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6 Cafes in Exeter Not to Miss

I am a complete coffee snob. I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, the coffee snob capital of the world.

Starbucks failed in Melbourne. We were ordering flat whites in the 1990s. There is no such thing as bad coffee in central Melbourne because the standard is so high. In addition to being a coffee snob, I LOVE my coffee.

So when travelling I always do my research about the best coffee options. I like to think I can spot a good cafe based on its font and look from a mile away. The more industrial looking the better.

The cuter and chintzier the worse the coffee in my experience. Coffee is serious and I normally find serious-looking coffee shops produce better coffee.

Anyway, I was a little concerned when it came to cafes in Exeter. I was very worried that I would be facing only milky lattes with scalding milk when I asked for a flat white.

Having no choice but to order an Americano with a side of hot milk as that was the least bad option. I was having coffee-mares before the trip imagining that giant scalding milkshake of a latte.

My concerns were unfounded. Thank goodness for the spread of the coffee snob and hipster. Exeter coffee is fantastic – particularly the cafes in Exeter city centre.

Ideally, I like some eggs with hollandaise sauce with my anal coffee if it is pre 11 am – then into cakey things – then a nice soup and salad lunch to balance.

The goal was to find great Exeter Cafes based on the quality of their coffee – and where there is good coffee there is almost always good food to follow.

Interior of Cafe in Exeter Glorious Art House
The colourful coffee brewing area at Glorious Art House

⇒ For things to do in Exeter beyond drinking coffee check out this great post on One Day in Exeter England from the Travel Tester!

coffee in a dark cup and saucer with a berry smoothie in Exeter city centre Cafe Artigiano
Barista Art at Artigiano, one of the best cafes in Exeter city centre

1. Glorious Art House

By far the most instagrammable of the Exeter Cafes as well as serving great coffee is Glorious Art House. This wonderfully colourful cafe sprawls over three levels and is filled with arty bits and pieces.

There is even a cute little reading nook. Just up from the ground floor of the Glorious Art House Cafe Exeter is a lovely outdoor patio where you can enjoy your coffee.

Glorious Art House Exeter exterior
Hanging out at Glorious Art House Cafe Exeter

Glorious Art House is well known for its waffles and cakes so this is definitely for when you are having a sweet craving. It’s not just high-fat options as Glorious Art House Exeter also offers greek yoghurt, berries, granola etc.

There is an art gallery on the third floor and seating for coffee and food on the ground and first floors.

Cakes on display at Glorious Art House Cafe

Glorious Art House Location:

120 Fore Street EX4 3JQ
Free Wifi
Outdoor Seating available
Dogs & Children Welcome

colourful outdoor seating area at Glorious Art House Coffee House Exeter
Love that tablecloth!

2. Artigiano

Normally a high street location means bad coffee. However, I was happily proven wrong at one of the best cafes in Exeter city centre.

Artigiano Espresso and Wine Bar has been serving great coffee on the Exeter high street since 2014. Artigiano Exeter is a big place but still cosy in feel – absolutely perfect as a place to work.

And the coffee was excellent. Indeed my barista was going on to represent Artigiano at some type of impressive-sounding Barista competition.

Exterior of Artigiano Cafe Exeter
Artigiano Cafe Exeter on the High Street

Artigiano Cafe Exeter could be my perfect place as it is focussed on coffee until 5 pm and then it turns into a wine bar. It also has some excellent food. Very very tasty looking cakes and treats.

I ate breakfast here. The menu at Artigiano was a great mix of classics such as eggs benedict as well as some more fun options like crumpets and smashed avocado or American style pancakes.

This was also one of my favourite places to eat in Exeter.

artigiano breakfast of eggs benedict and sausage on a white plate
Eggs Benedict and sausage at Artigiano

I chose the Eggs Royale for a bit of healthy and naughty – and then increased the naughty quotient by adding in a side order of local sausages.

This is the perfect place to go for brunch or lunch with some fantastic coffee.

Artigiano Cafe Location:

248 High Street
Exeter EX4 3PZ
Free Wifi
Outdoor Seating
Gluten Free Options

variety of cakes on display at Artigiano
Delicious cakes on display at Artigiano

3. The Exploding Bakery

My vote for the best coffee in Exeter is The Exploding Bakery. Now I like my flat white strong with a heavily roasted flavour so that is my criteria. You may have a different view.

In my opinion, The Exploding Bakery also has the best name for any cafe – or potentially for anywhere – in Exeter.

outdoor seating at The Exploding Bakery Exeter
Sitting outside at The Exploding Bakery

The Exploding Bakery Exeter has a great location in the middle of town next to the local Exeter train station (eg for trains around the area vs trains to London etc which leave from Exeter St Davids.

This Exeter cafe was started by two old school friends who were passionate about their coffee and their tray bake cakes (more of that later). They opened in 2011.

