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Sport and leisure

Sport and leisure

Exeter offers a wealth of opportunity to get involved with sport and leisure activities. With swimming pools, golf courses, climbing walls and even a dry ski slope, you can partake in all your favourite sports here or even try something new.

The city is also well known for its high-achieving sports teams. Catch the Exeter Chiefs playing rugby at Sandy Park on the outskirts of Exeter or cheer on Exeter City FC at St James Park right in the city centre.

The University's Athletic Union has over 50 different clubs and caters for everyone from complete beginners to elite athletes. With everything from football to water polo, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

Exeter itself also offers excellent sporting facilities for students and non-students alike. There are organised leagues in many team sports including football, rugby and cricket, and excellent facilities supporting a large number of sports including athletics, fishing, water sports, golf and even skiing.


The city also has several swimming pools including a new swimming complex at St Sidwell’s Point. An indoor pool can also be found at our St Luke’s Campus and a seasonal outdoor pool on the Streatham Campus.

The Quay

A huge range of sport and leisure activities can be found at the Quay. The Quay Climbing Centre is the South West’s largest indoor climbing centre. Here you can find extensive indoor climbing walls and bouldering caves.

The Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre offers a variety of outdoor activities and adventure courses including kayaking, mountain biking and sailing. With the River Exe running through the city, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Rowing is particularly popular amongst our students and the University has its own boathouse on the banks of the Exeter Canal.

Cycling trails

Exeter’s location means it is just a short journey to Devon’s beautiful coastline and impressive national parks. A haven for cyclists, Exeter and the surrounding area offers some excellent trails. The Exe Estuary Trail, part of National Cycle Route 2, links Dawlish to Exmouth with magnificent views along the River Exe.

For those looking for more of an uphill challenge, nearby Dartmoor offers great options for road cyclists. Haldon Forest Park, a few miles outside of Exeter, also offers both casual and serious off-roading trails. 

Sports fans have some great options for watching live sport in Exeter. Catch the Exeter Chiefs playing rugby at Sandy Park or cheer on Exeter City FC at St James Park. Going to a game is a great activity to do with friends.

Horse racing has a long history in the city and Exeter Racecourse is thought to be one of the oldest in the country. Set at the top of the Haldon Hills, the course hosts a number of race meetings throughout the year including the prestigious Haldon Gold Cup.

Lots of competitions also take place at Exeter’s historic Quayside throughout the year including dragon boat racing and the popular Exeter Regatta.