We left Southampton on 27th Monday morning. Monday was a public holiday in UK. We decided to drive along back roads and visit some of the coastal towns on our way to Exeter. We stopped at a small country fair, then in a small tourist town with food stalls and tourist shops. Mala bought some home made cheese, a packet of home made ginger biscuits and an icecream to eat on our way while driving.
We drove through a national park and then through some beautiful valleys. In some areas we drove through miles and miles of tree lined roads that gave the feeling of driving through a never ending arch.
The day started with sunshine, but as the day progressed, the sky became clouded. When we arrived at the Holiday inn express in Exeter, it was very cold. We visited a few shops in the area, one selling home appliances and cooking utencils. Mala spent quite some time in that shop and ended up buying a few items which are easy to carry in our baggage.
The hotel is a typical holiday Inn express with basic facilities. The reception is very helpful and polite. Free parking, free breakfast and free WiFi make them very attractive to travellers. We were spending two days in Exeter. We had a very light dinner in the hotel and decided to sleep early to explore the city next day.
The main tourist attraction in Exeter is the Exeter Cathedral. It opens to public from 9:00 AM, but the first guided tour starts at 11:00AM. We decided to go there around 10:00 AM and then join the guided tour at 11:00AM. The construction of the cathedral started in 1112. It was initially built in the Norman style, but later from 1270 to 1350, major rebuilding projects in decorated Gothic style were undertaken by six bishops. The tour guide, a very gentle soft spoken lady, took nearly two ours taking us through the intricate details of the cathedral structure.
The ceiling or vault of the cathedral has been created as a vision of heaven. Some of the main features are 1. The Minstrels’ Gallery added in 1360, 2. The Martyrs Pulpit added in 1870 3. Exeter Astronomical Clock 4. The Organ 5. The magnificent Bishops Throne 6. The great East Window .
Exeter is one of the main towns in Devon. We did a fair amount of research to find the best restaurant to have Devonshire tea. The most popular restaurant seemed to be “Tea on The Green“. We talked to a lady and found this restaurant is in a building quite close to the cathedral. She is from the area and knew the location of the restaurant, but did not know it is so well known. We went there after visiting the cathedral, but were told that they start serving afternoon tea only at 2:30PM. We decided to do some window shopping in the main shopping area and then come back for tea at 2:30PM.
On the main street, Mala found a Mark and Spencer shop and ended up buying a few items. I resisted the idea of buying a shirt, though they were comparatively cheap. We walked along the busy pavements looking at things, but the air was getting colder and we headed back to the restaurant for our cup of Devonshire tea. Devonshire tea or cream tea is served with scones. There were many versions of the scones and we ordered two different kinds just to try out. One is plain scones served with clotted cream and jam, and the other savoury scones served with three types of cheese and two different hot chutneys.
When we came back to the hotel, it was about 5:00PM and we were in no mood to have dinner again.
Tomorrow we are leaving Exeter and planning to spend one night in Bath which is famous for Roman Baths.