The Exploding Bakery tray bake Cakes on display
Amazing Tray Bake Cakes at The Exploding Bakery

There is a rather large oven as well as a working area for that oven in the middle of The Exploding Bakery Cafe. I really liked this – it was lovely to see items coming straight out of the oven and seeing cakes being prepared.

Their cakes are rather delicious. I took four with me to be shared and all were excellent.

The Exploding Bakery Location:

1 & 2 The Crescent Queen Street
Outdoor Seating (although this is in the front and next to the station)
Vegan and Gluten Free Options

person working in a bakery with a large table and bread on display
Hard at work preparing deliciousness at the Exploding Bakery

4. Tea On the Green

Tea On the Green is my winner for the best location of a cafe in Exeter. I can’t imagine a more prime location. It is diagonally opposite the lovely Exeter Cathedral.

There is outdoor seating on the pedestrianised square. Tea on the Green is a great spot to sit and drink coffee and people watch.

Tea on the Green Exeter
Tea on the Green

In cooler weather, Tea on the Green Exeter also has a nice upstairs area – aim to get a seat by the window and you will have a warmer option for people watching.

The food here is great – very much locally sourced and you can taste the difference. Tea on the Green is the place to come for an Exeter Cream Tea – they are served every day from 230pm.

view of exeter cathedral looking out the window of Tea on the Green Cafe
View of Cathedral from Tea on the Green Cafe upstairs

Tea on the Green Location:

2 Cathedral Close
Child Friendly
Free Wifi
Vegan and Gluten Free Options

open sandwiches with bacon, tomatoes and lettuce on a wooden board
Delicious Lunch at Tea on the Green

5.  March Coffee

March Coffee works with a local supplier for its very tasty coffee. However, March Coffee Exeter’s big point of difference is its delicious freshly made every morning homemade doughnuts – which come in all sorts of delicious flavours.

March Coffee Exeter exterior

Brunch is served Friday-Sunday.

March Coffee Location:

87 South Street
Child Friendly
Vegan Options

men behind big coffee machine and coffee menu at March coffee exeter
Making fab coffee at March

6. The Plant Cafe

The Plant Cafe is also located on Cathedral Yard but on the other side from Tea on the Green. The Planet Cafe Exeter is a completely vegetarian cafe and it also caters to others with dietary restrictions.

Everything at The Plant Cafe is homemade on-site using local ingredients as much as possible. They also have a zero-waste policy. The food receives rave reviews as does the coffee.

Plant Cafe Exeter outdoor seating and frontage
Outdoor Seating at The Plant Cafe

The Plant Cafe Location:

1 Cathedral Yard
Vegetarian Outdoor Seating Options with a view of the Cathedral
Gluten Free Options Available

7 More Great Food and Drink Things to do in and around Exeter

1. Quickes Farm

Cheeses from the award-winning Quickes Farm are sold all around the world – even in my hometown Melbourne. We had a wonderful tour of Quickes Farm Exeter with the oh so interesting and inspiring lovely owner Mary Quickes.

And then we very much enjoyed ourselves in the Quickes Farm Cheese Shop. There was some tasting to be done (my favourite was the Vintage Cheddar), some cheese to be purchased and some other lovely local produce to check out.

Quicks Farm Exeter farmhouse and outdoor area
Home of Happy Cows at Quickes Farm
Devon Cow up close
Happy Cows at Quickes Farm

2. The Gin Palace Exeter

Gin Palace Exeter
Friday night G&T Time in Exeter

On Friday nights in Exeter during warmer months several pop-ups well pop up after 5 pm. One of the most appealing is the Gin Palace.

The team has done a great job creating a boutique feel under their tent. This is the home of Exeter Gin – a lovely tasting gin filled with botanicals from the area.

small bottles of gin with colourful packaging
Love the packaging!

Don’t leave without trying what I think of as the Grandparent range. These Exeter gins are named after the owner’s grandparents. Granny Garbett apparently liked to get into a bit of trouble and loved her gin.

Grandad’s Revenge is literally that. And don’t miss Grandad’s Allotment for some rhubarb flavoured gin.

Gin Palace Exeter bottles of gin and fresh fruit
G&T Ready at the Gin Palace

3. Rendezvous Wine Bar

This independent wine bar and restaurant Rendezvous is tucked away in the lovely Southernhay area of Exeter. The food is local at Rendezvous Exeter and the wines change regularly.

Rendezvous offers loads of different wines by the glass which I always appreciate.

Rendezvous Wine List on a blackboard
Great wine list at Rendezvous

I did love how Rendezvous Wine Bar structured their wine list – this is the only wine bar I have ever visited that had a specific section for Full-Bodied Complex White wines – which are my favourites.

