Greenway House, Devon: The Home Of Agatha Christie

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Much of the inspiration for Agatha Christie’s books came from her native county of Devon. Her home at Greenway House was no exception – many of her works, including Towards Zero, Dead Man’s Folly and Five Little Pigs were inspired by the house and gardens. So, as someone who has always been a closet admirer of Agatha Christie, I was keen to go and have a look for myself.

A Georgian House

The first house in this imposing location above the Dart estuary was a 16th century Tudor mansion known as Greenway Court. But the present house was built for a sea merchant 200 years later. Agatha Christie once described it as “a white Georgian house of about 1780 or 90, with woods sweeping down to the Dart below, and a lot of fine shrubs and trees – the ideal house, a dream house”. That description could still apply to Greenway House today.

Christie bought the house as a holiday home in 1938, and spent much of her time here with her family. It was requisitioned for use by evacuees in the Second World War, but later returned to the family. The house and gardens were given to the National Trust in 2000.

Greenway House And Agatha Christie

Opinion remains divided on Agatha Christie. Leading light of the detective story or writer of potboilers, wooden characters moving around creaking plots? Love her or hate her, the fact remains that she is the third best selling author of all time. That’s a lot of fans out there.

Greenway House, Devon
Looking down to Greenway House

Those fans will find the house fascinating. For one thing, it is full of books. Not just Christie’s own books – although there is an enviable display of first editions of her novels – but everything else you could imagine. Running your eyes along the shelves is like being given a tour of the author’s mind. A highlight for me was listening to a recording of Christie herself talking about the process of writing.  

River Dart, from Greenway House
A view across the River Dart

But there is much more. You get an insight into the rich and varied life of Agatha Christie here. She was an inveterate collector, and the house is crammed with her collections of china, silver and furniture. And there are lots of archeological artefacts, brought back from her travels in the Middle East with her second husband, the archaeologist Max Mallowan.

The Gardens Of Greenway House

Even for those with no interest in the author, the gardens are worth a visit. Set in extensive landscaped parkland on a steeply sloping hill high above the banks of the River Dart, the well stocked gardens are a pleasure for plant lovers, walkers and anyone who wants to find a hidden corner to picnic or while away some time in. Enjoy the sweeping views over the river, the walk up to the viewpoint or the walled gardens. It is easy to see why anyone living in these surroundings might be inspired to write!  

Greenway House walled garden
Walking out of the walled garden
Fernery at Greenway House, Devon
The Fernery

Visiting Greenway

  • Greenway is owned by the National Trust (free entrance for members).
  • The house is approximately 8km from Paignton.
  • If you are travelling by car you need to phone in advance to book your car parking space (this should be no problem if you are not visiting in peak holiday period).
  • Buses are available, or you can take a taxi from Paignton station.
  • It is also possible to walk along the Dart Valley Trail from Kingswear or from Dartmouth (using the ferry to cross the river).
  • Greenway House has a café, shop and a secondhand bookshop.

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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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