A lonely moor enveloped in fog. A train carrying a passenger with a deadly secret. A tense courtroom awaiting a verdict. Such images are familiar to lovers of the English detective novel. Yorkshire, Northumbria, and Edinburgh have all served as settings for stories of murder and mayhem, as well as the setting for this popular one-of-a-kind mystery tour. Join Smithsonian experts Carol Kent and Ros Hutchinson, who provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives and settings of famous detective novelists, both past and present. You’ll explore the landscapes used as settings, visit the authors’ haunts, and view museum collections that provide more depth to the life and work of famous mystery writers. This exclusive, behind-the-scenes journey will also feature informal meetings with some of today's mystery writers, who offer a glimpse into their lives and work!Check out our slide show for a photo journey of this tour!
View photos by clicking "Next Tour" at the top of the page!Traveler Comment
“This is my second mystery tour, and it was absolutely amazing. I came away with new favorite authors, wonderful memories, and new friends who share my mystery addiction! Plus, Study Leader Carol Kent is simply amazing! Her lectures gave me new insights into the books and they meshed perfectly with our activities and meetings with authors.” Lourdes Fernandez, Mystery Lover’s England and ScotlandItinerary
October 20 - 21 — U.S., Manchester and Harrogate
Depart the U.S. for Britain on individual flights. Arrive in Manchester, transfer to Yorkshire’s Harrogate, and check in to the Majestic, a grand 19th-century spa hotel in the center of town. An afternoon at leisure provides time to stroll through the town’s lovely gardens, enjoy afternoon tea, and become acquainted with Agatha Christie’s hideout during her famous “disappearance” of 1926. Tonight, gather for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. (Reception, D)October 22 — Brontë Country
Delve into the characters and settings made famous by Charlotte Brontë and Robert Barnard. A pilgrimage to West Yorkshire begins with a visit to Haworth and its surrounding countryside, which captivated the imagination of Charlotte Brontë. Visit the Parsonage and enjoy an exclusive meeting with Ann Dinsdale, Collections Manager for the Brontë Parsonage Museum to learn more about the settings of the Brontë novels.
Follow the steps of contemporary mystery writer Robert Barnard’s Charlie Pearce as he searches for clues in modern Haworth, and Superintendent Perry Trethowan, who looks into a Brontë manuscript that is a motive for murder! Enjoy a traditional pub lunch at Old Silent Inn, the setting for Martha Grimes’ murder mystery, and end the day taking the steam train from Oxenhope to Keighley on the Worth Valley railway, setting for The Railway Children
. This evening, special guest speaker Dr. John Curran offers a presentation on Agatha Christie – The Beginning of a Life of Crime
. (B, L, D)October 23 — Castle Howard and York
Visit Castle Howard, one of Britain’s finest stately homes, the 18th-century home of the Howard family and setting for the recent adaptation of P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley
. On a walking tour explore the ‘snickleways’ of the historic city of York, which has provided settings for countless mystery writers, including Cassandra Clark. This afternoon, meet with an author over tea.
(B)October 24 — North Yorkshire
Drive across the rolling North Yorkshire Moors to the charming coastal town of Whitby. Bram Stoker’s Dracula begins his invasion of England in Whitby; in fact, Stoker derived inspiration for his vampire story when he saw the ruins of Whitby Abbey, perched eerily on a cliff above the town. Explore the ancient abbey ruins and the adjacent Church of St. Mary, dating back to the 12th century, and peer down the 199 steps made famous by Dracula. Check in to the Durham Marriott for two nights. (B, L, D)October 25 — Durham and Hadrian’s WallVisit the magnificent city of Durham and enjoy a guided tour that features the castle and the cathedral of this World Heritage site. Depart for Hadrian’s Wall, another World Heritage Site.
In Corbridge, enjoy a special luncheon with author Ruth Downie
, who will discuss her series featuring Roman Army medic and sleuth, Gaius Petreius Ruso. You'll also visit Corbridge Roman Town, which was featured in Terra Incognita
and have time to explore key sites along Hadrian's Wall before returning to Durham. (B, L)October 26 — Northumberland and Edinburgh
Drive north along the dramatic coastline of Northumberland and explore the settings used by Ann Cleeves for her Vera Stanhope Series. Continue your journey past the cliff-lined shores and towering castles of the spectacular Northumbrian coast. Explore some of the sites featured in “Vera,” the televised version of Ann Cleeves’ series starring Brenda Blethyn. Arrive in Edinburgh and check into the Parliament House Hotel. (B)October 27 — Edinburgh’s New and Old Towns
Visit Edinburgh's New Town, developed as a showcase of classical architecture during the 18th-century “Scottish Enlightenment.” This neighborhood is home to one of the mystery world’s newest amateur sleuths Isabel Dalhousie, created by Alexander McCall Smith. The charming characters and fascinating puzzles of The Sunday Philosophy Club
come to life during a tour of Dalhousie’s haunts in the Georgian city and Royal Usher Hall. By special arrangement, meet Dr. Alan Mackaill, author of The Real Sherlock Holmes during a special visit at the Royal College of Surgeons.
Then, in Edinburgh’s Old Town, see haunts of Jekyll and Hyde and those of Lin Anderson’s forensic scientist, Rhona MacLeod. Descend to the underground vaults of Victorian Edinburgh at Mary King’s Close and enjoy an exclusive meeting with one of Edinburgh’s top mystery writers.
(B)October 28 — Edinburgh
Ian Rankin’s novels evoke the many facets of Edinburgh, from its establishment exterior to its captivating underbelly. Follow in the steps of Detective Rebus from the new Scottish Parliament to the Museum of Scotland and from the Arthur’s Seat to the narrow lanes of Fleshmarket Close. In the afternoon, enjoy some time at leisure to explore the city. Then in the evening gather for a festive farewell dinner at The Witchery
. (B, Reception, D)October 29 — Edinburgh, Depart for U.S.
Depart Edinburgh on individual flights to the U.S. (B)