Dating from the 14th century, 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.
Lying beneath Exeter's High Street, the passages are a unique ancient monument. Guided tours have taken place here since the 1930s and still hold a fascination for all who enter.
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).
Exeter's Underground Passages has been assessed by the VisitBritain Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme and awarded the prestigious 'Quality Assured Visitor Attraction' status.
Museums & Heritage Awards Exeter's Underground Passages were Highly Commended for Project on a Limited Budget in the Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence 2008.
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 – 10% off admission for up to 5 people. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Booking essential.
Custom House Visitor Centre – 10% off gifts and souvenirs at the newly opened Custom House Visitor Centre.
Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours – FREE from Exeter Visitor Information & Tickets.