The area to the North of the city centre is generally known as St James (around the football stadium, St James Park) and St Davids (around St David’s Church, as well as St David’s Hill and St David’s railway station).
These inner city regions are influenced by the University, the proximity to the city centre and the railway station. For those looking for inner-city living, these areas are a natural choice, with plenty of tree-lined streets, parks and ample pubs, restaurants and cafes on the doorstep.
Located between the city centre and the University of Exeter, much of the area is popular with students, so if planning to live in these streets, it is important to understand that there will be some seasonal changes, as the students come and go during term times and holidays. Over the summer months, some streets are unusually quiet, whilst during term times, they are often busier and the availability of parking can be more difficult.
Possibly the most famous landmark of St David’s is the railway station. Within easy walking distance of the city centre and university, the Victorian station building is particularly attractive and offers regular trains to major hubs in the UK, including direct trains to London and Birmingham, etc. For this reason, the area is an obvious choice for those making regular commutes to London.
The most notable landmark of St James is St James Park – Home to Exeter City Football Club. Again, due to its proximity to the city centre and transport hubs, the 8700 seater stadium is located amongst residential streets in the area. On match days, the area springs into life, with an influx of visitors, many of which arrive by train to St David’s and St James railway stations. As a Devon football club, the atmosphere on match days tends to be cheerful and relaxed, unlike stereotypes of the game in other cities.
When it comes to housing the area needs to be considered on a street-by-street basis. There is housing to suit all budgets. The large semi-detached houses of Velwell Road and Howell Road are seen as highly desirable.
A particular gem, described by its residents as an oasis in the middle of the city, is Horseguards. This former barracks redevelopment comprises some executive-style converted military buildings, set around an impressive quadrangle, together with some modern buildings and a play area. Somehow, it is incredibly peaceful, whilst being located just a stone’s throw from the city centre. Other similarly desirable pockets include Velwell Road, Mount Dinham Court and Little Silver.
Both St David’s and St James offer plenty of good housing stock, including plenty of stock from the Victorian era and the earlier 20th Century.
Due to its popularity with students, the council has restricted the conversion of family homes to houses of multiple occupancy across most of this area. This means that the houses that hold the correct planning status for use as student houses tend to be more valuable than neighbouring properties that are considered to be family homes. Having the right level of planning can add more than £100,000 to the value of a property in certain areas. This means that very few student properties will ever relinquish their use as houses of multiple occupancy. So, in short, student houses rarely change back to standard residential homes in these areas.

Dinosaur Café

A great little Turkish restaurant in the heart of the city.

The Imperial

Whilst a Whetherspoons pub might not be everyone’s idea of a night out, the Imperial is a little special. This former hotel is set between the University and the centre. Set in it’s own landscaped gardens and with one of Brunel’s original engine sheds, repurposed as a large orangery to the side,n it is widely regarded as a flagship of the Whetherspoons brand.

The Sunset Society

Exeter’s independent food scene has a new star in the form of The Sunset Society. This chilled-out cafe by day and live music bar and pizza joint by night is going to be a firm favourite.
St David’s Railway Station was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was one of his single-sided stations which meant that the two platforms were both on the eastern side of the line. This side is nearer the city and so very convenient for passengers travelling into Exeter, but it did mean that many trains had to cross in front of others
Old Tiverton Road is a former Roman road, dating back more than 2000 years and was once the main highway to Tiverton.


Why not explore some other areas that Exeter has to offer?