Exeter’s Underground Passages extend opening hours for school holidays
Published: 28 July 2023
With showery weather forecast, now’s the perfect time to get inside and visit Exeter’s 14th century Underground Passages, where the opening hours have been extended for the summer holidays.
The historical attraction in the heart of Exeter is now open Wednesdays – an extra day a week – with longer opening hours for the school holidays.
People can now visit the Passages during the school holidays from Wednesdays to Sundays, from 10am to 4pm. The first tour of the day is at 10.30am, with the last tour at 3pm.
This summer the attraction has introduced an on-line booking facility with tickets being able to be purchased at https://www.exetercornexchange.co.uk/whats-on/exeters-underground-passages-tours/
Last year more than 12,000 people visited the Passages, and if the weather perks up and the temperature rises, it’s also a great place to go to cool down. Six metres below street level, the temperature is a pleasant 16C.
Originally designed to transport clean drinking water from natural springs into the heart of the city, the vaulted tunnels today help bring history to life.
Stretching beneath Exeter High Street, the labyrinth of passages echo stories of wars, sieges, and pestilence over the centuries, holding visitors captive with their raw and profound history.
For those who step inside, it's not just the mystery of the passages that impresses, but the educational opportunity they present. The Underground Passages Heritage Centre allows visitors to engage with interactive exhibits that put the city's rich history at their fingertips, enhancing the overall experience.
Judy, a recent visitor, hailed the passages as a "fascinating insight into history," adding that it’s “well worth a visit and good value for money."
Holly, another satisfied tourist, praised the informative nature of the tour and was particularly taken with her guide, Rachel. Holly said: "Our tour guide Rachel was funny and charismatic and made the whole experience better."
The younger generation also find the journey through the passages exhilarating. Jack recently took his 6-year-old son on a visit and they "both absolutely loved it." The ‘friendly staff’ made the experience enjoyable and he has since recommended the trip to friends and family.
As the Underground Passages continue to draw crowds and positive reviews, they serve as a testament to Exeter's resilience, historical richness, and the power of shared community spaces that bridge the present with the past.
It’s an attraction deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, bringing the thrill of discovery and an enriching educational experience to thousands of visitors.