Agatha Christie and Torquay: the English Riviera as a source of inspiration

Agatha Christie, by far the best-selling author of all time, was born in the seaside town of Torquay on September 15, 1890. Gifted by her parents, who enjoyed a wealthy economic situation, with the generous name of Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, she found in her hometown a happy childhood and a series of environments and scenarios that she would take advantage of in the writing of many of her novels.

The memory of Aunt Agatha is very present in the town but, beyond this permanent tribute, Torquay is a small city (65,000 souls) that has much to offer to those who dare to visit it.

Here you can find a list of the places you should not miss in Torquay, related and not related to the writer.

1.Greenway. Located on the banks of the River Dart. Agatha Christie and Max Mallowan, her second husband, bought the mansion in 1938 and spent many summers there. This place was a constant source of inspiration for the author and several of her novels, such as The murder at the Vicarage and The body in the Library, are set in huge residences undisguisedly similar to Greenway. Today it is part of the National Trust and can be visited for an entrance fee (14 pounds for adults, 7 for children).

2. Torquay Museum.  Agatha Christie used to visit the museum as a child. It houses an extensive collection of archaeological objects and pieces related to the history of Torquay and Devon in general. It also has a section dedicated to Lady Agatha that will allow us to better understand both his life and his literary career.

3. Imperial Hotel. Here the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was born (Oh, the gray cells!). Located on the seafront of Torquay, it has a decadent charm that drives me crazy, what can I say. The hotel offers a unique experience for fans of the writer. You can book a Hercule Poirot themed room, decorated with elements that evoke his era and style, and enjoy a dinner inspired by the gastronomy of the Victorian era.

4. Burgh Island. An hour’s drive from Torquay is Burgh Island, an island that can be accessed on foot at low tide; when the tide rises, access is by means of a… tractor? Better take a look at the picture, and you decide exactly what kind of vehicle it is.

You can sleep on the island, at the wonderful Burgh Island Hotel (about 400 € for a double room, from then on).

The island inspired one of Agatha Christie’s great novels: And then there were none.

5. Grand Hotel. Opened in 1881, in this hotel Agatha Christie spent her wedding night with her first husband, Archibald. You can stay in the Agatha Christie suite, need I say more?

6. Kent Cavern. It is a set of caves inhabited during the Ice Age. They are a very interesting visit (children always love it).

7. Torquay Harbour. Ok, this is my passion. You already know (and if not, I tell you now) that I love boats, lighthouses and harbors. If you are not very fond of the sea, you can always visit one of the restaurants in the area.

8.  The Flea Market. It’s England, so there must be a good vintage market. Every Thursday morning. It is worthwhile.

Where to stay in Torquay

We have already mentioned three hotels: Imperial Hotel, Grand Hotel, Burgh Island Hotel. Any of the three is worth the stay, as long as we have a high budget… My suggestion to stay in Torquay for a more ‘normal’ price without losing absolutely nothing in comfort (on the contrary) is The Mariners

Well located within the city, with spacious and comfortable rooms, close to the train station and with a great added value: the wonderful attention  given by its owners, Dave and Annette.