The International Agatha Christie Festival: A Must For Fans of the Legendary Writer

The International Agatha Christie Festival: A Must For Fans of the Legendary Writer

Are you a fan of the “whodunnit” genre — or of Dame Agatha’s books, in particular? It was  at the tender age of 12 that I began reading them; at the time, I think there was an appeal for just about everyone. My voracious reading routine included many of her books, which were hugely popular in the England of the early ’70’s. My French godmother used them as her primary resource for learning English when she took up residence in London as a young woman around 1950.

Read related: 5 Mystery Novels to Get You in the Mood to Travel 

If you’re a devotee of Dame Agatha and her work, you may be interested in attending the annual International Agatha Christie Festival in South Devon, England. Scroll down for more details and dates. Before you do, though, let’s review some of the classic titles– and iconic chraracters– that gained Christie her legions of fans in the first place.

Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple:

Enduring and endearing, these much-loved characters have been portrayed over time in several incarnations for television and film. Most recently, one of the most popular works – Murder On The Orient Express, with a star-studded cast and an enormous budget – is on film once again. Deeply anchored in the life and style of western culture of the early and middle twentieth century, Agatha Christie’s enormous legacy sails into the twenty-first century with nary a ripple.

British authors Sarah Phelps and Sophie Hannah were interviewed recently on the BBC’s Front Row. Sarah Phelps had the following to say when asked about Christie’s enduring popularity:

We enjoy watching people lie! – Sarah Phelps, BBC’s Front Row

Sophie Hannah, acclaimed crime writer in her own right, has given us new Poirot plots to enjoy with all the blessing of the Christie heirs. Heavily plot-focused inside narrow confines with two dimensional characters – or brilliant study in human nature and the nature of evil? For Phelps and Hannah – it’s the latter, all the way. With opinions like – “Best crime writer – ever, one can’t help but be intrigued!


Agatha Christie was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1971.


Poirot is the only fictional character to date to be given an obituary in the New York Times!


British author Sophie Hannah will follow up her two successful Poirot books, with two more books


Christie never put them both in the same story- quoting the possibility of a strong dislike from Miss Marple!


Agatha Christie was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1971.


According to the Guinness Book of World Records – Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, second only to Shakespeare’s works, and the Bible.

Did You Know?

Every year, thousands of people flock to the lovely coastal town of Torquay in South Devon, in the beautiful and sunny area known as the English Riviera – for the International Agatha Christie Festival, as well as for the regular tours of her favourite haunts and settings from her childhood and married life.

Many of these have been featured in her novels, offering a wonderful blend of fiction and reality. Take a tour to find out which ones are drawn directly from Christie’s true-to-life experiences.

Even if you can’t make it for the festival itself, you can take a self-guided or guided tour of the Agatha Christie Mile along the Torquay seafront: there are seven information plaques along the way to illuminate the places that held particular importance in the author’s life.

Festival Details:

Visit the Official Agatha Christie Festival website to learn more about being involved, current projects, and up-to-date festival information The next annual festival event will be a one-day celebration of Agatha Christie’s birthday in Torquay on Saturday, 15th September 2018. The next 5Day Festival will take place 11th -15th September 2019.   This may seem far away now, but I’m going to guess that attendance will be very high! Be sure to let us know if it’s on your radar!

For more information on the Agatha Christie Literary Trail

To receive a FREE print destination guide for the English Riviera

Staying in a Lighthouse: Is This Your Dream?

Staying in a Lighthouse: Is This Your Dream?

What is it about lighthouses, anyway?

What is it that makes lighthouses so iconic, mysterious and romantic? Why are they such powerful symbols in our culture?  And why is the idea of an overnight stay in a lighthouse such a compelling and enticing one?

There’s no simple answer to that question, of course. Most lighthouses no longer work the way they once did: they’re often unmanned, and some are no longer used at all. They’ve either been automated, or simply aren’t needed anymore, as we now have all manner of satellite and GPS technology.

Is it the bygone era? Is it the romanticism of heroic acts?

Perhaps lighthouses appeal to our romantic and literary sensibilities. Does their wonder come from their ability to snatch men and women from the dark clutches of the sea? After all, there’s nothing like a real or symbolic saving light in the darkness, to stir the soul and the imagination…

The Cordouan, Versailles of the Sea

Lighthouses commonly stand where the meeting points between the land and sea are at their most dangerous and violent: places that threatened humans as they ventured more and more to explore the oceans and colonize new lands. They represent danger in a certain sense– and human victory over that danger. There’s a sense of redemption in the image of a sea-battered old lighthouse sending out beacons of hope to lost seafarers.

Who hasn’t seen dramatic old pictures of Brittany’s great lighthouses – and attempts by the ocean to completely swallow them? These iconic lighthouses in France remain compelling tourist destinations, many situated on the “Finistère” coastline that meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Both the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines abound with these stirringly beautiful architectural structures, isolated on their stunning rocky outcrops and peaks. No wonder they inspire artists, photographers and travellers of all kinds to visit and admire them.

Perhaps the queen of these is Cordouan, at the mouth of the Gironde Estuary, near Bordeaux. Also known as the Versailles of the Sea owing to its sheer scope and grandeur, it was built under the reign of King Louis XIV, and is the oldest lighthouse in France.

Ways to Visit the Cordouan Lighthouse

You can visit this iconic French structure by boat – and it’s most definitely worth it! This active lighthouse is also home to an onsite  museum. There are three departure points for the ferry, all within close reach of Bordeaux. This is an adventure that’s perfect for the intrepid experiential traveller. 

