On the day that I had my bus back to Bristol Airport, my friend Sophie recommended that we have a shopping day in Exeter. Exeter is one of Devon’s most populated cities and it’s full of fantastic of independent shops, perfect for a day of shopping. I’ll be discussing my favorite shops that I visited in Exeter as well as what to do in Exeter, including Harry Potter inspired places to visit in Exeter to help you have a lovely day out in Exeter.
About Exeter, Devon
Exeter is one of Devon’s largest cities and it is said that J.K. Rowling herself has been inspired by Exeter. She attended the university there and if you look around a little, you can imagine yourself in her fantasy universe. The city itself was settled prior to Roman times and you can still see traces of its history around the city today.
Even for those without a Harry Potter obsession, Exeter is a stunning city with great shopping and countless things to do. It’s very easy to spend a day in Exeter wandering its picturesque streets.
Where to stay in Exeter
If you’re looking for something truly special, you can stay on the grounds of Exeter Castle, which dates back to 1068. For a centrally located boutique hotel in Asheville, City Gate offers a central location and a stylish stay.
The best independent shopping district in Exeter: Fore Street
Fore Street is one of the best independent shopping streets in Exeter! This street filled with alternative shops and cafes is perfect for those who are looking for something different…
McCoy’s Arcade is a charming restored arcade full of independent shops includes Manson’s Guitars, which has sold guitars to famous bands such as the Arctic Monkeys. Be sure to step inside for the best independent shopping in Exeter as well as coffee and tea!
Hops and Crafts
With over 250 beers, this small beer shop along the McCoy Arcade is perfect for beer lovers looking for something new as it has Exeter’s largest beer selection. You can check their selection ahead if you’re seeking out a rare beer….
The Real McCoy
The Real McCoy was my favorite vintage shop that I visited in Exeter with something for every budget. What I loved about their pretty sizable store was that they mixed in real vintage with vintage style dresses. It’s very clear that person running this store has an eye for picking beauties. I saw some absolutely amazing vintage accessories from various decades as well as stunning real vintage dresses. I ended up buying an adorable Hell Bunny dress here, but it is easy to spend ages in here browsing. There’s a good vintage selection for men too!
For those hoping to do some quirky home shopping in Exeter, Peachy Tipi is your place. They stock retro and one-of-a-kind pieces that are guaranteed to add a pop of color into your home. If you love browsing flea market for unique finds, you’re going to be in heaven here!
This vintage-inspired dress shop / tattoo studio (what a combination) has a nice selection of alternative clothing, including vintage styles and steampunk inspired clothing. Even if you’re not looking for a new dress, you can also stop in for a tattoo or piercing.
Willow Hilson Vintage Boutique
For the real thing, step into Willow Hilson. This boutique stocks authentic vintage dresses that are handpicked by the owner. They’re exceptionally talented at determining the period, so if you’re looking for a truly unique dress that is one of a kind, step into this well-curated shop to browse their stunning selection.
Frocks in Swing Time
This cheerful dress shop has a wonderful selection of swing-style dresses that are likely to inspire any feminine person who steps in to try on at least one of them! Although the shop isn’t huge, the owners had a great hand-picked selection of my favorite retro style dress brands with cute designs and accessories.
Some other recommendations for what to do in Exeter
Where to have lunch
After a bit of wandering, we ended up at Red Panda. This vegan-friendly Asian fusion eatery has plenty of options for everyone. I loved the spicy Korean-inspired sandwich on bao, but non-spicy eaters will find plenty of choices too…
Harry Potter inspired places to find in Exeter
Although London is home to many locations straight out of Harry Potter films, J.K. Rowling is said to be quite inspired by Exter during her time attending university in Exeter. Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you’re likely to see much of Exeter on foot if you explore these Harry Potter “inspired” places.
It’s said that Gandy Street inspired J.K. Rowling’s vision of Diagon Alley. This cute street full of independent shops and cafes is likely to have something that will catch your eye. There are many shops that specialize in handmade jewelry, gifts, and goodies (like chocolate!)… If you can find 8 Gandy St, you can compare your vision of Diagon Alley to the real thing!
10 Cathedral Close – Door
It’s said that this stunning engraved wooden door was the inspiration for the Room of Requirement. The giant oak door dates back to the 14th century and leads to a beautiful courtyard.
…Could Exeter Cathedral be the inspiration for the Great Hall? Regardless of its relation to Harry Potter, Exeter Cathedral dates back to 1400 (when it was completed). This stunning cathedral has the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England, so be sure to step inside if you have the time!
If you’re a lover of creepy creatures, look for the Segestria florentina spider, which has neon green fangs along the exterior. (If not, don’t get too close to the outer walls!)
Where to stop off for a pint or a cocktail
Old Fire House
It turns out that J.K. Rowling did not frequent this pub, however many people swear that this could stand in for the Leaky Cauldron. This cozy pub that is popular with students has beautiful wooden beams and delicious pizza (if you get hungry while having a pint).
The Mugglers Inn
This Harry Potter inspired bar serves up various cocktails inspired by the books, including an alcohol butterbeer ripped straight out of your teenage psyche. Keep your eye out for moving paintings and other clever details!
Little Drop of Poison
This one is for the craft beer lovers. After finding this cozy little beer pub on Untappd, I had to stop by Little Drop of Poison just to peek inside! You’re likely to find some of Devon’s finest beers here although there’s more to come about this!