London is the city where Holmes and Watson solved their most difficult cases. Whilst Sherlock himself is a fictional private detective, London is very real. Many of the locations featured in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless stories are still there for everyone to see.
Take a stroll down Baker Street, Marylebone and you’re likely to find a dramatic transformation has taken place on the street once paced by fiction’s favourite private detective. London has changed a great deal since the years 1881-1904 when Sherlock Holmes lived at the address, second only to 10 Downing Street in terms of world fame.
Baker Street, where once horse drawn carriages made their way through fog-shrouded cobbled streets lined with imposing buildings, is now a thoroughly modern thoroughfare, complete with cafes, restaurants and shops.
Some of the businesses on the street, which is named after builder William Baker who laid the street out in the 18th century, have cashed in on Sherlock Holmes’ legacy by installing historical plaques on their facades, alluding to the private detective.
London has countless museums and attractions, but none could hold more fascination to the Sherlock Holmes fan than the museum, situated at Holmes’ former residence 221b Baker Street.
Run by a group of hardcore Holmes fans, the museum is decked out in the original Victorian style that Holmes and Watson would have been accustomed to. Although - given Watson’s descriptions of Holmes’ pathological aversion to an ordered working environment – somewhat tidier!
Visitors can pose for photos in the armchair like the one that Sherlock Holmes himself would have sat in to ponder cases whilst smoking his famous calabash pipe. Other exhibits include evidence from some of Holmes’ most famous cases and waxwork models of the private detective.
London tube stations offer a convenient way to travel to some of the other locations from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous stories. Baker Street is home to one of the city’s oldest surviving underground stations from where it’s possible to visit a variety of places of interest to the Sherlock Holmes fan. But don’t forget to take a look at Sherlock Holmes’ statue near to the station before you set off!
For any private detective, London has to be the one of the most difficult cities in which to operate and Victorian London was no different. Many of the city’s historic landmarks are the location of exciting episodes from Sherlock Holmes’ adventures.
The junction of Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus, for instance is now thronged with tourists oblivious the fact that it was the location where Holmes was attacked in The Adventure of The Illustrious Client.
Guide books and websites detailing the famous private detective’s connection are available, but there can be no better way of discovering Sherlock Holmes’ London than by re-reading the fantastic stories.