Sherlock Holmes Tour of London Travel Guide
Few literary characters have captivated the imagination of readers and viewers worldwide as much as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. With his unparalleled deductive skills and an insatiable appetite for solving mysteries, Holmes has become synonymous with the streets of London. In this article, we’ll embark on a journey through London’s historic lanes, tracing the steps of the legendary detective and his loyal friend, Dr. John Watson.
Introduction: The World of Sherlock Holmes
London, during the late 19th and early 20th century, was a city of contrasts — a place of opulence and poverty, of gas lamps and foggy alleys, and the ideal setting for the thrilling adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Our tour provides a blend of fiction and reality, delving into the places that inspired Conan Doyle and the locales vividly depicted in the stories.
- 221B Baker Street: The Iconic Address
Our journey begins at the most famous address associated with Sherlock Holmes. Today, the Sherlock Holmes Museum stands at 221B, dedicated to the life and times of the detective. Step inside to witness a meticulous recreation of Holmes’ Victorian-era living room and study, complete with the violin, pipe, and the magnifying glass.
- The Strand
Holmes and Watson often visited The Strand, a major thoroughfare in Central London. Today’s visitors can imagine the duo weaving through the bustling streets, perhaps visiting the Lyceum Theatre or enjoying a dinner at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, a restaurant that’s still operational and was mentioned in “The Adventure of the Dying Detective.”
- Covent Garden: The Heart of Victorian London
In “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” Holmes tracks a goose purchased from Covent Garden Market. Today, the area remains vibrant, with theaters, shops, and cafes, offering a taste of modern London while retaining its historic charm.
- Bart’s Hospital
It was at St Bartholomew’s Hospital that Dr. John Watson first encountered an enthusiastic young chemist conducting an experiment — thus beginning the world’s most famous detective partnership. The hospital, founded in 1123, still stands today, and a plaque commemorates the iconic meeting from “A Study in Scarlet.”
- The Criterion Bar
In “The Adventure of the Final Problem,” Watson mentions meeting Holmes at The Criterion Bar. Located in Piccadilly Circus, the venue is now the Criterion Restaurant, a beautiful establishment with a neo-Byzantine dining room.
- Northumberland Hotel
In “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” Dr. John Watson and Sir Henry Baskerville meet at the Northumberland Hotel. While the original hotel no longer exists, fans can visit its location near Trafalgar Square.
- The Diogenes Club
Inspired by the real-life Athenaeum and the Reform Clubs in Pall Mall, the fictional Diogenes Club was where Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft Holmes, spent much of his time. Wander around Pall Mall to soak in the ambiance of London’s elite clubs and societies.
- The Langham Hotel
This isn’t just a location from the tales but also where Arthur Conan Doyle and his friend Oscar Wilde received simultaneous book commissions, leading to the creation of “A Study in Scarlet.” The hotel remains a symbol of luxury in London.
- The Royal Opera House
Holmes was a fan of opera, as mentioned in “The Adventure of the Red Circle.” The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden serves as a great spot for Sherlock enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the city’s cultural scene.
- Tower of London
Referenced in “The Sign of the Four,” this historic fortress and former royal palace offers a deep dive into London’s history, complete with tales of intrigue, betrayal, and mystery.
Tips for the Perfect Sherlock Tour Experience:
Dress the Part: Consider donning a Victorian-era costume, complete with a deerstalker hat and a magnifying glass, to immerse yourself in the world of Sherlock Holmes.
Read Up: Revisit some of the Sherlock Holmes stories before your tour. Familiarizing yourself with the tales will add depth to your experience.
Guided Tours: Several companies in London offer guided Sherlock Holmes walking tours. These tours, led by knowledgeable guides, provide rich insights into both the stories and the history of London.
Extend Your Experience: Beyond the locations, London offers various Sherlock-themed experiences, including escape rooms, themed cafes, and interactive plays.
London and Sherlock Holmes are intricately linked in the collective consciousness of mystery enthusiasts worldwide. A tour of the city, tracing the detective’s steps, is more than a mere walk. It’s a journey through time, a dance between fiction and reality, and an exploration of a city that, much like Holmes, is timeless in its appeal.
Whether you’re an ardent fan of Conan Doyle’s writings or a casual admirer of the world’s greatest detective, a Sherlock Holmes tour of London promises intrigue, nostalgia, and a deep connection to the pulsating heart of this historic city. So, put on your detective hat, grab your magnifying glass, and let the adventure begin!