Meet Other Mums in Exeter
I met some lovely mums at the NCT Coffee Afternoon today* for a catch up and a chat, including one lovely mother who has just moved her family to Exeter. This mummy came today specially to meet other mums as she had received such great support from her previous NCT group.
This got me thinking about how hard it is to move to a new area with young children – having to give up your support group of NCT, antenatal class or other mums that you have shared so much with already, and step out into the unknown.
We were lucky when we moved back – although it was a few years since I had last lived in Exeter, I did at least know the city fairly well and have family dotted around in the county so had a ready made support network.
But for many families, they won’t know anyone in their new area, which makes friendly, inclusive playgroups so important – a vital place to meet other parents and find your feet.
You can find a list of Playgroups in Exeter on this site – we are very lucky to have so many amazing volunteers running groups for all us parents.
And if you are feeling a little nervous about walking into a new group cold, why not sign up for Mummy Social? Set up by local mum Josie, the site puts mums in touch with each other to arrange play dates in local cafes, parks or playgroups. That way you know there will always be a friendly face waiting for you.
We also got talking about places to go in and around Exeter with children and I mentioned a few of my personal favourites. These are all places where you are sure to see lots of other mums and children so you won’t feel out of place and you’ll have a good chance of striking up conversation while your children play.
Places to meet other mums in Exeter
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum
The RAMM is just heaven for children. Since it re-opened, Exeter museum has become a Mecca for families looking for a fun, easy day out in Exeter. The exhibits are child friendly – easily accessible to the little ones, bright and clearly laid out.
There are lots of interactive areas as you go around the museum, including dressing up in Roman costume, trying your hand at mosaic making, imagining life in a Devon long house, handling fossils and trying on masks. The bee suitcases and explorer bags are very popular with children of all ages and encourage interaction with the exhibits.
There’s also a dedicated play area for children, with toys relating to some of the museum’s exhibits as well as more prosaic plastic tea sets. There are also some seats, encouraging mums to sit down and chat – I’ve met lots of lovely mums while our children played together.
The RAMM is free to go into, though donations are requested to help fund the service. There is also a lovely cafe and small shop.
Find opening times for the RAMM online.
Any half decent day will find lots of families down by the water – it really is so accessible, with a great variety of things to do. The small park at Haven Banks is very friendly and there will always be families watching the birds go by. It’s particularly good for swan, goose and duck spotting, though please do remember that feeding bread to wildlife causes them real health issues.
There are so many cafes on the Quay, it’s hard to pick favourites but we love Lutzy’s for sitting outside and watching the boats, the Prospect Inn for a cheeky drink in the sun and the Puerto Lounge for being so very child friendly.
Eating ice cream sitting in the old tram turning circle is almost obligatory and you can’t help but meet other mums while your kids run around pretending to be trains.
Exeter Active Mums cycling group regularly set off from the Quay for gentle rides. They are open to all and for a small fee, you can hire a bike and trailer if you need to. It’s a lovely way to meet new mums and get to explore the area and build up cycling confidence if you need to.
If you are feeling a bit nervous about meeting other mums, the Bounce and Rhyme (nursery songs) sessions at the Children’s Library are fantastic. Every one has the perfect right to be at the Library and if you decide you can’t quite make it to the singing session, you can always read a book to your little one.
The revamped library is bright and welcoming, with several seating areas and small tables and lots of parents spend an hour or more in the library at a time. The Children’s Library is slightly away from the main library, meaning there is no stress to keep kids silent and there is always colouring available too.
You can find a list of Bounce and Rhyme sessions here – they take place at several libraries in Exeter.
What are your top tips for new to Exeter families? Where is your must go place to find new mummy friends? Please comment below and help a fellow mum out.
*Post originally written February 2012 and updated April 2017