For fans of BBC’s “Sherlock” that live outside of the U.K., London can seem like a mystical place, full of murder and mayhem. In reality, it’s nowhere near as dramatic, but visiting London can still give a thrill to the avid fan who wants to walk in the footsteps of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as they foster their unforgettable portrayals of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.
Sherlock Homes as a character is inseparable from London; indeed, the city itself plays such a large part of the mood and pace of the show, it could almost be a character in itself. So, when at a filming location for the show you almost feel for just a moment that you’ve stepped inside Sherlock’s world and become one of its many characters. As Mycroft says to John in the show’s first episode, “When you walk with Sherlock Holmes, you see the battlefield.”
So, if you’re looking to do a tour of some of the filming locations from the show, here’s a list to get you started:
Speedy’s Cafe – 187 Gower Street
221B Baker Street (187 Gower Street in actuality) appears frequently on the show and business has definitely picked up for this neat little cafe since it became an important filming location. Stop in for a bite to eat and get a delicious Sherlock Wrap or Watson Wrap; rumor has it they may be introducing a Moriarty Wrap soon. Framed on the walls of the cafe are pictures of the cast, and it’s definitely a thrill to sit where scenes like Mycroft and John’s conversation in “A Scandal in Belgravia” took place.
The Steps of the National Gallery
Sherlock and John walk up these very steps in “The Blind Banker” when Sherlock goes to ask advice from Raz. While it may not be the most notable scene, it’s significant when you realize that with the growing fame of the show, and of Cumberbatch and Freeman, it would be almost impossible to film that scene now.
The Houses of Parliament
While you’re in the area, head to the Houses of Parliament, which we watched blow up in a mind sequence in “The Empty Hearse.” While such pyrotechnics will not actually occur, it’s such an iconic place in London, it definitely deserved its screen time on the show (even if that screen time involved destroying it!
The Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street
If you feel like going old school and paying tribute to the more traditional character of Sherlock Holmes, The Sherlock Holmes Museum is located on Baker Street. While the museum itself is a bit underwhelming, the gift shop is fantastic. Try on a deerstalker, buy some tea undoubtedly akin to what Mrs. Hudson would brew, and fondly admire Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ clever ways of adapting Holmes for the modern day.
The setting of Sherlock’s many visits to the morgue, and its rooftop is also the site of a tragic and gut-wrenching scene within the show.
In the terrible gap between seasons 2 and 3, fans from around the world, from India to Finland to Turkey and Japan, made their pilgrimage to St. Bart’s to see the site for themselves, and, it turns out, to leave notes for Sherlock, in the phone booth:
It’s pretty amazing to see so many fans, from so many places around the world, coming together over a show that they all love. Leave your own note for Sherlock – or, better yet, maybe leave a note for show creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, asking for more details on the new season!
Obviously there are many, many more locations within the show, but these are a few key ones that are fun to visit, especially the phone booth at St. Bart’s.
So if you’re a fan of the show and find yourself in London, I recommend a visit to at least some of these spots. At the very least, it’ll be something to do while we all wait for Season 4!