Agatha Christie Literary Trail
Stay at Heathcliff House (Agatha Christie visited the vicar for tea with her family and the house was the inspiration for The Murder at the Vicarage) and explore some of the many locations across Torbay and South Devon linked with Agatha Christie’s life and works.
Agatha gained inspiration for at least 20 novels from her time living in Torquay and the English Riviera. You may be so busy you will need to book a second stay with us to explore some more!
The trail leads you to places that became the locations for some of the most well-known Poirot and Miss Marple murder mystery stories. The Imperial Hotel, Torquay features as the Majestic Hotel in both The Body in the Library and Peril at End House.
Take a steam train to Churston Station and walk down to Elberry Cove, both these sites appear in The ABC Murders, as well as Torquay’s Princess Gardens. In The Man in the Brown Suit, Kents Cavern is recreated as Hempsley Cavern, Torquay appears as Hollowquay, Dartmouth as Drymouth, at Greenway Quay you may hear the bell which was rung in Ordeal of Innocence to summon the ferry.
There are many other sites to visit which were very much part of Agatha Christie’s life including her summer home from 1938 and owned since 1999 by the National Trust, Greenway at Galmpton.
A beautiful country house with a woodland garden on the banks of the River Dart, it is necessary to book car parking in advance of a visit or take a step back in time on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway, disembark at Churston Station like Hercule Poirot arriving at “Nassecombe Station” to join the mystery in Dead Man's Folly and take a gentle two mile stroll down beautiful footpaths to the house.
The station also appears in The ABC Murders. During World War 1 Torquay Town Hall was used as a Red Cross Hospital and Agatha joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment as a nurse. In 1915 she transferred to the dispensary and acquired a working knowledge of poisons which was used in her writing.
Agatha enjoyed riding through the Cockington Estate and you can take a horse and carriage ride through hidden gardens and along the grand driveway to Cockington Court, have afternoon tea and explore the craft centre.
In the early part of the 20th Century the family that owned Cockington, the Mallock family were friendly with the Miller family and Agatha took part in open air amateur theatricals on the lawns in front of the house.
Oldway Mansion near Paignton was built in 1874 for creator of the famous sewing machine, Isaac Singer, Agatha attended social dances held in the lavish ballroom, the house is now open to the public.
Agatha frequently visited Churston Ferrers between Brixham and Paignton and near to Greenway. She attended the Church, St Mary the Virgin, when in residence and went to lunch with Lord and Lady Churston at Churston Court, now a bar and restaurant.
Some images included with kind permission from www.englishriviera.co.uk