Classic Mystery Lover's England
This one-of-a-kind mystery tour explores the landscape of British mysteries from Devon to Oxford to London!
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Peaceful Devon, academic Oxford, and cosmopolitan London have all served as settings for stories of murder and mayhem and are the focus of this popular one-of-a-kind British mystery tour. Join our Smithsonian experts who provide fascinating insight into the lives and settings of famous detective novelists, both historic and contemporary.
This exclusive, behind-the-scenes journey features insider meetings with mystery writers who offer a glimpse into their work and lives, including Colin Dexter, Andrew Taylor, and Simon Brett. Explore many of the landscapes used as mystery settings, and visit Greenway (Agatha Christie's private holiday home), as well as various authors' haunts. You'll also view museum collections that provide more depth to the life and work of Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, P.D. James, and others. Travel through the spectacular Devon countryside, so richly described in Agatha Christie's stories, and delve into mysterious Dartmoor. You'll also walk among the ancient towers and hidden quads of Oxford, which has produced an abundance of crime writers, before concluding in legal London, a favorite backdrop for the works of James and Sayers.
October 2-3 — U.S. Torquay
Depart the U.S. for London. Upon arrival the next day, take a group transfer to Torquay, along the Devon coast. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel, which was featured in an Agatha Christie novel.(R,D)
October 4 — Torquay
Delve into the world of Agatha Christie as you view some of her photographs, letters, manuscripts and memorabilia at the Torquay Museum. During a driving tour, experience the landscape so richly described in Christie’s books and visit Greenway, her beloved home. Meet this afternoon for a presentation by Smithsonian expert Carol Kent. (B,L)
October 5 — Dartmouth and Dartmoor
Board the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Valley Railway for a journey known to Hercule Poirot, Christie’s Belgian detective. Your journey follows the spectacular Devon coast, past picturesque stations featured in the ABC Murders. Take time to explore the cobbled, winding streets of historic Dartmouth, then embark on a cruise up the River Dart, catching another glimpse of Christie’s Greenway. Set off for mysterious Dartmoor, and ancient moorland known for its enormous granite tors, wild ponies, mist and rain. Here, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set his great story The Hound of the Baskervilles. (B,D)
October 6 — Chipping Campden
Depart Devon and journey to the Cotswolds, celebrated for golden stone villages, lovely cottages, and rolling hills dotted with sheep. En route, meet one of England’s new “classic” authors, Andrew Taylor, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for An Unpardonable Crime, who will discuss his most recent work. Continue through the Forest of Dean. Arrive in Chipping Campden and check into your historic hotel. (B,L)
October 7 — The Cotswolds
Step into a Dick Francis mystery during a morning focused on horse racing. View fine race horses up close at the stable and witness their strength and discipline during the morning ‘gallops.’ Over coffee with a trainer, take in an in-depth look at the culture of horseracing in the Cotswolds, as described in Francis’s novels. Take a walking tour of Chipping Campden this afternoon, linking aspects of village life to the world of Miss Marple and D.L. Sayers’ books. (B)
October 8 — Oxford to London
A mystery lover’s paradise, Oxford has produced an abundance of crime writers, including Dorothy L. Sayers and P.D. James. Its academic ambience, ancient towers, and hidden quads set the scene for an extensive list of mysteries, including works by Sayers and Colin Dexter. As you tour its colleges, chapels, and city haunts, this morning, it’s easy to imagine Lord Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, and Inspector Morse walking alongside. Continue to London this afternoon, where virtually all mystery writers have orchestrated a murder. During a coach tour seek out some of the sleuthing spots of haunts of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Sir Conan Doyle. At an exclusive evening reception, hear contemporary authors discuss their craft during a panel discussion, then chat with authors who will sign your books. Previous guests have included H.R.F. Keating and Edward Marston. (B,L,R)
October 9 — London
Explore the city further, including legal London, a favorite backdrop for Sayers and James. Discover the Inns of Court, the center of London’s law profession, which is featured in James’s A Certain Justice. This evening, join mystery writer Simon Brett for a farewell “performance” and dinner.(B,R,D)
October 10 — London, U.S.
Depart London for the U.S. on individual flights. (B)