West Country Foodie Escape – 2 day itinerary

West Country Foodie Escape - 2 day itinerary

2 Days

This two day foodie and cultural escape from London travels to the ancient city of Exeter in Devon. Situated on the River Exe and dating back to the Roman era, city walls surround the city’s centre and impressive Gothic cathedral.

Exeter is one of the top food and drink destinations in the South West, with cafés and tea shops hidden within charming historic buildings, and restaurants and bistros serving top-quality Devonshire produce. The Exeter Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday, and the Exeter Street Food Market runs every weekend in the Guildhall. The annual Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is held in April.

Some of Exeter’s pubs are hundreds of years old – serving real ales and fine wines in historic settings around the Cathedral Yard and High Street, reputed to have once been frequented by Sir Francis Drake and Charles Dickens.

Getting To Exeter

Exeter is easily reachable from London on the train. Services run from London Paddington every 30 minutes and the journey time is under 2 hours 30 minutes. For short trips, individual rail tickets can be booked in advance through the Trainline. For longer journeys, one of the easiest and most relaxing ways to explore Britain is with a BritRail Pass, which allows unlimited journeys and the freedom to explore.

National Express and Megabus coaches travel from various starting points across the country to the bus and coach station at Paris Street in the centre of the city.

For those who prefer to take a domestic flight, or who are flying directly from Europe, Exeter International Airport is served by flights from around the UK (including Manchester, London City and Edinburgh) as well as European destinations. A bus service runs between the airport and the Paris Street bus and coach station.

Day 1

Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral

Completed in 1400,  the magnificent Exeter Cathedral is home to the longest uninterrupted medieval vaulted ceiling in the world. Guided group tours are available, including behind the scenes tours of the upper level of the cathedral and tower tours. Refreshments, including cream teas, can also be arranged for groups.

Exeter has a wide range of fine restaurants, from which to choose for an evening meal or, for those wishing to explore further afield, it is just a 20 minute train journey from Exeter St David’s to the quaint, historic town of Topsham, situated on the estuary of the River Exe.

Overnight in Exeter.

Day 2

Exeter Cookery school & Pebblebed Vineyard

Exeter Cookery School

After breakfast it’s “aprons on” for a taste of the UK’s South West, with a delicious half day course at Exeter Cookery School. Held in a stunning waterside venue at the heart of city, the school’s new weekly Taste of the South West Cookery Class works with the finest local produce to create classic cream teas or seasonal dishes using the freshest of meat, fish and vegetables.

Exeter Cookery School has already gained a reputation for providing fun and friendly hands-on cookery classes. Run by husband and wife team, Jim and Lucy Fisher, the cookery school extends a warm welcome to guests from all over the world.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity: Max 20
Frequency: Taste of the South West Class – Thursday 9.30am (2.5 hours)  *available from 2018
Please see course calendar for alternative class options
Private classes: Please contact to request
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Translation: French

Website: Exeter Cookery School

Pebblebed Vineyard

After a leisurely lunch at the next door bakery, or back in the centre of the city, it’s just a 15 minute taxi ride to Pebblebed Vineyard.

The experienced Pebblebed staff will provide an informative tour around the vineyard for approximately an hour, explaining all about the different vines and varietals, as well as the challenges that come with grape growing in Devon. Then the tour continues to Pebblebed’s winery* and, over the next hour, visitors are walked through the processes involved in making the different wines, given samples of four or five of the wines and discuss the vineyard or wine-making methods in more detail. There are also be wines available to buy from the cellar door.

*This experience is available between May and October.

For an additional cost per person, the vineyard can provide food after the tour at their Topsham Cellar (a 5 minute drive away – the vineyard does not provide transport).

During the grape harvest (from the end of September to mid-October) visitors are invited to help bring in the harvest.

Between November and April when the vineyard is closed, Pebblebed is also able to organise wine tasting and food experiences for groups of up to 45 people in the Topsham cellar, located in an old vaulted warehouse on the riverside near the Quay. The cellar has a similar feel to those found in many of the famous wine towns and villages of France and Italy, with the latest vintages lining the walls to taste and purchase. The cellar offers Pebblebed wines and also wines from other Devon vineyards, not to mention a range of bottled beers and lagers, local ciders and soft drinks.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity: Scheduled tours 1 – 15
Max 45 for private tasting experiences
Frequency: Winemakers Tour:
April – October
Thursdays at 4pm – 5.30pm
Fridays at 11am – 12.30pm (July to September only )
Saturdays at 11am – 12.30pm and 3pm – 4.30pm
Private tours: On request
Private tastings with food options: Available year-round on request
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Translation: No

Overnight in Exeter.

Website: Pebblebed Vineyards

Britrail Pass

For those exploring Britain by train, a BritRail Pass is the easiest and most cost-effective way to travel. For a single fixed price, pass holders can make unlimited train journeys around the whole country or a region of their choice. BritRail tickets are exclusive to overseas visitors so they will need to buy their ticket before they arrive in the UK.

Book on the Visit Britain shop