At the centre of what is colloquially known as `The English Riviera` is Torbay, an amalgamation of three towns in Devon consisting of: Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Torquay is situated at the northern end of Torbay and was the most popular holiday resort in England during Victorian times.
Torbay has regained popularity with British tourists over the last few years since the `Tourism in Torbay 2005-2015` strategy was begun by the Torbay Development Agency. The project is well underway and has so far included restoration of the seafront area, plus the addition of many new attractions, visitor activities and various types of accommodation.
Torquay`s name originates from a quay in the ancient village of Torre, which was the birthplace of the legendary crime writer, Agatha Christie. She was born on September l5 1890 in a house called Ashfield in the Torre Parish. As well as over 80 crime novels, she also wrote `The Mousetrap` a play which has been running in London`s West End theatres since 1952.
When Agatha was born, her father donated a large sum of money to All Saints Church in Torre to mark her birth and she was made a founder member. She was baptised there when she was two months old and the same font is still in use today. Throughout her life this church and her Christian faith remained an important priority to her.
Agatha Christie`s first novel `The Mysterious Affair at Styles` was published in 1920 after years of trying and being passed to several publishing houses. Some mystery and controversy amongst experts still surrounds where exactly it was written. Some believe it was started whilst she was working in a hospital Dispensary, others claim that she did her writing at the All Saints Church vicarage, which is now a hotel known as Heathcliff House Hotel.
Having completed half of the book it is believed that Agatha got writer`s block and took herself off to what is now the Moorlands Hotel in Haytor Down, a remote area of Dartmoor, to finish it, which she is said to have achieved in two weeks.
Agatha Christie died in 1976 and Torquay has many commemorative themes to remember her. The Torquay Museum has a special gallery devoted to her work, hotels in the town have bars and suites of rooms named after her and there is the `Agatha Christie Mile` which takes in ten landmarks dotted around the Torquay harbour and seafront. At eight of them, there are clues which spell out the name of a character linked with her books.
Torquay in modern times is a vibrant town offering visitors of all types and ages plenty to see and do during their stay. To encourage more visitors, the ongoing regeneration project, in conjunction with Groupon Deals, regularly advertises some very special offers for short breaks in the Torbay area which are well worth a look.