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Devon & Cornwall – West Country Writers, the ‘Mystery Writers Trail’

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Literary Landscapes in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset

Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Thomas Hardy...

6 days/5 nights

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This tour is not just for the literary minded, as this is a region with much to offer visitors! Enjoy the timeless landscapes of time gone by...This is a true feast for all of the senses!

Overviewicon Itineraryicon

This tour begins and ends in London.

 

TENTATIVE ITINERARY

Day 1

Sunday

 

We depart our London meeting point at 9am, making our way via the old coaching route. We will explore the medieval village of Lacock, which has hardly changed in the past 200 years. With its magnificent abbey, half timbered cottages and greystone houses it provides a perfect setting. This lovely place, where TV ariels, telephone wires and advertising are banned, has been used as a film set for many popular films such as the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle production of Pride and Prejudice, the BBC series of Cranford and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

 

Next is the Georgian city of Bath. Your guide will be on hand for a walking tour of Jane Austen’s city. This place was enjoyed by the social set of the 18th and 19th centuries, a setting for Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and many other writers. Austen fans should recognize several streets and squares from her novels such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion and we’ll see places where the author herself lived.

 

As this is our overnight location, you will have free time to go as you please, choose to visit the Jane Austen Centre, the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms or simply wander the antique, book and tea shops as you wish.

 

NIGHTSTOP: Bath area

PROPERTY: The Kennard, Edgar Townhouse or similar, http://www.kennard.co.uk/ https://www.edgar-townhouse.co.uk/

BB

Day 2

Monday

 

A full day today as we make our way west, via the lovely Wells Cathedral and King Arthur’s reputed burial place and England’s New Age capital of Glastonbury. Here we can discuss the legend of Gwyn ap Nudd, King of the Fairies, while exploring the magical hollow of Glastonbury Tor.

 

The atmospheric and brooding Dartmoor Moors is our destination, our base for these next few days. This rich landscape is full of literary connections. We can go on the trail of the great 'Sherlock Holmes' detective case The Hound of the Baskervilles, settings on the moors, and uncover the real life dark legend that inspired the best-selling novel. If we’re lucky, we may see some of the famed Dartmoor ponies too!

 

NIGHTSTOP: Dartmoor, Two Bridges/Tavistock area

PROPERTY: Two Bridges or The Bedford or similar https://www.twobridges.co.uk/ https://www.bedford-hotel.co.uk/

DBB

Day 3

Tuesday

 

The Dartmoor Moors and Cornish Coast are our playground, where more famed settings should spring to life from the pages. We will wander the dramatic Cornish coastline around Fowey, so perfectly described in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and the ‘Smuggler’s Cave’ area of Polperro to discover a bit about her life and times.

 

NIGHTSTOP: Dartmoor, same property as above

DBB

Day 4

Wednesday

 

We have Boscastle with its King Arthur and Thomas Hardy connections, Port Isaac of TV show Doc Martin fame and rugged Tintagel Castle, the reputed birthplace of King Arthur, high on top of the wild cliffs accessible only by walking all as options. We may find time to also discover the real ‘Jamaica Inn’ if we wish. This is now a bit of a touristy stop, but fun none the less. Our route today might take us past Lauceston Castle, a Norman round tower with connections to another du Maurier novel, The King’s General.

 

NIGHTSTOP: Dartmoor, same property as above

DBB

Day 5

Thursday

 

Torquay, a very popular seaside resort, has been host to dozens of vacationing authors over the years, but we will call in for a visit since it is the birthplace of one of the greatest mystery writers of all time, Agatha Christie. Here we can explore landmarks from both her life and settings for her 'Miss Marple' novels plus visit her nearby home of Greenways, now protected by the National Trust.

 

Another stop today is Lyme Regis. This is part of Britain’s ‘Jurassic Park’ so perhaps the very lucky might find a fossil along the shoreline. Lyme Regis, which was a popular sea spa town and the site of many Austen family holidays, looks much as it did when Jane spent time here, and sites from Persuasion are recognizable.

 

Our evening will be spent near Thomas Hardy’s ‘Casterbridge,’ the village of Dorchester.

 

NIGHTSTOP: Dorchester area

PROPERTY: Poachers Inn or similar http://www.thepoachersinn.co.uk/

DBB

Day 6

Friday

 

Today is our day to explore the world of Thomas Hardy, far from the madding crowd. Dorsetshire was his canvas and our course can meander through one or two of the timeless villages that were his inspiration. During our time, we can visit his birthplace, Hardy’s Cottage.

 

This afternoon, en-route back to London, some time for iconic Salisbury to pay our respects inside the stunning Salisbury Cathedral and see one of the greatest pieces of writing, the Magna Carta.

 

We will return back to London this evening. Accommodation is separate tonight, London property of your choice.

 

 

 

Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times beyond our control.

 

Oft imitated, never duplicated! This is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.

Inclusionsicon

What Your Tour Package Includes:

6 touring days with your driver/guide/companion, accommodation for 5 nights while on the tour including breakfast daily and 4 dinners. Your price also includes entrance fees to listed attractions, transportation, services of driver/guide-companion and all taxes and tips other than those you may wish to give your guide.

 

Airport transfers, accommodation pre and post tour, city tours, attraction passes and transport passes are not included but can be added to your package as you wish. Ask us for details. SGT is at your service!

Mapicon Why SGT?icon

The Special Group Tours Advantage is our unique and intimate understanding of what you expect traveling in the UK and Europe. We have not only visited but have spent many years living in and loving the cultures you will experience down the ‘B’ Roads and off the beaten track. We have worked with local suppliers and our guide/companion team for over a decade, creating unique special interest itineraries. Special Group Tours offers our “insider” knowledge to you.

 

The SGT Small Group Touring Concept is traveling with just 4 - 14 guests per departure. It is our aim to introduce you to the 'real' country and its people, not just ticking the boxes of a standardized route and treating you as an individual and not a number. Our concept allows for a leisurely touring pace and flexibility to get off the beaten track to discover hidden gems. Of course you'll see the major sites but so much more too!

 

At Special Group Tours, it is our priority that you have the most enjoyable holiday possible. You deserve it!