Ever since 1887, Sherlock Holmes has been a literary institution. The fictional detective collects new fans daily while lifelong fans re-read the tales that brought him to life while trying to decipher the unusual but productive methods of the world's most resourceful crime-solver.
Spread out over several novels and multiple short story anthologies, there are plenty of Holmes adventures and this means there are plenty of real-life locations that Sherlock fans can explore, putting themselves in the super-sleuth's shoes. Here are ten of the best spots to visit to sample the inspiration Sir Arthur Conan Doyle felt.
10 St. Bartholomew’s Hospital
Given this is where it all started for our heroic duo, St Bart’s is the perfect place to begin any Sherlock Holmes pilgrimage. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s maiden Holmes masterpiece, A Study in Scarlett, Sherlock meets his ever-present partner John Watson at the hospital and the rest is literary history.
Points of interest here include a commemorative plaque within the hospital museum that pays homage to its inclusion in the beloved work and a phone box outside the building containing notes written by fans of the BBC show, Sherlock. These were left during the two year wait between seasons immediately following Sherlock’s dramatic jump from the hospital roof.
9 Eastbourne, Sussex
If the Sherlock Holmes adventures began in St Barts, they ended in Eastbourne, Sussex. The fictional detective would eventually retire to a farm in this area and turn his keen mind to beekeeping.
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While there may have been the occasional return to his real passion of exemplary deduction, the books tell us that Holmes was happy in retirement and had all he needed amongst the beautiful English countryside. A visit to Sussex will have every fan understanding why.
8 Dartmoor National Park
This is the area that Conan Doyle visited all the way back in 1901, often walking over 15 hours a day, to get inspiration for his work. The main result of this exploration is the novel that has become synonymous with the series, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Tours take place here most days and allow visitors to experience the eerie village graveyards, church ruins and misty moors that Conan Doyle’s words so sensationally brought to life.
7 Café Royal
A venue that has attracted writers of all kinds since its construction in 1865, it was used as a source of inspiration by Conan Doyle when he set one of his most thrilling scenes within it’s shadow.
In the book The Adventure of the Illustrious Client, Sherlock is attacked under the awning of the cafe and forced to fight for his life. Placed in the heart of Piccadilly, this is an easy place to find, you won't need to be Sherlock to deduce it’s location.
6 Picardy Place, Edinburgh
Born in Edinburgh in 1859, the origins of Conan Doyle’s critical-thinking creation are embedded deeply within the city. A bronze statue of Sherlock has taken up residence at the author’s childhood home on Picardy Place and attracts flocks of fans all year round.
While in Edinburgh, it is also worth paying a visit to the Surgeons Hall Museum, the place where Conan Doyle met Dr Joseph Bell who would go on to become the main inspiration for the wise and loyal John Watson.
5 Elm Grove, Portsmouth
When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, there are no shortage of plaques bearing his name up and down the United Kingdom. This in itself speaks strongly to how beloved the character is and what the stories mean to the population here and beyond.
Conan Doyle wrote the first two Holmes novels in a house on Elm Grove in Portsmouth and a plaque now rests there commemorating this fact. There is also a wonderful museum nearby featuring original and unique pieces of the Sherlock Holmes world unable to be seen anywhere else.
4 The Sherlock Holmes Pub
The setting for an iconic scene within The Noble Bachelors, this traditional pub has since been renamed ‘The Sherlock Holmes" and now features a replica of Holmes’ study along with a huge amount of collectibles and memorabilia that will have every fan buzzing with excitement.
The food here is exceptional and has often been referred to as some of the best pub dishes in London. Also housing a large selection of traditional ales and ciders, it’s no mystery as to why this pub continues to thrive.
3 The Lyceum Theatre
Along the Strand rests the Lyceum Theatre, a place that saw considerable action in the much-loved adventure, The Sign of Four. Here Holmes-hunters can gaze upon the impressive facade while placing themselves in the well-worn shoes of Sherlock.
The 2,000-seat theatre is a strikingly beautiful destination all on it’s own and can be entered to experience the majesty of its inner sanctum. Built in 1765, the history of this building stretches well beyond the Sherlock Holmes canon.
2 Speedy’s Cafe
If you love the BBC series Sherlock, there is only one cafe worth attending in all of London. Speedy’s is instantly recognizable as the haunt of Holmes and Watson in the show and is situated on North Gower Street in the vibrant area of Camden.
The cafe takes full advantage of its connection with the deducing-detective, adorning itself with images from the making of the show and stocking several Sherlock specialities on their menu.
1 221b Baker Street
While you may not be able to knock on the door and be greeted by the long-suffering Mrs Hudson, a trip to 221b Baker Street is more than worth the effort. The address has been turned into the Sherlock Holmes Museum that does a wonderful job of making visitors feel they have stepped into the pages of the celebrated tales.
The best way to get here is via the Tube because outside Baker Street Station is a statue of the super-sleuth that perfectly whets the appetite for the museum visit to come.