Exeter Customs House
Historic Building and Tourist Office in Exeter
The Custom House was built in 1680 at the height of Exeter’s woollen cloth industry. Today it is a fascinating visitor centre and the meeting point for Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours.
Exeter has had a quay since Roman times. During the 13th and 14th centuries, rival merchants built weirs across the river near Topsham to prevent cargoes reaching Exeter. Between 1564 and 1566 John Trew built the first stretch of the Exeter Canal to enable delivery of cargo closer to the city. The increase in trade led to the construction of the Custom House in 1680. Renowned for its sweeping staircase and ornate plaster ceilings, this beautiful building now houses a fascinating visitor centre.
It houses lively displays, illustrations and artefacts will bring the history and development of Exeter’s Quayside to life. As well as models and items from the cloth industry such as “tenter hooks and tillet blocks”, an exciting audiovisual presentation “Exeter, 2000 years of history” highlights Exeter’s history from Roman times until today.