Eight wholesome but cheap summer date ideas for Exeter students

Unpopular opinion: mates dates are just as good as ‘real’ dates

Yesterday, I got sunburnt for the first time this year, which means exactly two things. The first is that I am whiter than a pair of linen trousers and the second is that summer has officially started in Exeter. To celebrate the beginning of what I affectionally call “Exmouth-season” here are eight date ideas you should put to good use over the remaining weeks of term three. Bring your partner, your housemates, your besties, or even just yourself, and start checking these plans off your summer to-do list.

1. Sunset fish and chips at Exmouth beach

Hear me out, Exmouth is better at sunset – especially for a date. There are fewer people, the sunsets are almost always beautiful, and the slight chill gives you an excuse to cuddle up. If you’re looking for a wholesome, easy and cheap date idea this summer, I’m strongly pointing you in the direction of sunsets and snacks. Nothing beats grabbing a greasy takeaway on the beach while watching the sun go down over the ocean. Unless you’re doing it in Cornwall, in which case, you win.


2. Paddleboarding or kayaking on the River Exe

I know almost all of you have sat on the edge of the Quay and watched these people thinking that they’re crazy, but it’s actually a lot more fun than you might have thought. For those of you who are particularly optimistic about your balancing skills, you can actually paddleboard to Topsham from Exeter, head to the pub, and paddle back. For the record, I think it’s probably best not drink and paddle though, unless you’re prepared for a sudden, unplanned dip.

3. Picnic and sunbathing in the park

Another very cute (and economically attractive) idea for a daytime date is heading to one of the many parks in and around Exeter for a picnic with your bestie or beau. Stop off at a supermarket beforehand and grab some snacks – extra points if you construct a meal deal for one another!

4. Book swap

If you’re looking for something to do with a fellow bookworm, might I suggest heading to one of the numerous Waterstones in Exeter and picking out a book for each other. Alternatively, you could be extra-ethical and hit the charity shops instead – the British Heart Foundation always has loads of books.Once you’ve got your new novel secured, heading to the cathedral or a nearby café to get stuck in on your latest summer read.

5. Go and hang out with some animals

Nothing screams summer holiday like going to a petting zoo or animal sanctuary, and Exeter has plenty to offer. Pennywell farm, just outside Dartmoor, is the cutest little farmyard petting zoo where you can hold your very own piglet! But if pigs aren’t really your thing, no worries, just head to either the otters and butterfly or the donkey sanctuaries instead. Either way, you can’t really go wrong.

6. Make matching summer fits

I know you walk past that craft shop on Sidwell street without a second thought, but hear me out. Head to Primark and grab a summer accessory/clothing item of choice – this could be a pair of shorts, a bucket hat, a t shirt – and get yourself a sewing needle and some thread.  Embroider yourselves little matching summer fits, maybe with initials or matching embroidered hearts, ideally over a glass of wine or a beloved tinny in the sun. All those Pinterest boards will finally pay off…

7. Dartmoor, Dartmoor, Dartmoor (cliff jumping at Spitchwick to be exact)

Spitchwick is a truly gorgeous place to spend the day in Dartmoor. Whether you want to swim in the stream, jump off the cliff, play football in the glade, explore the forest or simply just relax in a beautiful place, Spitchwick is a great part of Dartmoor to go to, especially if you have a car. Camping in Dartmoor also makes for a great date night – stargazing from a Tor is something everyone should have on their Exeter bucket-list.

8. Surfing in Newquay

Even if you’re terrible at surfing, it’s a great excuse to see Cornwall and get in the ocean, particularly because you can get away with wearing a wetsuit in all seasons. You can rent surf boards from most of the popular surfing beaches and there are loads of places to surf, particularly in North Devon and Cornwall, like Croyde, Woolacombe, Saunton, Bude and Newquay. Grab some mates and try your hand at getting your ass kicked by the Atlantic Ocean – what a great way to end term three.

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