exeter panoramic cityscape

Exeter’s Underground
PassagesExeter
2 Paris Street
Devon EX1 1GA

 

And now for something completely different – explore Exeter’s medieval, underground passageways that stretch under the city’s streets.

These passages running under Exeter High Street and dating from the 14th century, are a unique ancient monument. No similar system of passages can be explored by the public elsewhere in Britain.

The narrow tunnels are beautifully lined with stone and brick and, like any unknown and unseen passages, they produced their own stories and legends. It was said that the tunnels were constructed to withstand sieges, or to avoid plague and there was even a ghost!

The truth is their purpose was simple; it was to bring clean drinking water from natural springs in fields lying outside the walled city, through lead pipes into the heart of Exeter.

Modern engineers could learn a thing or two from the 14th century. The pipes sometimes sprang leaks and repairs to buried pipes could only be carried out by digging them up as we do today. To avoid this disruption the passages were vaulted and it is down some of these vaulted passageways that visitors are guided.

Visiting the tunnels
The Passages are owned by the Exeter City Council and are now open to visitors on guided tours. The tunnels are quite claustrophobic and tours are subject to strict guidelines. Children love this underground adventure but they must be over five years old and accompanied at all times by an adult.
 
The complex is open all year. During school holidays and weekends the passages get extremely busy and tours sell out very quickly. It is advisable to arrive early to avoid disappointment, or Tel:  01392 665887 to book in advance.
 
A visit includes a 10 minute film presentation, a 25 minute tour of the Passages and an opportunity to explore the new exhibition.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here:    External Link      
 
Tours
- Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of your tour
- All tours are guided and take a maximum of 15 persons 
- All tour participants must wear the hard hat that is provided
- Due to the nature of the passages, visitors are not allowed to take any bags (including handbags) with them on a guided tour. Secure storage is provided
- Visitors should be aware of low vaults, uneven floors, dark areas and that passages are constricted and are not suitable for those with claustrophobia
- Due to the nature of the Underground Passages, tour times are subject to change. To avoid disappointment contact the venue before your visit.
 
Admission Times and Costs
Go to Visitor information link (below) and select 'Admission' and 'Opening Hours'
 
Disabled Access
There is no access to the tunnels themselves. However, the exhibition, ten minute film and interactive displays are accessible.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1392 665 887
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
The entrance to Exeter's Underground Passages is on Paris Street within the Princesshay Quarter. Paris Street is just off the main High Street as it joins Sidwell Street
 
A directions map is available at Web: Exeter Underground Passages/ Getting There    External Link
 
Google Map - Exeter's Underground Passages