Solve the mystery of the perfect short break at the world-famous Agatha Christie Festival on the English Riviera
Murder mystery returns to the English Riviera next month with the spectacular annual celebration of the world’s greatest crime fiction writer, Dame Agatha Christie.
Agatha, along with her beloved detectives Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, take centre-stage from 11-18 September 2011 for the ever-popular Festival.
Once again, a sparkling mix of vintage bus rides, murder mystery dinners, tea dances, garden parties and more is expected to draw a large number of amateur sleuths to South Devon from all over the world.
Fans will also enjoy exclusive visits to her holiday home at Greenway on the River Dart while Agatha Christie’s Verdict comes to Torquay’s Princess Theatre, produced by the Agatha Christie Theatre Company.
Each September the English Riviera becomes the murder capital of Europe when the seaside towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham host a week-long festival celebrating the life of the author who was born in Torquay. This year’s festival begins with the traditional Agatha Christie Fete, on Sunday 11 September, where stallholders dress in their 1920s/30s finery and entertainment includes live music, magic and dancing. There may even be a certain detective on hand…
Throughout the festival at Paignton Library there will be a rare opportunity to view exclusive Agatha Christie artifacts, in particular an original manuscript for Five Little Pigs as well as one of the Queen of Crime’s own writing notebooks.
And there is also the chance to win big on The ABC Murders Trail Competition; celebrating 75 years of The ABC Murders, the competition will run the length of the festival and participants must work out the clues and locate the letters for a chance to win a trip on the Orient Express (terms and conditions apply).
Other 2011 festival highlights include:
Vintage Tour Bus Trips to Greenway House. Hop aboard an original 1940s bus on a nostalgic trip to Greenway House and Garden, Agatha’s beautiful holiday home.
Babbacombe Model Village’s Mystery Hunt. Murder mystery downsized! Miniature scenes will be concealed throughout the gardens – can you spot them and deduce which Christie novel each is from?
Greenway Literary Dining Club (Sunday 11th September). A book club with a twist – in Agatha’s holiday home. In the style of Agatha Christie’s Tuesday Night Club, diners discuss her writing and explore the influences from the house and grounds. Followed by dinner in the Dining Room. (Tickets: £60, places strictly limited).
Murder Mystery Dining Train. Climb aboard the Dartmouth Express Dining Train for an evening of murder and mystery with the Candlelight Theatre Company.
“In Character” lunch at Burgh Island Hotel. Dress as your favourite Christie character and visit the famous Art Deco retreat where Agatha wrote “Evil Under the Sun” and “And Then There Were None”; plus period lunch and grand tour. (Tickets: £58, places strictly limited to 50).
A Garden Party to die for. Learn about Agatha Christie’s potent and poisonous plants and her time as a pharmacist in Torquay at this themed Torre Abbey garden plus afternoon tea with a 1930s theme. Feel free to dress for the occasion!
Birthday celebrations (Thursday 15th September). A host of events to mark Agatha’s birthday. A special Afternoon Tea Dance at Agatha Christie’s honeymoon hotel. The Grand Hotel, Torquay, including afternoon tea, a slice of birthday cake and musical entertainment with period 20s/30s dress encouraged. And a Birthday Dinner and Fireworks Celebration at The Imperial Hotel, where Agatha Christie attended many social functions, and which also featured in ‘Peril at End House’ and Sleeping Murder’. The Murder Mystery Dining Train will run, and there’ll be more mystery at the Toorak Hotel in Torquay.
Plus, only just announced, is a very special lecture to be given by Christie’s grandson Mathew Prichard, at the Spanish Barn in Torquay.
As well as a host of fun, nostalgic and exciting events, visitors can enjoy the new Agatha Christie Trail based on the 20 special places that inspired her life and works across the English Riviera and South Devon.
Plus, the famous Agatha Christie Mile along Torquay’s seafront takes people to some of the additional places that were so special to her in her younger years including: Princess Pier where she enjoyed roller-skating, Beacon Cove where she was a regular swimmer and the Victorian Pavilion where she loved to dance.
The festival draws to a close with a special Cream Tea Day at Cockington Court, Torquay, and the Agatha Christie Swim in aid of Devon Air Ambulance, taking place at Broadsands Beach.
Your first clue to discovering more about the Agatha Christie’s Riviera and the full Festival programme is to visit www.englishriviera.co.uk/agathachristie