4 June 2021

Office leasing guide: Exeter

Offices to rent in Exeter

Exeter describes itself as a small city that packs a big punch. In terms of UK history, this is certainly true. Exeter has been an important part of Devon and South West England for over 2,000 years. The city was established by the Romans before becoming a key religious centre in the Middle Ages. From here, it boomed due to the international wool trade before falling slowly into decline. After the city took extensive damage during the second world war, large parts of it were redeveloped, and Exeter began a new chapter as a business and tourism hub for Devon and Cornwall.

It’s not hard to see why. The city’s location means that it is surrounded by miles and miles of rolling British countryside, while the World Heritage Jurassic Coast is also close by. The city itself is a bustling area full of historical attractions like the famous cathedral as well as independent art galleries and venues for sports and music.

But Exeter is not only a place to come for a good day out. The city is all business too, with over 35,000 commuters travelling in from the surrounding area every day. Along with Bristol, Exeter is the most important business hub in the South West of England. The University of Exeter also attracts large numbers of students to the city every year, hoping to start their professional lives at the prestigious institution.

Want to find out more about renting an office in Exeter? Here’s everything you need to know about this busy southern city.  

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There are lots of business areas in Exeter

Businesses eager to set up a base in the South West of England have plenty of choice in Exeter. The city centre is full of shops and office buildings for those that want to be in the heart of everything. For those in more specialised industries, there is a range of designated business zones such as Exeter Business Park and Matford Business Park. Technical innovators might find a good home in Exeter Science Park and the Innovation Centre, while industrial businesses have lots of trading and industrial estates to choose from. Businesses of every kind should be able to find a suitable location in Exeter.

Exeter is well connected

There are three main stations in and around Exeter

Exeter is the main railway hub within the southwest. This means that it is not only linked to the local area but that it serves as the main gateway to the rest of the country by train. Exeter St Davids handles most of the traffic coming from the South West Peninsula’s rail network from places like Paignton, Exmouth, Barnstaple and Okehampton. Exeter Central is located in the city centre and has the main route to Bristol and London. Exeter St Thomas, meanwhile, services the western side of the city and six suburban stations serve local routes.

Exeter is connected to the UK motorway system

One end of the M5 motorway starts in Exeter and goes past Bristol to Birmingham. At Bristol, drivers can connect to the M4, which takes them to either London or South Wales. For a more direct route to the capital, there is the A30 via the A303 and M3. Going in the opposite direction, the A38 connects Exeter to Plymouth and the south of Cornwall.

It’s not hard to find a bus route in Exeter

Local bus services in the city are run predominantly by Stagecoach South West and have regular routes around the area. With such a high student population, the city is also a popular destination for national coach operators like Megabus and National Express. These services allow Exeter residents to travel across the country to cities like Bristol, London or Birmingham.

Exeter Airport is just outside the city

Exeter Airport is just to the east of the city, providing a quick and easy way to get a bit further afield. Travellers can get to Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh in under two hours or head off to a number of European destinations. From the city centre, a journey by bus will take you 30 minutes.

Exeter is full of high-quality business amenities

There are plenty of hotels for business travellers in Exeter

The city is full of great places for business or event visitors to stay. Exeter even holds the distinction of being home to the oldest running hotel in the UK, The Royal Clarence Hotel. It was built in 1769, although some parts of the structure can be dated back to the 1500s. Other impressive places to stay include the Hotel Du Vin Exeter and Townhouse Exeter. The former has an upscale bar and restaurant as well as a pool, while the latter is a striking building located right in the heart of the city.

Of course, a city as busy as Exeter also has a range of hotels at the more budget end of the scale. Travellers will find plenty to suit their needs from well-established brands like Holiday Inn Express Exeter, Mercure Exeter Rougemont Hotel and Jurys Inn Exeter. With an airport and major railway hub located in and around the city, there are certainly never any shortages of places to stay in Exeter.

Exeter has lots of great restaurants

Having access to great restaurants and places to eat is essential for any business. Not just for wining and dining clients but also for celebrating success and blowing off steam at the end of the week. And in this regard, Exeter has plenty to choose from. Whether you want to drop in for a quick treat and coffee at The Lin Den, or you want to try out some modern British cuisine at the Sabatini Exeter, the city centre is full of delicious smells and tantalising menus. Just about every cuisine is available, too, from the Lebanese Comptoir Libanais to the strictly veggie Herbies.


You’ll find lots of meeting rooms and events space across Exeter

Being a great destination for business is about more than just good office space, and Exeter offers plenty of scope to scale up your space or get a change of scenery. If you are hosting an event or just need a good place to inspire your creativity, you can find a host of spaces designed with businesses in mind. Harry’s Meeting Rooms, Exeter City Space and Reed Hall at the University of Exeter are good choices for meeting clients. If you need something bigger for an event, you can try the Exeter Business Hub or the XCentre.

There are a whole range of other facilities in Exete

Whether you need to work out a bit of stress or simply have energy to spare, you’ll find lots of gyms in Exeter. All the established names are present, such as David Lloyd, PureGym and Fitness First, as well as a few other choices too. If you are looking for something a bit different from weights and treadmills, why not head over to Exeter Golf and Country Club or do some classes at Exeter Martial Arts?

If it is a bit of retail therapy you need, the city centre is a great place to indulge. Here you will find Princesshay, which has a great range of all the best-known retail brands. From there, you can stroll down the High Street to find even more popular outlets. If you want something a little more individual, you can head over to the West Quarter or the Guildhall to explore the local independent business and art scene.

Offices, Serviced offices and co-working spaces in Exeter

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Notable office tenants in Exeter

  • Met Office
  • Devon County Council
  • Good Growth
  • Lightfoot

Key agents in Exeter 

  • Carter Jonas LLP
  • Maze LTD
  • Stratton Creber Commercial
  • Pearce Property Consultants

Interesting facts about Exeter

  • The UK’s Exeter may be the original – but it is not the only one. In fact, seven other places now share the name – including towns in Canada and Pennsylvania.
  • Exeter was the last place in the UK to execute a woman for witchcraft.
  • The Exeter Guildhall is the oldest civic building in the UK that is still in use – some parts of the building date back to around 1160 when it used by an association of artisans and merchants to oversee trade in the area.
  • Harry Potter author JK Rowling and international megastar Chris Martin are among the city’s most famous former residents.
  • If you are a fan of dark, damp and cramped spaces, then the medieval underground passages underneath the city are for you – they were built to bring clean water into the city in the 14th