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The Boat Shed, Exeter

4.1
#22 of 43 in Nightlife in Exeter
In 1832, a warehouse was built on Haven Banks, opposite the Quayside. It was a simple construction, three storeys high, functional, neat. A few years later, another couple were built close by, made of a cheaper stone which hasn’t weathered quite as well. By the turn of the century, as shipping decreased and the tram was king, these two buildings were joined to make one connecting series of warehouses.

And so they have stood like this for one hundred years. The postwar fad for bulldozing Exeter’s historic buildings never reached this pocket of the city, making this one of the only industrial buildings to remain.

It’s been largely empty for some years now. The much-missed Maritime Museum set sail at the end of the 90s leaving us with a gorgeous shell of a building, with beautiful ridiculously large walls and single wooden beams that span the length of the building.

It is this collection of wood and stone, too sturdy to fall down, on land not valuable enough for the building to be pulled down, that we are planning to turn in to a hub for creativity for Exeter and the region.

But not yet. To make these historic buildings work properly and safely, to preserve their unique character whilst making them fit for today, requires an eye-watering six million pounds.

To test things out for the Summer, though. Well, that costs a rather more reasonable £25,000.

And that’s what we want to do. We want to see how these buildings that weren’t meant to last could be used today. We’re going to turn them into a theatre, a gallery, an ice cream parlour and a golf course. We’re going to have a music festival, a craft market and a cocktail bar. We’re going to take some risks, try to create something new and see what happens.

We’d like you to join us. We’ll be announcing the full programme in the coming weeks and months, partnering with some of our favourite artists, cultural organisations and food and drink producers from across this beautiful county and beyond. We’re trying not to say there’ll be something for everyone, but there'll be something for everyone with a little bit of curiosity and a large appetite for adventure.

But we need to get there first. We need to transform these dusty warehouses into cultural living rooms. To do this, we need your help. Remember that £25,000? We need that.

We need your spare fivers, or your spare fivethousanders, and together we can build the Boat Shed (well, the first bit of it anyway). We’ve a selection of things to give you in return, from badges to cocktail workshops, canvas bags to a Summer’s supply of ice cream.

And like the Summer, it won’t last. It’s not meant to. It’ll be there for a few weeks and then it’ll go. Something will stay though, the taste, the memory. And the bits that work, the bits that you like, we’ll bring them back next year. And so on.

These buildings have been here for nearly two hundred years. They were first used to store wine. In 2017, with your help, they’ll store it again. And then you can drink it.
Take a look at our Exeter trip planning tool to schedule your visit to The Boat Shed and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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The Boat Shed Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
17 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Great choice of craft beers. Busy but not crowded, good atmosphere, great place for drink or two. Kind of spit and sawdust type venue but in a good way.  more »
  • I like going here regularly, usually Wednesdays, because of the cheap burgers and the craft beers are so good. It has been very busy the last couple of months. Burgers are $8 each, no chips, as long a...  more »
Google
  • Great location on the quay. When it's finished it'll be a great creative space. Drinks pricey but that's normal for the quayside.
  • Great venue, dropped a star due to the long wait at the bar all night. Though isn't strictly a drinking venue so good to have a bar at all.
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