As beautiful as Plymouth is, it’s often nice to get out and see a little more of the south-west. At the weekend I decided to take a trip to Exeter to meet an old friend of mine. As you spend time at university, your friendship circle widens - geographically as well, as when you move to a new part of the country you may find yourself closer to your long distance friends. Whilst down in the south it’s been wonderful to be able to reconnect with friends from this area.
We met up in Exeter, which is partway between us. It’s a beautiful old city with a huge cathedral - luckily for us it was a beautiful day, the sun was out and the rain stayed away. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the sun - even the marble man.
We wandered around the city taking in the old history of the place. There had previously been a beautiful old hotel, where even royalty had stayed. Tragically however, a year or so ago there was a dreadful fire that took down the hotel and the surrounding businesses. The city is attempting to preserve what remains and rebuild what has now become a symbol of Exeter.
There’s many pretty little coffee shops available in Exeter, so much so that we were spoilt for choice. But, after a long walk and a good daily catch up over coffee we had built up quite an appetite. So we decided to treat ourselves to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, my absolute favourite. There was a full range of tasty items to gorge ourselves on, and what girly catch up is complete without cocktails and ice cream? To be honest, we were chatting that much it's a surprise we managed to find time to eat anything at all.
There is a fascinating museum in Exeter, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery. It’s free to visit and I would definitely recommend it. They cover a wide range of exhibits, taking you through Exeter’s history and how the city is changed right from the Roman and medieval times up to surviving the world wars. Even if human history doesn’t particularly interest you, you can always go and have a chat with the museum’s favourite resident, Gerald the giraffe. The museum has a large collection of natural history, with many donated hunting trophies, vast collections of butterflies and beetles, to a beautiful display of birds from around the world. My personal favourite, of course, was the Percy Sladen collection focusing on starfish and sea urchins. A fascinating piece was some artwork done in pastels of marine life. Many many years ago ecology was much more of a hobby than a scientific pursuit and yet we have many stunning artifacts produced by ecologists from detailed scientific illustrations to volumes of seaweed presses. Whatever your interest I’m sure you’d find something that will catch your attention inside Exeter’s small but captivating museum.
It was refreshing to take a trip away from Plymouth. Whilst studying and living in Plymouth is so much fun, it’s important to remember that there is more to the south-west than just one city. As I’ve moved across the country I should make the most of my time here and visit as many places as I can. I hope you too hop in the car or jump on a train and really experience this pretty corner of the country.