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Nikki Fairclough - Why Exeter

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August sees Exeter’s first ever rooftop market festival - ‘Guildfest’ (7 - 8 August), so it seemed like a great opportunity to get to know the woman behind it all – Nikki Fairclough, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager at Guildhall Shopping and Queen St Dining.

Nikki came to the work in London 12 years ago after finishing her publishing degree in South Africa where she grew up, and says she’d always assumed that Devon just consisted of farmland! A visit to meet friends in Exeter soon changed her mind and she was immediately hooked on the city, thanks to its sense of community and size, not to mention the locally produced food and drink.

“I remember coming to the Devon County Show which I’m a huge fan of and being amazed at all of the great produce that I had no idea was made in this county!”

Nikki says that since moving here she’s loved watching the city change and grow: “It’s become so vibrant and full of great brands and independents. It’s also such an inclusive city and has always made me feel so welcome.”

More than that though, Nikki is watching with interest the plans in the city around achieving net zero status and that like so many of us, she’s committed to taking responsibility of the spaces around her to protect them for future generations.

As for her favourite hangouts, it goes without saying that Nikki spends as much time as possible at the Guildhall and Queen Street Dining! But she’s also a fan of some of the city’s independents and recommends ‘Eat the Bird’, ‘Harry’s’ and ‘Taco Boys’.

This Heavitree resident says that she doesn’t plan to move anywhere else now that she and her family are settled in Exeter. Nikki thinks that the city is a great place for entrepreneurs and she’s proud of its reputation as being somewhere that people can balance work and life whilst still progressing their careers.

She says: “I think Exeter will just continue developing further and continue to become one of the best places to live in the UK if you want to be near nature and beaches but still live in a city environment. Within the space of an hour, you can go from Exmouth beach, through the city and onto the moors for a scamper up Haytor. It’s so wildly diverse that there is something for everyone!”

Finally, we couldn’t chat to Nikki without asking her to explain the appeal of the Guildhall and Queen Street Dining:

“I think the Guildhall Shopping Centre has featured in every resident of Exeter’s life at some stage or another. No trip to Exeter is possible without a little retail therapy and sightseeing respite in the shade of street food! I would suggest they pop in as they finish touring the Cathedral, grab a bite at Street Food and sit admiring the stunning St Pancras church and then pop into Brewdog or Turtle Bay for a beverage to recharge before a trip to the RAMM. Don’t forget to pop into Pho or Comptoir and book a table for the evening!”

Guildfest, Exeter’s first rooftop market festival, takes place on 7-8 August and is free to enter. For further details, go to: