19 Fun and Free things to do in and around Exeter for July and Summer 2018

Whoop it finally feels like Summer is here. The hot weather looks like it’s here for this week and I’m hoping it’s going to continue into July.  I don’t know about you, but I often find that activities, days out and all-round general fun can soon add up, so I thought it would be a fab idea to give you a great round up of some fantastic free things to do during July and through the summer.

I’ve got a few favourites up my sleeve to share with you but I’ve also done some research and found some amazing activities for you to do in and around Exeter this month.



summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Freemovement is a FREE volunteer-led activity group based in Exeter. Our aim is to get people off the sofa and moving for the benefit of their physical and mental health. Everyone in every community is welcome to join us to exercise & socialise. They currently deliver 6 sessions across 5 parks within Exeter. Which are during weekday evenings starting at 18.30 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as well as on Saturday morning at 09.00

More info available here.


Walk the Mamhead trail

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

The Mamhead trail is an absolute beaut of a walk. It’s a little further out than Haldon Forest but is much quieter, the car park is free and you get an amazing view out over the estuary. No bikes allowed so is perfect if you’ve got a dog like mine that’s petrified of them!  You can find out more info on my blog from last year.


Active Mums Cycle rides

Get  Active Exeter have set up several ‘Let’s Ride’ sessions across the city. Most of these are cycle rides aimed at getting women back on bikes and being more active with their kids. They provide all equipment- bikes/helmets/child seats/trailers and each ride has a leader that takes the group on the ride.  There are rides starting from the Quay, Wonford Sports centre and Cranbrook.

Rides must be booked in advance so head to https://www.letsride.co.uk and use the search function for Exeter and see what they’ve got planned.


Queens Drive Play Space, Exmouth Seafront

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

The new Queens Drive Play Space is now open. It’s got an amazing Jurassic themed play park, seating area and food vendors. The play park is completely free and is a big hit with the kids.  There are lots of events being put on in the space over the summer but on Saturdays, in July there are free circus workshops with Ben Cornish. You can find out more on their website.

Go to the beach!

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Talking of seafronts, we live in the beautiful South West. We are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. Our family favourites are Dawlish Warren and Exmouth but we haven’t ventured down to any South Hams beaches yet and I’ve heard they are absolutely lush. So what are you waiting for, get the car loaded up, pack a picnic and go explore!


Idefest 2018

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Idefest is a free family fun day at the Twisted Oak in Ide on Saturday 21st July 12 pm- late.  It looks like they’ve got loads planned including a hog roast, lots of inflatables, live music and lots lots more.  Activities and food at the event will be charged but all money goes to Devon Air Ambulance Trust.  Find out more here.


Plogging with Plastic Free Exeter 

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

The team behind Plastic Free Exeter are bringing us the latest craze from Scandinavia, Jogging while picking up litter- PLOGGING!

Join them outside On the Waterfront on July 1st at 11 am, get a spot of plogging in and learn from the team more about their mission and what they are up to. Full details available here on their Facebook event.


Gandy Street Summer Fete

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Gandy Street hosts a summer fete this summer on July 8th from 1-4.

With cream teas, hook-a-duck, coconut shy, tombola, face painters, live music, stalls and more!

Fancy dress competition open to 3 categories, with fantastic prizes: 1 – 12 years, 13-17, 18+. Winners announced 15:30 at The Cauldron Inn Exeter.

A not to be missed event to mark the launch of summer. Discover more of Exeter and enjoy Gandy Street.


Exeter Craft Festival

From 5th -7th July on Cathedral Green there is a great craft festival bringing together some of the best crafts and artists available in the South West. It’s family friendly and free. Go and check out what they have to offer.


Wimbledon Big Screen @Princesshay

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Princesshay is putting on live free screenings of the whole Wimbledon tournament on a big screen in Princesshay Square. The games run between 2-15th July and all screenings are free. Also on Saturday 7th July Exeter University Tennis club will be on hand to help you get active, running mini sessions and activities.  All FREE!


