In the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most popular literary characters of the 19th and 20th centuries, associated with Old England like no other. The first burst of “Sherlockomania” came in the 1950s and 1960s, the days of the collapse of the British Empire, and the second wave we can see now, on the background of numerous film adaptations of the adventures of Holmes and Watson.
Many people today go to England not only for the classic sights – they want to see the places where the bookish Sherlock Holmes and his friends and enemies lived and worked. And don’t limit your visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street, although you don’t have to ignore it.
Baker Street Detective Museum
Sherlock Holmes Museum
London’s most popular “Sherlockian” attraction is, of course, the Sherlock Holmes Museum. It is located on the real Baker Street, in the house, which is really number 221b. Here, however, everything is not so simple – in Doyle’s time, Baker Street ended with 80 house, so in reality, the house where the detective lived, did not exist. Now this street has grown, but the real number of the museum house was still not 221b, but 239.
At first the museum house, which had no proper address, registered under the name “221b Baker Street” to hang a proper plaque on the wall. Soon people began writing letters to the museum addressed to Sherlock Holmes, and to avoid postal confusion, city officials gave the museum a book address.
By the way, the museum wall is decorated by Holmes, played by our Russian actor Livanov. The thing is, his Sherlock Holmes was considered to be the best and the most canonical of all the movie Holmeses.
Inside the house, the setting of the Victorian era in which Sherlock Holmes lived and acted is reproduced.
Living room on the second floor
The first floor has a small gift store, the second floor has Holmes’s living room and bedroom, the third floor has Watson’s and Mrs. Hudson’s bedrooms. On the fourth floor you can see the wax figures of the characters from the books about Sherlock Holmes.
If you want to see where Sherlock Holmes could really live, you should walk from 19 to 35 Baker Street. There’s a mall there now, which was most likely the site of 221b Book House. Opposite, by the way, stands house #32, from which Moran aimed at Holmes and Watson’s living room.
Sherlock Holmes pub.
Until 1957 this establishment was the Northumberland Arms Inn, the same one where Henry Baxerville stayed and where his shoe was stolen. The inn has been converted into a pub, which has also recreated Sherlock Holmes’s living room. The pub has a wax sculpture of Sherlock that you can take a picture with, and they also serve soup “from Mrs. Hudson.”
Sherlock Holmes pub.
A few more interesting places in London
In addition to these two main attractions, there are a number of other places in London associated with the stories of Conan Doyle about the famous detective:
No. 9 House at the intersection of Queen Anne Street and Harley Street is where Watson moved to after his marriage;
The Langham Hilton Hotel – Conan Doyle himself and some of the characters in his stories have stayed there many times;
The New Scotland Yard building is the place where Inspector Lestrade and other policemen Holmes dealt with worked. By the way, Scotland Yard has an interesting “Black Museum” of crime guns, which is also worth a visit;
Charing Cross Station and the hotel of the same name nearby. From the station, Holmes and Watson have traveled to other cities on more than one occasion to investigate, and at the hotel Sherlock solved the case of Hugo Oberstein, the dangerous spy and anti-hero of the story “Bruce-Partington’s Blueprints.”
Craven Passage Lane near Channing Crossing. This alley used to be the location of the Turkish Baths, where Watson and Holmes frequented;
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital is almost another of the most famous landmarks, since it was here, according to the book, that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson first met. There is even a plaque commemorating this “event” in the modern chem lab;
Strand Street, where several houses participated in the events of “Sherlock Holmes” at once. For example, house #100 houses the restaurant “Simpson on the Strand”, the same one where Holmes and Watson liked to dine. And House #48 was the shoe store where Henry Baskerville bought his boots.
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital
Not just London.
However, if you set out to walk through all the places in England associated with the bookish Sherlock Holmes, you shouldn’t limit yourself to London alone. Sherlock Holmes has solved crimes all over the country, and he and Watson have visited more than one wonderful city.
In his notes, Dr. Watson, referring to Cambridge and Oxford, puts them into one word – Camford. Where Sherlock Holmes himself was educated is unknown, but many of his famous rivals studied there. Among them is Moriarty, Holmes’s nemesis – he was, undoubtedly, a graduate of one of these schools. Sherlock Holmes and Watson conducted their investigations in both of these towns, so both Oxford and Cambridge are worth a visit – indeed, a walk through them is a pleasure, it does a great job of immersing yourself in the true English atmosphere.
This is where the Lizard Peninsula is located, where Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson came to improve their health and simply relax by the sea. And here they were the participants of the event, which the press has called “Cornish horror”. That cottage in Poldoo Bay, where Watson and Holmes could have lived, unfortunately, has not survived, and in the house of the Trigennis family from the story “The Devil’s Foot” now lives ordinary farmers, but you can still have a look at the house from the side.
There is a theory that “Baskerville Hall,” the famous estate from the story “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” is located in South Wales, near the town of Hay-on-Wye. This estate today is represented by an inn. Local employees like to say that it was here that Conan Doyle learned the legend of the creepy dog, which formed the basis of the famous tale. True, the place of Hay-on-Wye clearly lacks the gloomy swamps that Doyle so colorfully described in his tale, so there is another place that could be “Baskerville Hall.”
Conan Doyle wrote the tale of the dog Baskervilles in the Dartmoor town of Princetown. That’s why it has its own “Baskerville Hall,” Brook Manor Manor, which fits the description quite well. What’s more, Dartmoor has a lot of sites very similar to the places and buildings described by Doyle, including those bleak swamps.
Where the Sherlock series was filmed
The Sherlock series is inextricably linked to the image of modern London. In this article you will find the locations where the series was filmed.
