The historic city of Exeter is a safe, cosmopolitan city with arts, culture, retail and leisure options that offer a good quality of life. The top attraction is the beautiful 15th century gothic Exeter Cathedral which boasts an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock and an impressive ceiling which is the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England. It is situated on Cathedral Green, which is a popular public space for relaxing and picnicing. The Roman walls and castle ruins can be seen in the city - Rougemont Castle was built into the northern corner of the Roman city walls in the 11th century and is named after the red stone found in the nearby hill. The large Norman gatehouse is the main remaining feature, surrounded by the public parks Rougemont Gardens and Northernhay Gardens. The 17th century Northernhay Gardens is the oldest public open space in England. Other historic landmarks include the Guildhall, which is claimed to be the oldest municipal building in England still serving its original purpose, the remains of the monastery St Nicholas Priory in Mint Lane, and a number of Medieval churches such as St Mary Arches, St Mary Steps, St Olaves and St Martins. The city has a unique medieval underground water system which can be explored through tours that run all year round. Exeter also has a number of delights outside of the city centre, such as the little town of Topsham, also situated on the Exe Estuary, which has a proud maritime history and now is a good shopping district. Exeter is on the doorstep of two national parks, Dartmoor 6 miles away and Exmoor a short drive north-east. Car rental in Exeter provides the opportunity to explore a little further afield and enjoy the surrounding towns and Devonshire countryside.
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