I’m delighted that Matilda has written a guest post for my blog! Here she is with 10 place ideas for dates in the Exeter area. Kate
This is one of my favourite places to take people in Exeter. Book-Cycle is like Aladdin’s Cave for any fellow book lovers out there – stacked with beautiful yellowed classics, books on every niche you could think of, and that addictive old book smell. They use a pay-what-you-feel system, which is fantastic for the days when you’re not feeling so flush. And let’s be honest, the best way to get to know a person is through their bookshelf.
2. Firehouse Quiz
This is not such a conventional date choice, but hear me out. For those that are unfamiliar with Firehouse, it’s the pub that J. K. Rowling based the Leaky Cauldron on, and is an Exeter favourite for its warm ambience, magnificent pizza and cheap drinks. The quiz takes it a step further – with a pair of extremely eccentric hosts, you get everything from general knowledge to music to mini-games to dance offs. Another fast and fun way to get to know someone new.
3. Urban Burger/Underground
Another Exeter favourite, Urban Burger first appears to be a tiny retro burger joint, but if you head downstairs, you’ll also find an effortlessly cool cocktail bar (that will serve you in the restaurant as well). They have teapots-for-two, each with a fun twist on the Long Island Iced Tea (as well as the classic if you prefer), candle-lit corners with beanbag chairs and even a miniature dancefloor if the mood takes you.
4. The Bike Shed
The Bike Shed is my favourite place in Exeter. It has a quirky bar, filled with mismatched furniture and eclectic décor, it’s unlike anywhere else in Exeter. As well as the bar (which is worth a visit on its own), its theatre hosts all-manner of events, from theatre to comedy to poetry to film. Wherever your interests lie, this is definitely the place to go.
5. The Quay
This is many people’s first choice to take dates, family and visitors from their hometowns. It’s undeniably beautiful, with swans and ducks flocking in the daytime and quaint fairy-lights and stunning sunsets at night. With its lively pubs and bars, cosy cafes, restaurants antiques shops, it makes the perfect place for a date at any time of day. If you’re more adventurous, you can even hire canoes and kayaks to explore the river further.
6. Boozy Bowling
Bowling has long been a staple of dating culture. While Exeter’s Tenpin is usually a top choice for society socials and flat pre-drinks, it makes a fun date as well. Their Tuesday student deals make it a very affordable date, while still avoiding the inherent awkwardness of taking a stranger to dinner. There’s also a fully-stocked arcade, in case the bowling doesn’t quite reveal that competitive streak.
7. Mission Escape
As an unrivalled escape game enthusiast, for me, no relationship is real until you’ve tested it here. Exeter’s only escape game consists of three rooms, and for those of you unfamiliar with the concept, each room involves a series of games and puzzles that you have an hour to solve in order to escape the room. Nothing like being locked in a room alone with someone under pressure to get to know them.
While technically not in Exeter, I didn’t feel this list would be complete without our own little holiday destination. The beach is a great day out on its own, but combined with the great pubs, ice cream parlours, water sports and summer festivals, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic date destination in the South West.
9. The Glorious Art House
As you may have noticed by now, I like dates that involve activities (and ideally also alcohol), but The Glorious Art House is a simple coffee shop on Fore Street that does fantastic homemade food, coffee, and their hot chocolate is something of legend (think marshmallows, cream, chocolate flakes: the works). They also sell work from local artists which is adds to this venue’s offbeat yet comfortable feel.
10. Al Farid
Another personal favourite is the Moroccan restaurant on Cathedral Green. It’s run by a lovely Moroccan family who have decked the whole place out with authentic Middle Eastern décor (which is worth a visit in itself). They have a shisha bar on the top floor and serve a combination of meals and mezze platters (which I cannot recommend enough). The food, atmosphere and service are impeccable, and a fantastic choice for any date.