History in Exmouth goes back over 250 million years to the Triassic period as the town is gateway to the UNESCO Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
However the Golden Age of Exmouth history begins when the town established itself during the 18th century as the first holiday resort in Devon. Fashionable holidaymakers unable to visit Europe due to the revolutionary turmoil in France were attracted by the views and medicinal salt waters.
Notable visitors in this time included Lady Byron, and her daughter Ada Lovelace. Exmouth was also the residence of Lady Nelson, the estranged wife of Lord Nelson. She is buried in Littleham Churchyard. Not to mention the infamous Duchess of York, wife of the Grand Old Duke of York!
Prior to the 1700’s Exmouth was a small fishing town, with a small harbour, from which Sir Walter Raleigh, born just a few miles away in East Budleigh in 1544, sailed on many of his voyages.
In the mid 17th century the area suffered from attacks by Algerian pirates who raided the Devon and Cornwall coastlines, attacking shipping and attempting to capture sailors and villagers for sale as slaves in North Africa.
The first railway line into Exmouth was built in 1861 bringing with it mass tourism. In the first five days 10,000 people travelled on the line and property prices increased overnight. In 1903 a link to Budleigh Salterton was opened a route now larger taken by the cycle path.
Today you can explore the remarkable history of the town by the Blue Plaque Heritage trail. A fascinating tour of the town will take you in the footsteps of Nelson, Shelly, Byron and others from romantic ages gone-by.
A trip to the small but friendly Exmouth Museum is a delight as you learn about some of the names you will see – the Powder Monkey, The Pilot, The Bath House, Mona Island to name but a few.
On the outskirts of the town is the famous Natural Trust property A la Ronde, an 18th-century 16-sided house, completed in 1796, and its design is supposedly based on the Basilica of San Vitale.
So whether you want to explore the history and architecture of Exmouth Golden age as Devon’s First Fashionable Holiday Resort or delve back to the time of the dinosaurs as you marvel at 250 million years of geological wonders.