Sherlock Holmes was popular well before Benedict Cumberbatch took on the iconic role, but I think we have to be honest in saying he has done wonders with the character and brought it to new heights with those cheekbones.
Maybe it’s the way he flicks his curly black hair or maybe it’s that sly smile he gets when he’s discovered something. Heck, maybe it’s just his irresistible whit. Whatever the reason, Sherlock has captured the hearts of many a woman (and man) across the world. So much so that people from all over the world travel to the filming locations while in London, myself included.
These once ordinary places have now become pinnacles for every Sherlockian’s pilgrimage to London. Here are the essentials for when you make your own personal pilgrimage:
The first and probably most important stop on your journey will be the show’s version of 221b Baker Street. But don’t just be a tourist and take photos outside. Go inside and order either the Sherlock or Watson wrap. While you enjoy your meal you can look around at all the Sherlock artwork from fans around the world. There are even photos of the actors with the owners in front of the shop. Be prepared for a cramped lunch, though. The café wasn’t built to hold the amount of Cumberbabes that now flock to it.
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital
Look familiar? Think important phone call between Sherlock and Watson. Yes, this is in fact the spot where Sherlock jumps to his death. As this is an actual functioning hospital, this spot doesn’t attract as many Sherlockians. So be prepared to look slightly odd taking pictures of a hospital. Oh, and see that phone booth? You’re going to want to bring a sharpie marker. Since Sherlock’s fall in 2012, people have been vandalizing this telephone booth with Sherlock quotes and cries for him to come back from the dead. Well, I guess we all got our wish.
New Scotland Yard
This is where all the exciting police investigations take place from the show … that the police can’t solve and eventually end up calling on Sherlock for help. If you’ve read the books, you know that the New Scotland Yard plays an essential role in Sherlock’s story.
Sherlock Holmes Restaurant
All right, so this place doesn’t appear in Sherlock, but it is still a great spot to visit. It’s located just a minute’s walk from Trafalgar Square and gets pretty happening come nighttime. For a more lively pub atmosphere, stay on the bottom floor where episodes of Sherlock are on repeat. For a more authentic and older version of Sherlock paraphernalia, go upstairs. Along with a mock setup of Sherlock and Watson’s living room, you can dine in a place that takes you back in time to the 1800s. I recommend checking out both the downstairs and upstairs; they both have their perks.
The Bush Inn | Cardiff, Wales
Aside from Speedy’s Cafe, this was probably the most exciting to visit. This is the “inn” they stay at in the episode The Hounds of Baskerville. However, this isn’t actually an inn. It’s an adorable restaurant and pub. It’s a bit of a drive from London, but if you can make it I promise it is worth it. We just happened to be in Cardiff and realized we could go. It took a long bus ride, a walk through the countryside and a sweet old lady to get here, but it was the quaintest place I’ve ever been. I sat at a table next to the large fireplace where Sherlock and Watson sat contemplating their case but had to keep my fangirl in check in front of the locals (who will definitely know why you’re there anyways).
221b Baker Street
Now this is not the 221b Baker Street you see in the show. This is the real thing. The gift shop is enough to get any Sherlock fan riled up, and the instant comradery formed between Sherlockians is magical. You also have the option to walk through the museum, which is all old-school Sherlock stuff. You won’t see pictures of Benedict or Martin, but you will see lots of Sherlock paraphernalia from the books and get to take a picture in their living room.
So there you have it. Most of these places are easy to find and cost little to nothing. There are of course more places I could add, but these are your essentials. I would recommend starting off your day at Speedy’s Cafe and working your way back into the center of town where you can end the night at the Sherlock Holmes Restaurant.