Rendezvous Wine bar tables
The dining room at Rendezvous

The restaurant at Rendezvous has a lovely cosy feel and it is a European style/local menu eg featuring the usual suspects of delicious sounding local versions of lamb, pork, steak etc. I enjoyed a very tasty steak and can highly recommend their thick-cut chips.

4. Stables

Stables Exeter offers expert cider tastings. We tried about 8 different ciders – a mix of styles and sparkling and non-sparkling – and learned a lot about how to make cider.

Stables Cider Exeter tasting glasses
Cider Tasting at Stables

5. Harry’s Restaurant

Harry’s is family-owned and has all four daughters working in the restaurant. It is a much-loved spot by local’s and it is easy to see why.

Harry’s has a lovely relaxed feel and a brilliant menu. I tried the steak fajitas which I highly recommend.

chicken fajitas on a table at Harry's Exeter
Fajitas at Harry’s Exeter

However, Harry’s is most famous for one thing – Harry’s Heart Attack dessert. This gigantic dessert – I am not sure that my photo does it justice – is filled with all things chocolate and vanilla and sweets and cream and a flake and more. This is definitely one for sharing.

Harrys Exeter Heart Attack dessert with whipped cream and lots of ice cream
The Harry’s Heart Attack Dessert

6. Exeter Brewery

Exeter Brewery brews on-site and has a bar called The Tap Room which is open every Thursday from 5 pm-11 pm. Well worth a visit if you enjoy a pint or three.

Exeter Brewery pint of beer on a beer mat on a bar
Time for a Pint

7. The Terrace Restaurant

The Terrace Restaurant is located on a rooftop which a fantastic outside area in the middle of Exeter. The menu is at The Terrace Restaurant Exeter is modern European and utilises local ingredients.

Terrace restaurant Exeter outdoor seating area up close
Ready for cool weather at Terrace Exeter

Exeter Hotels – A Boutique Option

A fantastic boutique hotel option is Southernhay House in Exeter. This independently-owned townhouse has just 10 luxurious bedrooms and is located very close to the Exeter Cathedral. Luxury toiletries, first-class beds and quality linen are all on offer.

Southernhay House also has an excellent restaurant with a menu full of locally sourced and seasonal items. There is al fresco dining when the weather suits.

Add to this an outstanding bar with a great cocktail menu and this is my kind of boutique hotel.

⇒ Southernhay House > Read Reviews on Trip Advisor Book Your Stay

How to get to Exeter

Exeter is the second biggest city after Plymouth in Devon. Exeter is an international airport so it is possible to fly their directly from many cities in Europe.

Flights to Exeter

Alternatively, travel by train to Exeter. The fastest train from London is 2 hours each way and slowest 4 hours each way. The largest number of trains leave from Paddington Station.

⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 67 Fascinating Facts about London, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options.

Who Paid for What in this Post?

Visit GreatBritain and Visit Exeter covered the cost of getting me to Exeter and getting me home, accommodation, activities and virtually all of my meals – thanks, guys. But as always my opinions are my own.

If you click through on some of the links in this post and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Just wanted to make sure that you knew.


Related Posts:

Castles in Cornwall

Boutique Hotels in Cornwall

Spa Hotels in South West England

Day Trip to Brighton

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Exeter in South Devon has a fantastic food scene - check out my guide to the 6 Best Exeter Cafes based on the quality of their coffee #devon#england#devonengland#exeter#exeterdevon#exeterengland#exetercafes#exmouthbays#exeterthingstodoin#exetertravel#englandtravel#englandthingstodoin#devontravel#devonthingstodoin#devonsouth#devoncoast#devonplacestovisit#exeterrestaurants


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Souhila Berry

Thursday 6th of December 2018

Hi Boutique Adventurer , great article and so inspiring for the Exeter café scene. We are just 4 months old and situated in the heart of Dawlish. Inspired by the Melbourne brunch culture and taking influences from French heritage we are offering a new vision in Dawlish.

It's been an amazing 4 months, all our food is cooked to order, fresh and inventive from smoothie bowls to amazing egg dishes. We are small and welcoming and have an ever expanding family of regulars looking for something different.

Pop by and say hello ,come for brunch and keep up the good work! Souhila Berry

The Boutique Adventurer

Friday 7th of December 2018

sounds great! If I am in the area I definitely will! Inspired by Melbourne brunch is always a good start!


Friday 2nd of November 2018

thanks for this super post. keep sharing

Jamie Irwin

Thursday 1st of November 2018

Guys, thanks for this super in-depth post :)

We did something similar when we went to Exeter. We have a team of field experts who camped a few weekends in Dawlish - getting popup gazebos. Put them up, took them down and had a bit of a laugh while reviewing. If you're interested, the resource is here:

Either way, keep up the awesome work.

The Boutique Adventurer

Friday 2nd of November 2018

thanks Jamie! love the idea of a pop up gazebo! not so sure about the camping bit thought :-)

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