Friday 13th September 2024, 10:00am

Agatha Travels

Andrew Eames is a travel writer, broadcaster and former newspaper journalist and the author of five travel books including the bestseller, The 8.55 to Baghdad. In this book he retraces a solo journey made by Agatha Christie from London to Baghdad in 1928, a journey that was to change her life completely.

The idea of the book came to the author when he stayed overnight at a hotel in Aleppo, northern Syria, in the late 1990s – and realized that Agatha Christie had been a regular guest in the hotel, and that the opening scene of Murder on the Orient Express was set in the railway station at which he himself had just arrived.

This didn’t accord with his preconception of Agatha Christie as a typical Home Counties person, more comfortable in vicarage tea parties than in Arab souks. Further investigation revealed quite how adventurous the crime writer had been. After her marriage to her second husband, Max Mallowan, she criss-crossed Europe, mostly by train, and spent several winter seasons in Iraq and Syria living in tents, with the occasional trip to Aleppo to do some shopping and get her hair done. A surprisingly well travelled life.

Andrew writes for a wide range of newspapers, from the Financial Times to the Sunday Mirror and also runs a website about Germany. Find out more at


Getting to the venue

The Spanish Barn is in the grounds of Torre Abbey. This is on Torquay seafront and walkable from most hotels in the area. It is also right next to Torquay Train Station. The nearest car park is Torre Valley - Torbay Council.


There is a drop-off point and limited parking within the grounds for disabled visitors. Entry to the Spanish Barn is relatively level, but there are a few cobble stones to cross, before entering the completely flat interior. We have space for wheelchairs, although if you let us know in advance, we can ensure that

there is ample dedicated space for the number of wheelchair users. We have also raised the height of the main stage this year, so that guest speakers can easily be seen. We also have two TV screens midway down the barn screening what is happening on the stage. We also have a disabled toilet to the rear of the Spanish Barn.

If you have any particular access requirements or enquiries, do please get in touch and we will do whatever we feasibly can to accommodate you. Please email