Exeter bristles with history, culture and the sort of independent spirit that celebrates great dining. Whether it’s a craft cocktail in the garden (one of the best we’ve been in), a Brixham crab salad at the gleaming bar or a full Sunday roast in the dining room, you’re in for a treat at City Gate. Brunches last into lunchtime, the crowd is young and lively, families are welcome and staff are exemplary. Live music nights, quizzes and seasonal celebrations (Pimms O’Clock, anyone?) suit the hustle and bustle of the city’s treat seekers, but you can tuck yourself into a corner with a big dish of braised lamb, chickpea and chorizo hotpot and a pint of Young’s Champion. Fourteen bedrooms wait upstairs (ask for a quiet one if you want to be away from the bar’s noise, or one with a sofa bed for the little ones). Spoilingly comfy beds with beautiful Welsh blankets, chunky padded headboards, painted panelling and air con for the summer. Funky, fully-tiled bathrooms with drench showers – and coffee machines, iPods and more – with thoughtful touches like mini decanters of port and local fudge make for an indulgent stay.