Friday 9 December 2016

Holidays to die for: Agatha Christie's 125th anniversary inspires wicked weekend breaks

Ghastly getaways

Sarah Marshall & Jo Gallacher

Published 17/09/2015 | 06:39

Composite image of Agatha Christie (PA) and Babbacombe beach, Torquay. Photo: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
Composite image of Agatha Christie (PA) and Babbacombe beach, Torquay. Photo: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
PA File photo of Agatha Christie. PA Archive /PA Photos.
Pera Palace Hotel
A Generic Photo of Babbacombe beach, Torquay, United Kingdom. See PA Feature TRAVEL News. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TRAVEL News

Inspired by the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth, our travel detectives track down several holidays to die for.

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A crime scene may not be everyone's idea of a relaxing holiday location, but big screen thrillers, noir novels and murder mystery TV shows are inspiring a number of dark and twisted weekend breaks.

This month marks the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth (September 15), and a number of UK hotels are offering special packages to mark the occasion.

"Agatha Christie's books are translated into more languages than any other author, with the exception of Shakespeare and the Bible," says Anna Farthing, director of the International Agatha Christie Festival which takes place in Torquay on September 20.

"People from all over the world want to visit the places she wrote about."

So if you've read the books and now want to delve further into the mind of Britain's most popular crime writer, where should you go?

Devon: Queen of Crime Getaway

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The 'Queen of Crime' getaway in Babbacombe Bay (above) offers fans a chance to relive the world created in Christie's novels, by transporting them back to her 1920s heyday.

Running from Sunday to Thursday throughout September, the boutique eight-bedroom property will be offering a themed two-night break together with an early 20th century three-course dinner, aptly named cocktails 'Mousetrap' and 'Whodunnit', and an afternoon tea made with the writer's favourite ingredient: Devonshire clotted cream.

The package also includes a tour of Christie's favourite locations in Devon and a visit to her family home, Greenway House. Look out for the Boathouse which featured in Dead Man's Folly.

There's also a chance to visit the Torquay Museum, dedicated to the life of the author, with highlights including personal letters and Hercule Poirot's walking stick.

Details: From £325/€443pp; caryarms.co.uk.

Wessex County: Walking Holidays

Those wanting to trace the footsteps of the literary hero can lace up their boots and join a Wessex County walking holiday. Avid walkers will explore the South Hams, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where the writer spent many happy holidays.

The self-guided walks (available from three to six nights) follow coastal paths and sandy beaches and even include a steam train ride

Details: From £380/€517pp; foottrails.co.uk.

PH Hotels: The Plot Thickens

If you see yourself as more of a detective, follow in the footsteps of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot by taking part in a murder mystery weekend.

PH Hotels offer packages throughout the year, with guests given 48 hours to solve four murders. Actors stay in character the whole time and a police incident room is set up for guests to leave their findings.

Details: From £280/€381pp; principal-hayley.com/murder).

With so many options, it would be criminal not to plot a Christie-themed break.

P.S. Pól Ó Conghaile adds...

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If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, or Murder on the Orient Express, don’t can’t pass up the opportunity to stay at the Jumeirah Pera Palace in Istanbul (jumeirah.com).

Christie stayed in Room 401 whilst writing her classic mystery – other guests have included Greta Garbo, Ernest Hemmingway and Clement Ataturk. As we publish, advance purchase offers started from €208 for a deluxe king room, but if you’d rather not pay the five-star prices, a quick snack at the hotel’s patisserie is another option.

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