The City Gate, Exeter: hotel review

This newly-refurbished pub with smart rooms and locally produced food is a great reason to break a journey to or from the West Country

Exeter is so close to lovely beaches, Dartmoor, Exmoor, and pretty towns like Totnes and Chagford it’s a wonder many travellers know it mainly for the M5 services. Being a “gateway” to the West Country is almost an invitation to whizz through.

When the 18th-century Royal Clarence Hotel – often described as England’s oldest hotel – was destroyed in a fire last October, the city lost its most characterful lodgings. The City Gate – a Young’s pub with rooms in a listed redbrick former coaching inn, which reopened in May after extensive refurbishment – doesn’t make up for this loss, but it does provide the essentials for a short stopover. Its 14 bedrooms are smallish but smartly decorated, and the locale is of historical interest: the pub abuts the original Roman city walls and looks out on to the Iron Bridge, built in 1834.

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