Agatha Christie board game at Abbeyfield B&B, Torquay

Agatha Christie

One of my favourite things about Torquay is its connection with Agatha Christie. I’m a big fan of hers and have loads of books both by and about her for my guests to borrow – or how about having a go at the Agatha Christie bingo board game in the guest lounge? You are also likely to hear the Poirot and Miss Marple themes at breakfast! I just think the area is so evocative of her novels; there’s something about the coastline and the architecture, the villages and the vegetation, nearby Dartmoor, the hills and on and on that evokes a feeling similar to her books. There are so many places that make you feel as if you could turn a corner and be bumping into Poirot and Captain Hastings or Miss Marple!

There are of course lots of things for Agatha Christie fans to do in Torquay. Here are some of the best:

Greenway

Agatha Christie’s holiday home, run by the National Trust. Explore the house including lots of personal belongings like Agatha Christie and her daughter Rosamund’s clothes, family photos and paintings etc. and an ITV manuscript signed by David Suchet and many, many more fascinating objects. See the battery and boat house featured in the adaptation of Dead Man’s Folly. Enjoy the views of the River Dart and the many exotic trees and plants and lots more.

It’s worth noting that it’s important to book a parking space online the day before, though you may be able to book a parking space on the day by phoning Greenway.

Agatha Christie Mile

Pick up a free map (available from the Tourist Information by the harbour – I usually also have a stack of them here for my guests) and spend about half a day following the route to see the 14 points of interest to do with Agatha Christie’s life in Torquay. You’ll find lots of places to stop for a drink or something to eat along the way.

Annual Agatha Christie Festival

Each year in September, during the week of Agatha Christie’s birthday of 15 September, Torquay is host to the International Agatha Christie Festival. It’s a week packed with Agatha Christie events; from wild swims to literary talks, murder mystery dinners to guided walks and much, much more. The main venue is usually Torre Abbey, which is a mere 5 minute walk from Abbeyfield. This year the festival takes place from 8-17 September 2023.

Guided Agatha Christie Walk

Join the highly knowledgeable and entertaining Graham for an easy (no hills!) 2 hour walk through Torquay. Highly recommended. Watch a video of my experience going on this walk here.

Torre Abbey’s Agatha Christie Garden: Potent Plants

Torre Abbey is one of my absolute favourite places in Torquay. In fact Abbeyfield was once owned by Torre Abbey’s Cary family! The history of the beautiful House is fascinating and of course closely linked with Torquay’s evolution. There’s a fantastic exhibition about it on the top floor of the house, including a talking statue! There’s also a chapel and wonderful gardens with greenhouses and the special Agatha Christie “Potent Plants” garden, featuring the plants that the poisons from Agatha Christie’s books are derived from. There is also a quiz, so you can test your knowledge of the poisons used in her novels.

Torquay Museum

The Agatha Christie Gallery at Torquay Museum exhibits costumes worn by David Suchet and Joan Hickson as well as furniture from Poirot’s office in the ITV productions. But the museum shop is almost my favourite part! Here you can find a wonderful selection of Agatha Christie books (new and second hand) as well as DVDs and various Agatha Christie souvenirs and even prints of old photos of her and her home.

Walk to Cockington Village

The walk to and through Cockington Country Park is delightful! And you will literally be walking in Agatha Christie’s footsteps as she was a close friend of the Mallock family who owned Cockington Court. What’s more, some people think Miss Marple’s village of St. Mary Mead is based on Cockington!

Afternoon Tea at the Imperial Hotel

Agatha Christie based the Majestic Hotel in Peril at End House and The Body in the Library on the Imperial Hotel, and it’s easy to recognise it from the book – you’ll be sure to recognise the terraces and the coastal path leading to the fictional End house. Combine it with a walk along the South West Coastal Path (surely the path to End House); one of the path’s most scenic sections starts just past the Imperial Hotel and includes wonderful views of the sea arch known as London Bridge.

Go Sea Swimming

Agatha Christie loved swimming in the sea and is known to have swum at many local beaches, including Beacon Cove (formerly the Ladies’ Bathing Cove) and Elberry Cove (visited by Poirot and Captain Hastings in the ABC Murders). Why not take the plunge like she used to and go for a swim during your visit to Torquay!

Burgh Island

For those who want to venture further afield, why not visit Burgh Island, which inspired the settings for the novels And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun.