Revel in Mystery Writer Agatha Christie’s Elegant World
Mystery novelist & author Agatha Christie got her first glimpse of Greenway House from across the River Dart near Galmpton and, after falling in love with the place she and her husband bought it in 1938. Her daughter lived there until she passed away in 2004, and since then the National Trust have spent £5.4 million renovating and restoring it.
A mile & a half from Galmpton Touring Park, Greenway House was Agatha Christie’s holiday home and it remains, just as she described it when she lived there, “the loveliest place in the world.” The walled gardens are exquisite, and feature an allotment to which the local school children tend. The boathouse (made famous in her book Dead Man’s Folly) is currently being restored to it’s former glory, as is the Peach House and it’s vinery and the work and care that has gone into looking after the house and grounds is immediately evident upon visiting.
The house has stayed true to it’s 1950’s feel, and the families penchant for collecting is evidenced in the archaeology – Tunbridgeware, silver, botanical china and vast book collections they amassed during their decades in the house are still as huge a part of the home as they always were.
Located just four and a half miles from Paignton, and two miles from Churston, Greenway is open from 10.30am to 5pm throughout May. If you’re feeling energetic, you can take a steam train from Paignton or Kingswear to Greenway Halt, which is a delightful 30 minute woodland walk to Greenway. Although fairly steep and a little muddy in spots (take some wellies if you can) it is definitely an interesting experience.
Entry prices are £9.90 for adults, £4.95 for children, and £24.75 for a family. If you go in a group, the price for a group adult is £9.20 and £4.60 for a group child – so you get a bit of a discount! If you wish to donate, for 10% more per admission, you can get a Gift Aid Admission which allows Greenway to reclaim tax on the whole amount paid.
If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie and her popular mysteries, why not do the ‘Agatha Christie Mile’, just 6 miles away from Galmpton in Torquay? As the inspiration behind many of her books, there are several places along the mile that are memorable from Christie’s life.
The Grand Hotel (where they still have an Agatha Christie Suite), is where she spent her wedding night to Archie Christie in 1914. The Torre Abbey Garden has a particularly macabre Agatha Christie twist, as it’s ‘Potent Plants’ collection is home to the plants from which the poisons were made, and then used by the murderers in her books to carry out their dastardly crimes.
Princess Pier is where Agatha liked to roller skate (you can also take the ferry to Greenway House from the Pier), and The Princess Gardens were featured in The ABC Murders. The Pavilion is where Archie Christie proposed to (then) Agatha Miller and Agatha’s father, Frederick Miller, was a member of the Royal Torbay Yacht Club.
Beacon Cove, known in her day as Ladies Bathing Cove, and The Imperial Hotel are other special places along the mile, finishing up with The Torquay Museum, which has the only dedicated Agatha Christie Gallery in the UK.
Guided tours are available.
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