A definitive ranking of Exeter’s best reading nooks
Are you a Fresher anxious to learn about Exeter’s best-kept secrets? Or a returner eager to try something new? Charlotte Black takes us on a whistle-stop tour around Exeter, recommending the best places to immerse yourself in your reading.
Now the beginning of term is upon us, students and freshers are flocking back to the city and onto campus, making it due time to give the yearly four-one-one on the best local reading spots. Whether you’ll be getting in the study hours or picking up a book between lessons, this piece aims to accommodate all literary ventures.
First up, the campus classics.
The Streatham library, although admittedly a pretty obvious choice for a reading spot, shouldn’t be overlooked. Its central location, allocated quiet spaces and the allure of a meal deal from The Shop or Pret, make the library a heavy hitter when it comes to student-favoured study zones.
Devonshire House is next up to bat and doesn’t fall short with its spacious lounge-style workspace. However, as I think most students can attest, DH1 typically isn’t known for fostering productivity. Whether it is its proximity to The Ram or the food trucks around the corner, DH1 becomes a great social space to pretend to study in. The unfortunate reality is that you’re unlikely to get much reading done there.
Another recommendation for those wanting to stay close to campus would be to sit outside. With the weather somewhat on our side this September, it’s the best time to check out some of the university’s acclaimed outdoor spaces. Common choices include the green opposite Queens building, out the back of the Forum building and, if you’re on St Luke’s, the central plaza area, all of which are usually identifiable by groups of students dotted across them.
As a seasoned reader, I can offer this advice when hunting for reading nooks: the best locations to read in are often discovered by accident
Moving further out and venturing into town, there are also plenty of cafés to choose from.
Boston Tea Party is a tried and tested hangout spot, very popular with students for its airy upstairs seating and its breakfast deals – easily one of the best solutions to keep you pushing through your workload. At any given time on any given day, you’ll be sure to find English or Physics students alike pouring over their books alongside a cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea. So, if you can resist spending a sizeable chunk of your student loan while there, it is a great spot to catch up on your reading!
A little further along the main street is Artigiano, another student hub. This spot turns its daytime café menu into a chilled late-night bar, so if you’re looking for a place to disappear into a book for hours without interruption, grab a drink and settle into a seat. Also, if you’ve got the time, I’d urge you to stick around for one of their open mic nights, although I’ll leave the participation up to you.
There are, of course, many more hidden spots across the campus and the city which I haven’t included here – I can’t go around giving away all the prime places! But as a seasoned reader, I can offer this advice when hunting for reading nooks: the best locations to read in are often discovered by accident. It’s the books you read there and the people you share the space with that will, ultimately, make it truly special.