you will not be able to move around the town – don’t say I didn’t warn you. But, it’ll all be worth it when you’re sitting at a bar overlooking the harbour sipping a Cosmo.

Hopefully this has provided a pretty comprehensive insight into all of the amazing places that we have on our doorstep. So, hop on a train, bus, scooter, bike or whatever niche mode of transport you can think of and get exploring.

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