Even diehard Agatha Christie fans may be surprised to learn that her prolific, 66-novel oeuvre—which includes the legendary Death On the Nile, whose latest cinematic adaptation debuts today in theaters nationwide—is the best-selling of all time, outsold only by the Bible and the works of William Shakespeare.
Another arguably little-known fact about the mystery mastermind behind super sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple: 2022 marks the centennial of her trailblazing Grand Tour, Agatha’s 10-month trip around the world that set sail from London in January 1922 and thereafter informed the inimitable tales that made England’s queen of crime a household name.
To commemorate this singular anniversary, Agatha aficionados and intrepid adventurers alike can now follow in her remarkable footsteps—starting in the United Kingdom and traveling on through Africa, Australasia, and North America—thanks to three epic itineraries newly unveiled by luxury travel company, Black Tomato.
“For me, literature has always provided some of the best travel inspiration,” says Tom Marchant, Black Tomato’s cofounder. “Reading Agatha Christie novels on holiday when I was young, I loved how—even if I wasn’t in the fabulous places where they were set—they made everything feel exotic. It’s been fascinating to learn how her epic Grand Tour inspired her work, and to translate that passion into a modern-day adventure that really reminds people of the power of travel.”
The Black Tomato team worked closely with Agatha Christie Limited to unearth little-known details of Christie’s iconic adventure and incorporate them—along with the bespoke travel outfitter’s signature knack for innovative twists—into the three itineraries, which can be booked independently or woven together. From incorporating notable locales where Agatha stayed, to reimagining highlights of her journey for today’s traveler, the multi-leg adventure celebrates key moments along her extraordinary tour.
To kick things off in grand fashion, two nights in London include a cozy chat over high tea at Brown’s Hotel (where Agatha was a regular visitor) with renowned British historian Lucy Worsley or James Prichard—Agatha’s great-grandson and CEO of Agatha Christie Limited—for exclusive insight into the author’s incredible life and legacy.
Next, in Africa—where Agatha’s sojourns partly inspired her 1924 novel, The Man In The Brown Suit—her railway transfer from Cape Town to Pretoria is reborn aboard the Blue Train, a luxe journey that recalls the golden age of train travel, during a 10-night itinerary that also features vineyard hopping in South Africa’s sublime Cape Winelands.
A visit to enchanting Nelson, New Zealand—including a stay at the achingly idyllic Edenhouse and a private tour of the region’s rich gold-mining history—comprises part of the 16-night third leg Down Under, as do outings to Lake Kaniere and Arthur’s Pass, two of Agatha’s stops in the land of the long white cloud.
Finally, in North America, a private surf lesson at Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach nods to Agatha’s penchant for riding the waves, a passion she discovered on her globetrotting adventure and whose challenges she later referenced in The Man in the Brown Suit: “Surfing looks perfectly easy. It isn’t. I say no more.”
A stay at the opulent Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, and a private flight to Niagara Falls, followed by an afternoon exploring nearby boutique wineries, round out the itinerary.
While odds are most travelers won’t have the luxury of time (and/or budget) to swing all three legs, Black Tomato’s timing may be right on the money. A growing number of indicators point to 2022 as the year of the bucket-list trip, as the world continues to shake off Covid-19’s devastating impact on the travel industry.
Simply put, leisure travelers climbing the walls after two years of exhausting travel restrictions are desperate to get back out there in a big way. According to a November 2021 report by the World Travel & Tourism Council and Trip.com, some 70% of them in countries including the U.S., U.K, Canada, Japan, and Spain plan to spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years.
Marchant concurs that recent inquiries from Black Tomato clients echo such findings.
“We’re seeing a recalibration in terms of the importance of travel,” he says. “People are taking things slower, planning longer, more immersive trips, and really trying to lean into the world.”
Agatha would surely approve.