Drop us a line below if you would like more information, or Contact Us by clicking this link.

What About Staying Overnight?

Some lighthouses have been retired from ‘active service’, however– luckily for us curious travellers– they’ve been put back into service as rental holiday cottages or bed and breakfast style guesthouses. These are just a few examples of lighthouses where you can stay overnight, all located in the UK and Ireland. There are plenty more, however: sign up for our forthcoming guide below to learn about some of the world’s most magical lighthouses to lodge in. 


Would you like to stay in a lighthouse?

Sign up here to find out where!

8 Travel Photography Tips to Learn Now

8 Travel Photography Tips to Learn Now

Rebecca Northcott’s Top Advice

Rebecca Northcott

Rebecca Northcott

Guest Photographer

Rebecca originates from Yorkshire, England. She specializes in portraiture of families, individuals and couples. Since traveling to Canada 10 years ago she has become a lover of travel, sampling local delights and meeting new people from every walk of life.

GUEST POST by Rebecca Northcott, a professional photographer based in the UK. We asked her for her top tips, and she’s been generous enough to share them with you!

Traveling means one thing for your social media feed: lots and lots of pictures. Whether it’s boasting your latest tan at the pool or the cool features in your hotel room, there’s always the perfect excuse to take and share a snap. Photographs also lock in the memories that are made when traveling, no matter where you are going. Here are some helpful tips to hopefully make your clicking fingers snap happy.

1. Before you go, get prepared!

Just as you make sure all your luggage is cleared out and organized before you leave, and remove that old chewed up gum out of the front pocket that was from last year’s trip, you should always, always charge the batteries of your camera and if you can, carry spares.

A helpful tip for those of you who love the rapid fire option on your camera: be sure to take more than one memory card with you – you won’t forgive yourself if the card you used to capture your partner’s pool dive suddenly dies. You can get memory cards now for dirt cheap anywhere from 2-20 GB. Your safest bet is to take at least two with you

2. Off you snap!

You will want to capture all the details from your trip, be it on the way to the airport, the pit stops during the car trip, the pending rainstorm, or your kids “am I there yet” frown.

The most important thing is to snap those spur-of-the-moment instances. That pack of chips your kid is eating will change branding within the next ten years and you will look back and have a giggle how funny the font was.

I know this from my own family photos. These shots may seem random or boring to you, and I don’t encourage you to go about taking photos of every chip packet known to man, however if it’s something important to you or someone you care about, you may just want to take a photo of it. Remember, this moment won’t happen ever again.


3. I’m so excited! (Get the big attractions)

Are you going to a popular tourist spot? Make sure you get a photo with all the big attractions or statue or tower.

Whatever it is, take full advantage of it.

To help you photographically, please always follow this rule: Be sure the attraction in the photo isn’t behind your head; Always place the person to the side of it.

Trust that this will save you the grief of regretting that one shot.


4. Don’t be a party pooper

While you’re on vacation, don’t always be the one taking the photos: make sure you get in some as well!

We all know you take the best photos in your group, but hey, we need to see that you were there, too. Set your camera on auto and let someone else snap some of you (or there’s always a self timer). Run rabbit run!

Remember, you are there for a holiday, after all. Enjoy it!

5. The posing guide

Silly faces and gestures are funny– but only when it’s appropriate.

This can apply to serious posing toothere’s a time and a place for it. If you want to imitate a puffer fish at the aquarium, go for it, we will all giggle along with you, but doing the same face everywhere else gets a bit monotonous. You may just want a nice sunset photo that’s relaxed where you just look happy.

Change it up, get a variety of shots with and without you in it.

6. Get creative

Don’t be afraid to use props, hide behind parts of a building, or pop out from behind an object.

Taking pictures is all about getting creative and having fun. Spend a few minutes finding an interesting angle or perspectiveshoot upwards, downwards and any other position that will produce a unique photo.

Give your photo some depth. If you are struggling with low light or shooting when it’s dark, don’t forget to use your flash.

Also, try to make sure you are at least a few feet away. No one wants their eyes closed in a shot because you’re blinded by the camera’s flash.  


7. I’m tired and I wanna go home

We’ve all heard it and know it to be true- sometimes we need a vacation after the vacation.

Before you get home and upload your 500 odd photos to Facebook, go through your images and delete them on the go.

Unless you are a real camera geek and enjoy spending hours sifting through images, you will probably not have the time or energy to go through them when you get back. Another tip is simply to take less photos.

The less you have, the easier it is to go through them, even on a daily basis and delete the ones you don’t need. This is faster and saves you time in the long run.

8. The most important thing: keep your perspective

If these tips seem overwhelming and you just want to take a few snaps on Instagram, then this last tip is for you. Put down the camera. Yes, you heard right. Sometimes it’s best to just let your eyes and mind actually enjoy the view.

Seeing things with your own eyes rather than through a camera lens enables you to looks at things with more depth. If it’s hard for you to put the camera away when on vacation, think of it as a challenge for at least one day.

One day where you simply enjoy the view and not worry about snapping that perfect shot. It will revitalize you. The image you take with your own eyes will surely capture that memory forever, more so than any picture you have to search for and look back on.

Do something different with your time- share it with your loved ones or just sit and soak it all in. Take time for you.

Hopefully these tips have helped you. Vacations are to be enjoyed so take these suggestions with a pinch of salt. Do what works for you, and most of all, have a great holiday!