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Anyone travelling to Agatha Christie Internation Festival, Sept.13-17, in Torquay, Devon?

Trying to plan this hurriedly as opportunity now presents, but were I to fly into Heathrow (probably) from Texas, would the rail connections be straightforward to Torquay, Devon, from....Paddington Station, I presume? Not sure of Paddington, but it's a guess. If any have attended this Festival in years past, Dame Agatha's 'Greenway', etc., would love your comments....I would hope for a scenic train ride to Torquay.... A long shot on this question, but please share any favored Guest Houses in Torquay or perhaps Paignton, where a single female traveler could be near the Festivities (mostly in Torquay) and get around fairly easily by...bus...once there. Suggestions on other 'must see' sights nearby when in this English Riviera area..... Much appreciation from Suzanne

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22018 posts

You can investigate your train options at i took a quick look at Sept. 11 fares and found a wide range. There's money to be saved if you book soon; don't know what will happen to the less expensive options as time passes. Most of the routes have one change. Your guess about Paddington was correct.

Haven't been to the specific places you mentioned but I'm currently in SW England and have been pleased with the bus service in general. You'll probably be able to manage side-trips fairly easily, if you want to include some, but understand that gardens (in case you're also interested in those) tend to be in rural areas and some walking may be required from the nearest bus stop. You can probably find inter-city schedules by Googling. Even small places seem to have local buses, too.

Check into lodging right away, especially if you don't want to stay in high-end places Normally, I'd expect September to be easier than August, but the festival may change that. I've had trouble finding well-located budget spots, booking a week or so ahead, especially over weekends. As a result. I've had to insert a couple of single-night stays into my itinerary.

I picked up a flyer yesterday for a road-show production by The Classic Theatre Company of Ruth Rendell's "A Judgement in Stone". These are the September performances:

Oxford, Sept. 4 - 9
Torquay, Sept. 11 - 16 (
Coventry, Sept. 19 - 23
Dartford, Sept. 25 - 30

You might find additional information on the website.

Yes, rail from Paddington.

Definitely spend some time in Dartmouth, which is a stunningly beautiful small town. And also do the classic river/steam train round robin trip. It's a bit complex to work out, as it depends on high water for the river trip but it's well worth doing:

Obviously Greenway is a must. You may need to pre-book as it will be busy.

I urge you to go to the nearby National Trust property of Coleton Fishacre as well. It doesn't have direct Agatha connections but it's a perfect 1920s jazz age country house that is so redolent of that era and you could imagine her books & stories taking place there: