The Crime Writer’s Trail and Other Stories | TravelResearchOnline


The Crime Writer’s Trail and Other Stories

Welcome to another inspired collection of short UK programmes which will help you to increase your profits from cruises sailing in, and out, of Southampton.

My top stories focus on well-known names like Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Inspector Morse; and I have highlighted a couple of Crime Writer Festivals which could be of interest. Elsewhere, there are reminders of the interest that can be generated when you offer clients tours that include names like Downton Abbey, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter, Stonehenge and King Arthur, the Cotswolds and the Royal Horticultural Society flagship garden at Wisley.

Morse, Lewis and Sherlock Holmes

Fans of these popular TV shows will thank you for this short cruise extension which includes a visit to the final resting place of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the graveyard of a must-visit 12th century parish church, Miss Marple’s St. Mary Mead the quaint fictional village created by Agatha Christi and a close encounter with Endeavour, Morse and Lewis in Oxford before a final night in London. It works equally well in reverse.

Crimefest in Bristol

Next year’s Crimefest in Bristol runs between 4th-7th June and just as the Chelsea Flower Show is the must-see event for amateur and professional gardeners, this convention for people who like to read an occasional crime novel as well as for die-hard fanatics. Since its inception in 2008, it has become one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, drawing top crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world.

Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival

Now in its 17th year, this world class, award winning festival will return to the magnificent Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire between 23rd-26th July. Celebrating the very best in crime fiction, with an incredible line-up of special guests and a variety of stimulating and exciting panels, the Festival is a firm date in the literary calendar, and it has achieved international acclaim for the quality of its programming, organisation and atmosphere.

Downton Abbey Upstairs and Downstairs

After its sensational, hugely popular six season run and the subsequent box office hit of the Downton Abbey movie, don’t forget you can offer your clients a 3 night tour that includes Highclere Castle (main season opening dates 12th July-8th September), some On Location visits in nearby Oxfordshire Cotswolds’ villages, some free time in Oxford and a visit to either the magnificently impressive Blenheim Palace or the treasure-filled Waddesdon Manor.

Oxford’s Literary Landscape

This fiction into reality bookshelf tour features a fascinating walking tour that illustrates Oxford’s literary links with Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Inspector Morse, J.R.R. Tolkien and C S Lewis in Oxford with time for lunch at the famous Eagle and Child pub and Sir Winston Churchill at Blenheim Palace. Also included is a visit to Jane Austen’s home at Chawton and her burial place in the spectacular Winchester Cathedral.

Myths and Legends

Prehistoric England and the stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere at Glastonbury Abbey, and a Jane Austen perspective on Georgian Bath are the foundations for this tour. The beautiful Abbey House Garden, the inspirational royal garden at Highgrove and magnificent Capability Brown landscape at Blenheim Palace plus my personal choice of Cotswold pubs for lunch elevate this tour to becoming a riveting and entertaining journey through time.

Ah! The Cotswolds

Spend a couple of days discovering the sleepy honey coloured limestone villages, sheep-clad hillsides, privately owned castles, stately home and gardens in of the Cotswolds, one of the loveliest corners of England. With my personal recommendations for pub lunches and dinners, access from LHR to Oxford is dead easy and the journey to Southampton includes visits to Stonehenge, the site of the original city of Salisbury at Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral.

An Essentially English Experience

Just 35 minutes from Heathrow, close to the main route between London and Southampton, the cathedral city of Guildford, makes a great hub for a 2-3 night cruise add-on. Don’t miss the Royal Horticultural Society flagship garden at Wisley, the home of motorsport and aviation at the Brooklands Museum, and the Artist’s village at the Watts Gallery. There are masses to see at all three attractions so make sure you allow enough time for each visit.



Paull Tickner, owner of U.K-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at or email him at

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