Exeter's Underground Passages
Discover medieval passageways that stretch under the city's streets at this visitor attraction in the heart of the city centre
About the Underground Passages
Dating from 14th century, these medieval passages under Exeter High Street are a unique ancient monument: no similar system of passages can be explored by the public elsewhere in Britain.
The Passages have long exercised a fascination over local people, with stories of wars and sieges, plague and pestilence! Their purpose was simple: to bring clean drinking water from natural springs in fields lying outside the walled city, through lead pipes into the heart of the city. 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.
For further background information click on the link below to listen to a podcast from BBC History Extra, with Professor Mark Stoyle exploring the history of the Underground Passages and Dr Steven Gunn talking about the perils of water in Tudor England (22 December 2011).
Visiting the Underground Passages
Visitors to the Underground Interpretation Centre pass through an exhibition and video presentation before their guided tour. There is also a gift shop selling souvenirs of Exeter and the Passages. Click on the Visitor Information page to find out more about visiting the Passages.
Check the Opening Hours before visiting. During school holidays tours often sell out, so it is advisable to reserve tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Please call 01392 665887 or visit the Underground Passages reception in person at 2 Paris Street, Exeter, EX1 1GA to reserve tickets. Visit the Admission page for information on ticket prices and group bookings.
Visit the Location page for directions to the Underground Passages.
Due to the nature of the Underground Passages, tour times are subject to change. It is always advisable to contact us before your visit to check tour times and reserve places on a specific tour.
Exeter's Underground Passages has been assessed by the VisitBritain Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme and awarded the prestigious 'Quality Assured Visitor Attraction' status for the third year running.
Exeter's Underground Passages were Highly Commended for Project on a Limited Budget in the Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence 2008.