Custom House Visitor Centre

The Custom House was built in 1680 at the height of Exeter's woollen cloth industry. Today it is a fascinating visitor centre and the meeting point for Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours.

Exeter has had a quay since Roman times. During the 13th and 14th centuries, rival merchants built weirs across the river near Topsham to prevent cargoes reaching Exeter. Between 1564 and 1566 John Trew built the first stretch of the Exeter Canal to enable delivery of cargo closer to the city. The increase in trade led to the construction of the Custom House in 1680. Renowned for its sweeping staircase and ornate plaster ceilings, this beautiful building now houses a fascinating visitor centre.

 

Today the history and development of Exeter's Quayside is brought to life with lively displays, illustrations and artefacts. There is also the opportunity to see "Exeter - 2,000 years of history," an exciting audio-visual presentation highlighting Exeter's history from Roman times to the present day.

 

The Custom House Visitor Centre provides tourist information, quayside treasure hunts, an accommodation booking service and a gift shop selling local pottery, replica maps and a wide range of local interest books. Quayside based Red Coat Guided Tours also depart from outside the Centre.

Opening Hours

April - October
Daily: 10.00am to 5.00pm

Closed for lunch 1pm - 1.45pm

November - March
Saturday and Sunday: 11.00am to 4.00pm

Admission: Free

Group visits welcomed by prior arrangement.

Further information

The Custom House Visitor Centre can be found at 46 The Quay, Exeter, EX2 4AN
Tel: 01392 271611
Email: customhouse@exeter.gov.uk

You can find out more about Exeter's Historic Quayside in our information leaflet.

Historic Quayside Leaflet 2014/15

The Custom House Visitor Centre is supported by Exeter Canal & Quay Trust.

When this content has been updated

Last updated 17 May 2016