LOC Recommends

Here is a list of recommendations and tips for enjoying your stay in Exeter and the South West of the UK. There are many free spaces in the conference schedule, during which we would encourage either discussing and workshopping science topics with your fellow conference attendees, or exploring Exeter and it's surroundings.

On-campus recommendations and workshopping spaces

We have many different types of spaces available to conference attendees throughout campus, for workshopping as a group, individual study spaces, or as a quiet space for a mental health break. Below are some spots that we would particularly recommend, but you can also find your own study spaces on the University of Exeter website. Similarly, you can find the opening hours for any cafes and restaurants on campus here.
  • The Peter Chalk building: The Peter Chalk building, including the lecture halls and spaces used throughout the conference, are available to attendees outside of the lecture times.
  • The Forum: There are several spaces available throughout the Forum. There are tables on the second floor library entrance, and individual study spaces across from those, in front of the Forum Exploration Labs (signposted). The Forum also has several cafes, including Pret a Manger, Starbucks, and the Forum Kitchen, which offer tables and chairs.
  • Queens building: The Queens building hosts the Camper Coffee cafe, with many tables and chairs available in an informal study space.
Please note that University of Exeter is a cashless campus. Outlets will not accept cash, nor is there a working cash machine on campus.

Social activities and opportunities for small-scale excursions

The following are recommendations of activities you are welcome to undertake as part of the free-time slots in the programme, or if you are staying in Exeter for longer and looking for social activities to take part of. Note that some of these activities require specialist clothing/equipment; such as swimsuits if you are looking to take a dip at the beach, or walking gear (particularly, sturdy boots) if you are venturing out to Dartmoor or sections of the South West Coast Path.
  • Sports Park facilities: As a reminder, conference attendees automatically receive access to the Streatham Sports Park facilities. This includes an open-air pool and access to various sport courts and fields, as well as loans available for some sports equipment such as badminton racquets.
  • St Sidwell's Point Leisure Centre: Part of the network of Exeter Leisure Centre, St Sidwell's Point is a good option for anyone who would prefer a closed swimming pool, or would like to use the spa facilities and Gaia treatments.
  • Boom Battle Bar: Located in Exeter city centre, in the Guildhall shopping centre, is a smorgasbord of activities: from axe throwing to crazy golf, darts to virtual escape rooms. Boom Battle Bar offers something for everyone.
  • Explore the historical sites of Exeter: Exeter offers many historical sites to explore. We would suggest starting with a tour of the Cathedral, followed by exploring the underground Roman passages that snake beneath our feet. The RAMM museum is a free museum that often hosts unique and interesting exhibits.
  • Board: Gather up friends and fellow conference attendees and explore board games to your heart's content at Board.
  • Escape rooms: More than a few escape rooms are available in Exeter for any groups of attendees interested in trying to see if they can outsmart the hosts at either Locked in a Room or Red House Mysteries.
  • Hang out in the numerous parks and green spaces around Exeter: Exeter boasts numerous excellent parks and gardens that you can relax in, including Duryard and Belvidere Valley Park.
  • Celtic Tossers Axe Throwing: Perfect your axe-throwing aim with Celtic Tossers Axe Throwing.
  • Boneyard Arcade: Another one for those interested in gaming, Boneyard Arcade offers numerous vintage arcade machines to showcase your gaming skills on.
  • Indoor bouldering and climbing gym: The Climbing Hanger offers indoor bouldering and climbing opportunities.
During the conference programme's blocks of free-time for small-scale excursions, some members of the LOC will be going on casual excursions which you are welcome to join for any duration. LOC members will be signposting meeting places on Slack ahead of time, though some of the activities might change, dependent on the weather and LOC member availability. Please feel free to use the ideas below to shape your free-time, and dip in and out of these excursions as you desire.
  • Kayaking from Exeter quay to Double Locks pub and back: Kayaks or paddle boards can be rented from Saddles and Paddles. The Saddles and Paddles website recommends bringing a change of clothing, including potentially a swimsuit, and also provides pricing online for the hire of paddlesports equipment. Saddles and Paddles will provide tips for beginners and a route suitable for your desired activity level, though typically the most-used route tends to be down to Double Locks and back.
  • Cycling from Exeter quay to Turf Locks and back: Rent a bike from Saddles and Paddles and cycle along the picturesque River Exe. The Saddles and Paddles website provides pricing online for the hire of bikes, and can also provide tips for alternate routes dependent on your desired level of activity.
  • Casual games held at the Sports Park: A casual five-a-side football game, or a few rounds of badminton or rounders, suitable for beginners.
  • Climbing at the Quay Climbing Centre: Scale the climbing walls of the Quay Climbing Centre. Find pricing and more information at the Quay Climbing Centre.
  • Secondhand and independent book shopping crawl: Explore Exeter's literary scene by scouring book shops throughout the city, including secondhand shops such as BookCycle and independents like BookBag.

Exploring Exeter and the South West

Staying in Exeter for longer, or looking for a longer excursion? Find recommendations for larger-scale activities below, as well as some of the independent cafes, restaurants, and shops that the LOC recommends particularly. You can find a compendium of independent businesses, as well as more tourist information, on the Visit Exeter website. Exeter boasts an excellent secondhand and independent shopping scene. For further afield, both Visit Devon and Visit Cornwall provide excellent tourism planning information.

Activities and locations of note:

  • Beaches near Exeter: There are numerous beaches in reach of Exeter by public transport, including Exmouth and Dawlish Warren. Both provide regular train links and typical beachfront amenities such as public toilet facilities and restaurants. Cycle and walking paths are available to these destinations as well.
  • Walking the South West Coast Path: Walking the South West Coast Path, either in its entirety for those staying in Exeter longer, or merely as a short section, can link you to some of the most beautiful landscapes in England.
  • Walking through Dartmoor National Park: Exploring some sections of Dartmoor is possible with public transport from Exeter. Dartmoor boasts unique landscapes, including the rainforests that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien when writing Lord of the Rings, as well as other authors like Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.

A small selection of independent cafes and restaurants:

  • On the Waterfront: Located quayside, an atmospheric restaurant and bar.
  • Cake or Death: Award-winning vegan and gluten-free brownies, located just off of Fore Street.
  • Sacred Grounds: Vegan cafe located in McCoy's Arcade on Fore Street.
  • Al-Farid: Award-winning Moroccan and Lebanese mezze bar and restaurant, located in the Cathedral Yard.
  • Rendezvous: A wine bar and restaurant for discerning foodies, located in the Southernhay Quarter.
  • Calvo Loco Tapas bar: Authentic Spanish tapas, on Magdalen Road.
  • Cuckoo taproom and bottleshop: For anyone seeking unique brews and ales, located on Paris Street.
  • Tyepyedong: Excellent Asian fusion food on Sidwell Street.
  • Grapevine Brewhouse and Ruby Diner: On-site brewed ales and great burgers, located in Exmouth.
  • Grow Coffee: Located on South Street, this cafe offers large tables and is an independent roastery.
  • Topsham Brewery: An independent brewery located on the quay, offering wood-fired pizzas.
  • Exploding Bakery: With large tables, this Queen street cafe offers coffee and baked good from nearby independent shops.

Travel in and throughout Exeter

For travelling in and throughout Exeter, there are numerous public transportation options available.
  • Co-Bikes: These electric bikes can be picked up and dropped off at specific locations throughout Exeter, including from right on campus, in front of the Forum. An app is required to hire these bikes.
  • Bus: The primary bus operator in Exeter is Stagecoach. Buses demarcated with "Uni" are services that travel to campus. Currently, most local bus routes have capped fares at £2.