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Friday, April 18, 2008

Exeter Quay

Exeter Quay is one of Exeter's most pleasant areas. The historic area of red stone warehouses, pubs, antique shops, teahouses and cafes has been transformed from the rather intimidating area of cobblestones and rough nightclubs in the 1980s.

Exeter Quay

Once the site of the much missed Exeter Maritime Museum, the Quay is now the perfect place to eat and drink al fresco on a summer's day.

The quay on the River Exe was founded in Roman times but access to the sea was lost by the 14th century when a weir was built across the river to force the wool trade to Topsham to the south, which enjoyed a prosperous business with the Low Countries.

Exeter Quay

In 1563, the enterprising John Trew built Britain's first ship canal to restore access to the sea.

The Quay House Visitor Centre (Tel: 01392 271 611) dates from 1680 and has more information on the area's history plus a small gift shop selling local pottery, maps and books.

Butt's Ferry, is a rope pulled ferry across the quay which actually dates from the 17th century but was saved from closure in the 1970s by a local man George Butts who petitioned the local council to keep it open.

Exeter Quay

The quay has open-air jazz concerts on Sundays in the summer as well as Slow Food Markets on the third Saturday on the month between April and October and is the starting point for Exeter's annual Dragon Boat races!

It's possible to hire bicycles or kayaks at the Quay from Saddles & Paddles (Tel: 01392 424 241) and get down to two of the area's best pubs: The Double Locks (Tel: 01392 256 947) and the Turf Locks Hotel (Tel: 01392 833 128).

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