Walking Tour: Agatha Christie's Torquay

  • Start Imperial Hotel
  • End Grand Hotel
  • Length 2 miles; three hours
  • Difficulty Easy

Torquay is dotted with locations linked to the life and works of famous crime writer Agatha Christie. Crack the clues on this tour.

Begin your deductions with a drink on the terrace of the Imperial Hotel – Christie's fictional detective Miss Marple would choose tea and Poirot a tisane. This fine establishment appears in three Christie novels: as the Majestic in Peril at End House and The Body in the Library, and as itself in Sleeping Murder. Next take a peep at the waters of Beacon Cove, where Agatha had to be rescued from drowning as a girl. Stroll beside the Old Harbour, past souvenir shops and boards promoting boat trips, before heading up Torwood St to Torquay Museum. Here you can take in the evocative displays in the Agatha Christie Gallery. Look out for the story of how she worked in the resort first as a nurse during WWI, then as a pharmacy dispenser – which is where she acquired that famous knowledge of poisons. Back at the harbour, cut in beside the tourist office – there’s more Christie merchandise inside – and past the Christie bust, which was put up to commemorate her centenary year. Next comes the Pavilion; now a shadow of its former glory, it was here that Archie Christie proposed to Agatha at a classical-music concert in 1913. Neighbouring Princess Gardens crops up in The ABC Murders. As Rock Walk rears steeply on the right, divert left on to the late-Victorian Princess Pier, one of Agatha’s favourite childhood roller-skating spots. At Torre Abbey Sands, turn inland, strolling past tennis courts and pitch 'n’ putt greens to Torre Abbey Gardens, where you'll discover plants that can be used to produce the poisons that feature in Christie’s plots. Next cut down beside more playing fields, past the train station to end at the suitably named Grand Hotel. This is where Agatha honeymooned with first husband Archie after they married secretly on Christmas Eve in 1914. Time, perhaps, for another cup of tea.