Devon is one of our favourite places to go on a family holiday but this year we’ve been looking for something a little different. Browsing Google for things to do in Devon, however, something caught my eye: the Agatha Christie Festival.
Now, I’ve never been an avid reader of crime novels but after going to a murder mystery night a few months ago, it’s really given me the taste for crime thrillers. So when I saw the Agatha Christie Festival was taking place for a week this September, I thought why not turn that into a week’s holiday? After all, I can’t think of much better than a short break in England that offers something a little different.
The festival itself is taking place in Torquay – the English Riviera and a place I’ve always loved – as that’s Agatha Christie’s birthplace. She was born there in 1890 and for the eighth year running the festival will be starting on her birthday – 15th September. Not knowing very much about Agatha Christie, I thought I’d better do a little bit of research before the festival so that I’d properly appreciate it. The video about the festival on the Agatha Christie website was great for this.
I could have hazarded a guess that she was the best-selling crime novelist of all time and I knew that she created Poirot and Miss Marple, but I had no idea that she wrote a grand total of 66 detective novels. And as if that’s not enough, she’s also the author who penned the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap. I was gobsmacked that it’s still going after more than 25,000 performances!
By the sounds of it the festival is going to turn Torquay into the murder mystery capital of the country so I’m expecting to see period costumes à la Murder on the Orient Express wherever we go. There’s going to be a whole host of events on offer, including tea parties, dinners on steam trains and vintage bus tours, and I can’t wait to experience this celebration of Agatha Christie’s life and times.
What I’m looking forward to most is seeing the official Agatha Christie Theatre Company’s new production, Go Back for Murder, about a girl seeking to uncover the truth of a disturbing family secret. This certainly sounds intriguing and where better than the place she lived and breathed? It’s running from 16th – 21st September but it’s bound to be in popular demand so I’ll make sure we book our tickets in advance. I’m also going to make sure I pack in a visit to Agatha Christie’s house, Greenway. I’ve seen on the map that it’s just outside of Torquay so it won’t be hard to get to by car; but if you leave your car halfway there in Paignton, you can hop on a steam train and arrive in true Agatha Christie style. Plus, the car park gets quite busy and spaces need to be pre-booked so going by train will probably be a lot easier.
Greenway was Agatha Christie’s family home and stepping inside is supposed to take you right back to the 1950s. After exploring the inside of the house, we’ll probably go for a walk around her woodland garden if the weather holds up.
And when we’ve finished making the most of all things Agatha Christie, we’ll use the rest of the holiday to explore Devon. After all, it’s the setting of 15 of Christie’s novels so wherever you go you’ll be on Agatha Christie territory. We’re keen to pick a good base for our holiday as we’re planning on visiting plenty of different places, so we’ve been taking a look at different holiday parks around the area. We always holiday in our caravan as it gives us loads of flexibility, so exploring Agatha Christie’s region on a touring holiday in Devon is perfect for us. Devon Cliff’s near Exmouth will probably be the one we choose; it’s just a short drive from Torquay and only a stone’s throw from popular hotspots like Weymouth and Exeter.