Storytime and Duplo at St Thomas Library

Every Monday and Friday (not just in July!)  St Thomas Library run free storytime sessions and Duplo play.  James and Zoe read a selection of stories each week and then get out a big box of Duplo. My littles love these sessions. Suitable for preschool age children and their parents. Sessions run from 2:15-3  every Monday and Friday.


Exeter Vegan Market

Brand new to Exeter with the first market just happening this last weekend. It’s monthly central Exeter not for profit vegan market 10 am – 2 pm co-ordinated by Sweet Vegan Cakes, Fairfoods & Exeter Friends For Animals (EFFA), proceeds will support EFFA campaigns. July’s market is on Saturday 21st July 10-2 at Exeter Corn Exchange.


Exeter Art Society Summer Exhibition

Exeter art society is holding their Summer exhibition at the Custom House on the Quayside between Saturday 7th and Sunday 22nd July. All pieces are original paintings by local artists. The exhibition is open daily between 10-4:30 and entry is free.


Montgomery School Fayre

I am probably biased as a Monty Mum, but Montgomery does an awesome Summer Fayre. This year it’s Underwater themed and everyone is welcome. There’s a bar, bbq, live music, GoKarts, bouncy castles and an awesome raffle. 

This year the Fayre is on Friday 13th July 3:15-7: 30 pm.

Obviously, most schools are holding summer fayres over the next month or so, so if you fancy supporting your local school get in touch with them and find out when it is!


Pop Up sensory Quiet time At Central Library

Sense Abilities are partnering with Exeter Library to provide a pop-up sensory environment for all to explore whilst enjoying Exeter Libraries  Quiet Time Session.

There will be a Dark Tent with interactive lighting, an interactive Hurricane Tube, White Projection Hut with a Bean Bag where you can sit and read your favourite book and lot’s more

Sounds like bliss to me! Why not go and join them for a quiet and peaceful yet interactive couple of hours between 5pm-7pm on 12th July.


Open Air Free Tai Chi in Priory Park

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Another fab free event from Get Active Exeter. Every Monday in July for Children aged 12 and over (must be accompanied by an adult) and adults. 6:30-7:45. Free Tai Chi drop-in sessions in Priory Park. There seem to be so many opportunities to get active for free in Exeter at the moment!


Summer Jazz on the Quay

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Every Sunday in July there is free Jazz on the Quay. Exeter City Council in partnership with the Quay trust are putting on some lovely summer concerts for us.

So head on down to the Quay and spend a lovely Sunday afternoon on Exeter’s historic quayside and experience music and fun for all the family!

12.30pm – 3.30pm at the Transit Shed, just adjacent to Exeter’s beautiful Custom House, which is now the home of the quayside visitor centre.

Performance Programme

1 July      City Steam Jazz Band

8 July      City Steam Jazz Band

15 July    Pete Miller’s Magnolia Jazz Band

22 July    La Vie en Rose


St Thomas Splash Park/ Heavitree paddling pools

We’ve got some great parks in the city and we are really lucky to have water fun in two of them. St Thomas splash park is lots of fun and a big hit with my kids for splashy, squirty, running around fun. Heavitree Paddling pools are great too and a big hit with smaller ones. Both are open from 10 am until 7 pm daily throughout the summer months.


The Trench: The missing of the Somme

summer activities in Exeter, exploring exeter

Shrouds of the Somme is a piece of art depicting more than 72,000 servicemen killed in Britain’s bloodiest battle.

The extraordinary artwork will be a focal point this year as the nation commemorates 100 years since the end of the First World War. Thousands of shrouded figures will be stacked into a free-standing wooden representation of a ‘trench’ along which visitors will be able to walk.

Exeter was where 19,240 Shrouds were first displayed in 2016 to commemorate those killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The Trench will be at Northernhay Gardens, from June 30 – July 8, 9am to 8pm.


Well, that’s my roundup of the fun AND free things to do this July. What an amazing city we live in with such awesome opportunities. Please do let us know if you get up to any of these. We’d love to see your pictures share them with us on Facebook/Insta/Twitter using the hashtag #exploringexeter.

I’m looking forward to sharing all of my top tips to make your summer holidays totally lush. Enjoy!


Post by: Steph Walker 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,