Agatha Christie fans know that the Queen of Crime was born in Torquay in the English Riviera. Through the prolific success of her many novels, she has brought much fame and interest in the area. When you visit Torquay you can walk in the footsteps of this world-renowned author and Torquay’s most famous resident.
Called “The Agatha Christie Mile”, the walk takes visitors to some of the places that were associated with Agatha Christie. The twelve locations listed below were particularly inspirational to her. As Christie herself said, whilst the characters she created were fictitious, the settings were always real so in tracing her footsteps, you can see if any of the locations remind you of any scenes in her novels.
The Grand Hotel – Agatha Christie spent her honeymoon here. Perhaps allow time to have morning coffee or afternoon tea here at this grand seafront hotel.
Torquay Railway Station – This is where Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple met for the first time in 1990, as part of Torquay’s Agatha Christie Centenary Celebrations. Agatha Christie never allowed the two characters to meet in her books.
Torre Abbey – The multi-million pound restoration was reopened by David Suchet in 2008 and in 2009 a brand new feature named Agatha Christie’s Potent Plants Garden was opened.
Princess Pier – Agatha Christie enjoyed roller skating here.
Princess Gardens – Agatha Christie was a frequent visitor here and featured the Gardens in one of her Poirot stories.
The Pavilion – The Pavilion began life as a grand concert hall. In 1913, Agatha Christie attended a Wagner recital here with Archie Christie. After the recital they returned to her Ashfield home and Archie proposed to her. They had only met a few months earlier.
Agatha Christie Bust – Unveiled by her daughter on September 15th, 1990 to mark Christie’s 100th birthday.
The Strand – This was a stopping point for stagecoaches and trams during Agatha’s day. It is believed that she and her mother would have shopped at exclusive stores here such as William and Cox (now Hoopers). Check out the cafe upstairs with its fine views across the harbour.
Torquay Museum – Devon’s oldest museum is home to the Agatha Christie Exhibition.
Royal Torbay Yacht Club – Agatha’s father was a prominent member of the club and visited daily. In her autobiography she reflects fondly on the club.
Beacon Cove – This was known as “Ladies Bathing Cove” during Agatha’s time. Although she was a good swimmer, she nearly drowned here when she was in her teens.
Imperial Hotel – Agatha attended many social functions here. The terrace was the setting for the final chapter of ‘Sleeping Murder’. Allow time to have morning coffee or afternoon tea in the Palm Court Room with its panoramic views of the Bay.
You can start your walk from the Grand Hotel (location 1) or the Imperial Hotel (location 12). The Torquay Tourist Information Centre has a brochure of this walk which you can do on your own. Alternatively, if you prefer a guided walk, you can contact the people at Blue Badge Guides (www.blue-badge-guides.com).