A Guide to Living in Exeter as a Student

By on July 1st, 2022


As a student in Exeter, you have the best of both worlds – a beautiful city with stunning views and a vibrant and lively atmosphere. With an abundance of restaurants, clubs, pubs and activities, it is the perfect place to wind down after a day of studying. At Downing Students, we want to ensure that you make the most out of your student experience so we have created a list of things to do and places to see to make your experience in Exeter the best it can be!

Finding Student Accommodation in Exeter 

Downing Students want to make sure that your student experience in Exeter is the best it can be so we offer luxury studio student apartments conveniently located in Exeter city centre with first-class amenities, a lounge and a games room! Check out our Exeter accommodation today.

Places To Eat in Exeter 

Exeter has so many student budget-friendly places to eat. Here are some of our favourite places to grab a bite to eat.

The Old Firehouse

An extensive list of traditional and quirky pizzas are available, each a whopping 14 inches and sharable between three! With prices starting from £12.50 for a giant Margherita, that’s just over £4 each when split between three, this is the perfect cosy venue to catch up with friends. Not to mention that food is served until 2:00am, so they can even cater for your late night cravings.

The Ram

Looking for somewhere to eat but can’t be bothered leaving campus? The Ram is a pub in the same building as the Exeter student campus library. Offering loaded fries, mac and cheese, and Nachos, The Ram has all of your cravings covered on a budget.

Red Panda

Looking for something quicker and healthier? Red Panda offers South-East Asian food perfect to take away for lunch or dinner. Prices start at just £4.80 for a soft steamed bao bun with a filling of your choice.

Turtle Bay

If you’re wanting a venue to drink and eat on a budget, look no further than Turtle Bay. Offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, bottomless brunch and 2 for 1 cocktails, Turtle Bay is the perfect opportunity to try Caribbean-inspired cuisine and budget-friendly cocktails.

Best Bars for Students in Exeter 

Exeter’s nightlife has something for everyone. Here are some of our favourite chilled-out and dressier venues to suit every occasion.

The Victoria Inn

Situated next to Streatham Campus and right in the middle of Exeter’s student housing area, The Victoria Inn acts as many student’s local pub. With live music, open mic nights and games consoles, The Victoria Inn is the perfect place to have a chilled-out drink with friends after Uni.

The Terrace

With a stunning rooftop bar, The Terrace is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for something classier. On Friday nights you can expect live DJs, cocktails and free entry. However, be aware that a cocktail will set you back about £9.


Timepiece is one of Exeter’s most popular nightclubs amongst students with student specific events being held across the week. University sports team socials often take place here too!

The Vaults

The Vaults is the go-to LGBTQ+ club in Exeter and welcome everyone! Offering pop throwbacks, a disco floor and free entry, The Vaults is the perfect venue to sing your heart out and dance like no one’s watching.

Cafes to Study in Exeter

When you’re getting tired of studying in your room or at the library it might be nice to try somewhere new. We’ve got you covered with a list of great cafes to study and grab a freshly brewed coffee.

Coffee #1

With decently priced drinks and gentle background music, Coffee #1 is the perfect location to study. However, make sure your laptop is fully charged as there are few plug sockets.


A popular option for students, Artigiano offers delicious food and hot drinks and by evening transforms into a wine and cocktail bar; offering the perfect place to let loose after a day of studying

Boston Tea Party

Offering decently priced coffee and an extensive range of teas, Boston Tea Party is an ideal spot for students. Their upstairs area offers plenty of tables to study at and free WIFI.

Waterstones Café

Possibly the most budget-friendly option, Waterstones Café offers decently priced coffee and will offer 50p off if you bring your own cup. With free access to their WIFI, you won’t have to use up all of your data.

Exploring Exeter 

Living in Exeter as a student has it perks – you’ll never run out of things to do or places to see. Here are some places to explore to get settled into the city

University Campus

When settling into Exeter student life, it may be helpful to visit key University locations to try understand the campus better. We recommend visiting whichever University of Exeter Campus you’ll be based at (Streatham or St Luke’s Campus) and have a little explore.

University hot spots

It may be helpful to visit some of the University hot spots such as Exeter Student’s Guild and the on-campus sports facilities as these are central University hubs. Not to mention you should locate The Ram student bar, it’s a must.


Exeter’s beautiful and historic quayside is the perfect location for a refreshing walk. Why not hire a bike or canoe from the Quayside as a flat icebreaker activity?

The Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral is located right in the centre of town and is one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Why not explore, take some touristy pictures or sit on the Cathedral green in the sunshine with your flatmates.

Cost of Living in Exeter for Students 

Student living in Exeter can be expensive and it’s so easy to blow your student loan as soon as it comes in. We recommend budgeting effectively using a budgeting tool. Alternatively, it may be easier to budget if you receive money weekly instead of termly – you could set up a standing order that transfers a weekly allowance from your student loan account to a spending account to make this easier.

  • Living costs are likely to include:
  • Student accommodation
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries/household essentials
  • Course equipment (books)
  • Travel (train tickets)
  • Bills (mobile phone)
  • Social activities

We understand that budgeting is hard and it may feel like you always have money going out of your bank so here are some ways that you may be able to save money:


Check if your textbooks are available to borrow from the library before purchasing them. If you need to buy them, look to see if anyone is selling them second hand on Facebook, eBay etc.

Second hand items

Before buying items for your accommodation, such as kitchen equipment or extra storage, check student Facebook groups or the Facebook marketplace to see if anyone is selling any or even giving them away for free!

Student discount

Download student discount apps to save as much money as possible when shopping, going out or doing activities.

Meal Prep

Cooking becomes cheaper if you make large batches and meal prep several meals at once. There’s nothing worse than letting food go to waste!

Travel in Exeter 


Unirider bus passes are available to students in Exeter meaning students can save money should they regularly use bus travel. Student bus passes are available here.

Students can also use the free shuttle bus that operates between the Exeter campuses and St David’s Railway Station to cater for train commuters.


Cycle facilities are available at both Streatham and St Luke’s campuses.

Electric scooters/bikes

Exeter city centre and University campuses are scattered with electric scooters and bikes available to rent from only 5p per minute. This makes travelling around the city cheap and easy and may just save you from being late to a lecture!

Part-Time Jobs in Exeter 

The University of Exeter has its own career zone with a casual student job section that may be worth looking through. In the meantime, here are some casual job ideas:

Brand ambassador

Being a brand ambassador is a great way to make money around your studies. Big companies, such as Virgin, hire student brand ambassadors to represent the brand on University campus. This makes it a great opportunity to make connections with big companies. Downing students offer the opportunity for residents to become a student ambassador! Message us on Instagram for more details.

Club Promoter

If you are looking to work from home, club promoting might be a good option for you. Your job is to share club events on social media and sell tickets to get paid commission.

At Downing Students, we want you to feel well-prepared and ready to enjoy your student experience in Exeter. We hope this list will help you get settled in, find a great accommodation and encourage you to try out some new and exciting bars and restaurants.

Check out our student accommodation in Exeter or contact us if you need any more help on finding your new home.

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