As you walk around the city, it’s easy to find the iconic locations that make London unmistakable on the screen. You’ll discover its remarkable skyscrapers (you’ll see the 30 St Mary Axe, better known as the Cucumber), the Piccadilly Circus, which is the opening scene of the series, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery where Dr. Watson was arrested with a can of paint, the Tower of London, where Jim Moriarty was breaking into; St Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, and London Eye pop up every now and then on the screen.
Speedy’s Cafe, or 221 b Baker Street
221 b Baker Street, the address where the Sherlock Holmes Museum is located, is a very popular tourist spot and, as a consequence, very crowded. The BBC decided that it would not be advisable to film there. So a street was found in central London that could easily be blocked off for filming. The street signs were replaced, the number on the door was brought in line with the original. The name of the café was changed in the pilot episode, but in the show itself we see the real sign.
The address is 187 North Gower Street, Camden, London, NW1 2NJ;
Opening hours: early hours until 15:00.
How to find: From Euston Square subway station, exit in the direction of Euston Road and turn right into North Gower Street. Speedy’s Cafe is on the left side of the street.
The cafe is actually open until 4:30 p.m. – I found out in person. Even if you’re not very hungry, order the tea with milk and apple pie & custard – you won’t regret it.
It gets really crowded at lunchtime, but the waiters are so nimble that you won’t have to wait at all (don’t forget to leave a tip in the jar at the register). Walk past the line (where take-out sandwiches are dispensed) and sit down at one of the tables. Look at the pictures on the walls or imagine that Dr. Watson and Mycroft Holmes are sitting at the next table.
Below is a shot from the Sherlock series A Scandal in Belgravia and the interior of Speedy’s Cafe
A peek into the apartment on Baker Street will help Google:
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Barts
Note that the building from which Sherlock jumped only has four floors. You can’t tell that by watching the series. Well, at least to me, the building seemed much taller.
Address: St Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London, EC1A 7BE
How to find it: get off St Paul’s Central line tube station and follow Newgate Street to the intersection of Old Bailey and Giltspur Street. Turn right on Giltspur. St Bartholomew’s Hospital is on the right hand side.
I think you well remember the restaurant scene from “Etude in Pink,” where Sherlock and John sit in ambush, tracking down the conniving cabman.
The series refers to Northumberland Street, but the screen shows a very different location.
The restaurant is right in downtown SoHo. It was rebuilt in 2011 and the chain was renamed, but the interior still had the recognizable windows and lanterns. I caught them in 2013. Today, the windows have been replaced and the lanterns removed. Too bad.
The chase pattern, by the way, is fictional. You don’t walk around the real London like that. The scene where the detective catches up with the cab was filmed in Cardiff.
Address: 46 Broadwick Street, Westminster, London, W1F 7AF;
Opening hours: daily 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm (Sunday to 10:00 pm);
How to find: Exit Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road onto Oxford Street, turn onto Poland Street and follow it to Broadwick Street. Turn right into Broadwick Street and the Sherlock Holmes Pub-Restaurant.
Sherlock Holmes Pub-Restaurant
Back on Northumberland Street you will find the Sherlock Holmes Pub-Restaurant.
Address : 10 Northumberland Street, St James, London, WC2N 5DB,
How to get there: From Charing Cross Underground walk towards Trafalgar Square then turn left into Northumberland Avenue. The Sherlock Holmes pub-restaurant is on the left-hand side. It’s hard to get past. Unfortunately, you can only get seating on the second floor if you order food. You will have to drink beer downstairs.
South Bank Skate Park.
The space below Queen Elizabeth Hall is an architectural feature and wasn’t originally intended for use, but it’s been favored by skaters: it’s always dry, smooth, has slopes and ladders for advanced skating. Skate Park’s floor-to-ceiling walls are covered in ever-changing graffiti. It’s one of the most distinctive and colorful places on the south shore, perfectly illustrating the difference between the reckless and free-spirited south shore and the conservative-choppy north shore.
In 2008 the rollerdrome was threatened with closure, but was saved with the support of the British government.
Address: Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank side, London
How to find it: Exit Waterloo tube station, cross the Thames over Waterloo Bridge, walk down the embankment to Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Address: 45 Gerrard St London W1D 5QQ
Getting there: Exit Leicester Square tube station, cross Charing Cross Road, go slightly to the right and turn right into Little Newport St. Turn right at the next crossroads and walk to Gerrard St. From here you can wander around the block as you please.
If you follow the Sherlock route, you will exit at Piccadilly Cirrcus and follow Shaftesbury Ave to 62 Wardour St, then turn right. The gate is Gerrard St. The store with the happy cats was filmed in Newport, which is near Cardiff.
OXO Tower Foreshore.
Here in the third episode of the first season, the body of the guard from the museum is found.
Address: Oxo Tower Wharf, Southbank, City of London, SE1 9PH
How to find: Get off at Blackfriars station, cross the Thames over the bridge and turn right.
New Scotland Yard
Address: 10 Broadway, Westminster, London, SW1H 0BG
How to find: get off at St James Park subway station (Central Line) onto Broadway Street.
Central Criminal Court
Address: Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7EH
How to find: get off at St Paul’s subway station on the Central line and follow Newgate Street to the intersection of Old Bailey and Giltspur Street. Turn left into Giltspur Street.
The Diogenes Club
How to get there: The nearest subway station is Charing Cross (Bakerloo and North lines). Cross Trafalgar Square and go under Admiralty Arch to The Mall. We move towards Buckingham Palace, staying on the right side of the street. On the right we see a stone staircase leading up to the Duke of York’s memorial. Take the stairs to Carlton House Terrace and turn immediately to the right.
Address: The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH
Irene Adler House
Address: 44 Eaton Square, London, SW1W 9BD
How to find her: From London Victoria (Victoria, District, Circle) take Buckingham Palace Road to Elizabeth Street, turn right. Then go right till Eaton Square. Then turn right again.