Exeter:  A great place to learn about English Life, History and Culture

Is Exeter one of the best places in the UK for you to learn English?

Learning English in Exeter is not only about studying in a classroom. There is so much more you can learn by experiencing daily life in this vibrant city.

Exeter is the capital of Devon and is is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the UK. It is a small city with a welcoming population of 125,000. Our city has many parks and gardens and is surrounded by the green hills of Devon, which can be seen all around us. It is a safe and friendly place with lots to do during your free time. Your parents can feel confident that this is one of the best places in the UK for you to learn English.

Exeter from above with a sign showing where the Isca School of English is located near the city centre

Learning English in Exeter means experiencing British history too!

Exeter has a long and rich history, starting from before the arrival of the Romans in AD50. Over 70% of the Roman walls are still standing today. The Romans named their city “Isca Dumnoniorum”. This is why we called our school The Isca School of English.

William the Conqueror built Rougemont Castle and our beautiful medieval Cathedral with its Norman towers and the longest Gothic stone vaulting in the world. As part of our social programme, we will take you on a visit to learn about its history.  The Cathedral Close is a favourite meeting place for our students, sitting on the grass and chatting with their new international friends after school and on sunny evenings.

Come with us to visit Exeter’s unique underground passages and learn how clean water was brought into the medieval city from springs outside the walls.

Throughout medieval times, the city made its living by producing woollen cloth from Devon’s sheep for export from Exeter quayside to the rest of the world. The Napoleonic wars saw the end of this trade, an economic disaster for the city. Follow the Exeter Woollen Trail to learn all about it.

Education is now the major industry in Exeter. Exeter University is one of the best universities in the UK with over 22,000 students.  Multi award-winning Exeter College has more than 10,000 students from all over Devon. There are many other specialist colleges too, including the Isca School of English, giving Exeter a busy student feel.

Quayside from above with pedestrians walking along the river in Exeter

How can you spend your leisure time in Exeter?

There is a lot to do, see and enjoy in Exeter. It is a modern city with a large shopping centre, many cafes and restaurants, an award-winning museum, arts centres, theatres and many sports and leisure facilities from swimming pools to dance centres, ten pin bowling and tennis clubs.

Come with us to Exeter Quayside, just a 10 minute walk from the school, for kayaking and other water sports.  Learn from qualified instructors and have a great time on the River Exe and canal.

There is a lot to enjoy on the quayside in your free time with Dragon boat racing and jazz music too.

We will take you swimming at St Sidwell’s Point Leisure Centre which was opened in spring 2022. With energy efficient Passivhaus technology, it has a 25 metre pool with exceptional water quality for you to enjoy.

View of Exeter Cathedral's North Tower and part of the Cathedral Green taken from a window

Why study English in Devon?

The county of Devon is a land of green rolling hills and two National Parks; Dartmoor in the south and Exmoor in the north. With its mild climate and long sandy beaches, it is a very popular holiday destination for English people. Come with us on our excursions to see why.

We will visit Haytor Rock on the high moorland of Dartmoor and take you to the sandy coast for safe sea swimming.

We will walk along the beaches at Exmouth and Sidmouth to see the oldest part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, where the cliffs show 185 million years of the history of the World.

And don’t forget to try a Devon Cream Tea, the speciality of our region.

Learn about the Maritime History of England on a visit to the Ocean City of Plymouth.

The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour in August 1620 on the Mayflower and established the second colony of European settlers in what is now the United States.

Enjoy your picnic lunch on Plymouth Hoe looking out to sea over one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Imagine how the Pilgrims and many other explorers including Francis Drake on his ship the Golden Hind, James Cook on HMS Endeavour and Charles Darwin on the Beagle felt as they set sail across the seas to discover the unknown.

Plymouth is a modern city too with the National Marine Aquarium to visit or you can have a swim in the famous art-deco outdoor lido overlooking the sea.

Princessshay shopping Centre in Exeter, Uk. Fatface and Newlook are visible in this photo and people are walking between shops

To experience English life, History and Culture, you will find that Exeter and Devon have so much to offer!

In the 1700s Exeter was a centre of world trade but now is better known for education, being a  creative tech and literary hub. Our cultural heritage links us to some of the UK’s most well-known writers, including Agatha Christie, JK Rowling, Ted Hughes (Poet Laureate), Rosmund Pilcher, Daphne du Maurier and Charles Causley. Exeter Cathedral cares for many books and the famous anthology from the 10th century is called “The Exeter book” is one of them. It is described as the “foundation volume of English Literature” and is on display for visitors to see.

Devon has always been known for the friendly community feel. There are several local festivals that happen throughout the year that are connected to the local area. The Devon County Show is one of the biggest farming festivals in the UK and is a wonderful mixture of our farming heritage and family activities and events.

Princesshay shopping Centre in Exeter, a modern shopping centre with flower baskets hanging from the glass overhang

Why choose the Isca School of English in Exeter instead of a different British Council Accredited School in Exeter?

Our English language school offers English courses for teenagers and is located in the St Leonards district of Exeter. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the city and we are very happy to have our school here.

There are many educational institutions in Exeter  who offer high quality English courses. The Isca School of English is the best language school in Exeter for teenagers! We are also ranked joint 9th out of all of the accredited centres in the United Kingdom by the EL Gazette and are the best family-run summer school in the United Kingdom. You can read more about this in our blog about British Council Accreditation.

Our English courses are for teenagers in the summer but we also offer mini-stays for groups and an intensive English Cambridge Exam Course to help students pass the FCE.

There are lots of activities for our students to enjoy here in Exeter. There are also many educational opportunities for them as they study English in our beautiful city.


Exeter high street in the Autumn time

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Front page of our Student Handbook with four Images of our students in classrooms, on activities and of Exeter Cathedral

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I’d like to thank you once again for the wonderful experience and the opportunity your school and the families you choose, offered to my children. They are always so happy when they are in Exeter and regret the moment they have to leave. You are doing an excellent job but most of all you put your heart
Mrs N, Spain
I would like to thank you for three wonderful weeks our son spent in your school. He says that everything was great: lessons, sport programme, excursions, teachers, students etc. etc. etc. He dreams about coming back to Exeter next year. Special thanks to your wife for the home family she found for him. He really felt at home with them. Thank you for your great job!
Mrs K, Switzerland
I would like to thank you for the good time our children have had in Exeter this summer. They were all delighted, and so are we with the excellent organisation.
Mrs B, France