Red Coat Guided Tours

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1. Our tours

Red coat tours in Exeter

Operating throughout the year except Christmas Day and Boxing Day, our free guided walking tours are the perfect way to explore Exeter. No booking is required, simply choose a tour, meet your Red Coat Guide and spend 90 minutes discovering Exeter. Tours depart from the Hooker Statue on Cathedral Green, or from the Custom House (Quayside).  For more information call 01392 265203.

Regrettably, dogs (except Guide dogs) are not permitted on the tours and children must be accompanied by an adult. The tours may contain steps, slopes and steep or rough ground, however the Red Coat Guides will do all they can to make tours accessible to all so please speak to your guide before the tour about the suitability for your individual needs.

 

Tour descriptions

Cathedral to Quay

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

We will cover the origins and history of the Cathedral, the expansion and development of Southernhay’s Georgian houses, before descending to the magnificent River Exe and learning about the reasons for Exeter’s canal and its incredible maritime history.

Finish: Custom House, Exeter Quay


Exeter Old & New

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

Going back to the city’s Roman origins, our journey takes us through 2,000 years of history, from the ancient City Wall to the modern Princesshay development, before taking the gentle climb up to the Northernhay Gardens, and we finish our tour at the Guildhall.

Finish: Exeter Guildhall


Forgotten Exeter

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

A discovery trail of many aspects of Exeter’s rich and chequered history which have either disappeared from living memory or were long since ignored. These include the Roman bathhouse, the old brewery areas, the Catacomb, and William the Conqueror’s influence on the city.

Finish: St Nicholas’ Priory (Tuesday) or Tuckers Hall (Thursday)


Introducing Exeter

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

An hour’s walk to give a taster of Exeter’s glorious past, including the wonderful medieval houses of Cathedral Close, Georgian Southernhay, the city’s C17 connections with the Royal family, the High Street and our wonderful Cathedral.

Finish: West Front, Exeter Cathedral


Heart of Exeter and the DEI

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

From the tranquillity of Cathedral Close to the hustle and bustle of the High Street, follow the development of Exeter from Roman times to the present day. This circular tour ends with a visit to the Devon and Exeter Institution, a subscription library founded in 1813 which occupies one of Exeter’s historic buildings and houses some of the city’s most important books.

Finish: DE&I, Cathedral Close.


Medieval Exeter

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

The fascinating tale detailing how Exeter was once one of the richest and largest cities in the land, and the reasons why we no longer hold such high status. Starting right in front of the city’s original Custom House, we end our tour at the building which superseded it in 1681, at the now gentrified riverside.

Finish: Custom House, Exeter Quay


Exeter’s Historic Quayside

Start: Custom House, Exeter Quay

Tour description:

Discover the fascinating details of Exeter’s maritime history, once one of the country’s busiest ports with access to and from the sea via the Exeter Ship Canal. Learn why it became necessary to construct a canal at all, and some interesting snippets about the charming quayside.

Finish: Custom House, Exeter Quay


Canal Trip

Start: Custom House, Exeter Quay

Tour description:

Similar information to that contained in our Historic Quayside tour, but with a 20-minute one-way boat trip along the canal to a local pub. When we disembark, choose whether to take lunch at the pub, stroll back along the towpath, or pay for a return trip on the boat, either immediately or at an agreed time with the boat staff.

Finish: Custom House, Exeter Quay


Oddities & Curiosities

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

An entertaining wander through areas in and around the city centre, intertwining some of its historical details with some of its stranger or more unusual facts, with a few surprises along the way.

Finish: Devon & Exeter Institution, Cathedral Close


Cathedral Close and Bishop's Palace Garden

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

See how the buildings in Cathedral Close have evolved through time before exploring a section of the City Wall and entering the Bishop's Palace Garden itself, enjoying unique views of the Cathedral and learning of the development of the Palace and it's uses over 800 years.

Finish: Devon & Exeter Institution, Cathedral Close


Tudor Exeter

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

This tour includes stories about local Exonians and famous historical visitors to the City during the Tudor period. You will also learn about and see surviving Tudor buildings as you make your way down to the Quayside.

Finish: Custom House, Exeter Quay


Forgotten Exeter

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

Follow Exeter’s history through areas not usually visited by tourists; discover forgotten parts and some interesting hidden curiosities in the north-west corner of the city. Hear about the Roman settlement, the area around the site of the ancient North Gate and enjoy the view to the North from the city wall. The tour ends with a visit to one of two hidden medieval gems (below) in the heart of the city.

Finish: St Nicholas Priory (Tuesday) or Tuckers Hall (Thursday). 


 

Georgian Exeter

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Tour description:

Follow Exeter’s progress from the coronation of George l in 1714 into the 21st century. Hear how during the 18th Century population grew and a ‘spirit of improvement’ spread across the city. See the historic George’s Meeting House, admire Southernhay, a street of elegant Georgian town houses and discover how Exeter changed from an industrial hub into an elegant Georgian City.

Finish: T B A


 

City Wall

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

Discover the fascinating history of the City Wall which dates back to Roman times. Despite attacks by Vikings, William the Conqueror, King Stephen, Perkin Warbeck, Cornishmen in the Prayer Book Rebellion and both sides in the English Civil War, 70% remains standing.

Finish: Roman Walk/Bedford Street.


Exeter Blitz

Start: Hooker statue, Cathedral Green

WW2 air raids include the infamous Baedeker Raid which destroyed 39 acres of the inner City, and caused the deaths of 265 citizens and over 1,000 wounded. The tour explains the background to these attacks and graphically describes their terrible effects. 

Finish: West Front of the Cathedral.


 

The 2019/20 tours and timings are available on our Red Coat Guided Tour Programme 19-20 Leaflet. If you would like this in another format please call us on 01392 265203.

 

Topsham Tours

Free walking tours with Topsham Society Guides. Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm, May – September. No booking necessary, meet by notice board at Holman Way Car Park.

For more information and group bookings: 01392 875276

Please note guided tours may be subject to cancellation without notice.