Sherlock Holmes in London Tour
Sherlock Holmes in London: When Sherlock Holmes came into existence in 1887, few could have predicted the longevity and success in store for the character who would become the world’s most famous detective. Films, TV series, stories, and comic books – Sherlock is known and loved the world over. Why do we here at Free Tours By Foot love Sherlock so much? Because, like us, Sherlock Holmes is a Londoner! And recently, our capital city has been playing a pivotal role in the BBC’s modern re-telling of Holmes and Watson: Sherlock.
Sherlock fans from across the globe who visit London find themselves on the trail of Sherlock and John (played by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman), hoping to visit the locations that are featured so heavily in the television series. For those of you hoping to take a journey to Baker Street, spot the rooftop where Holmes and Moriarty played out their final meeting, or drop by Irene Adler’s house – this post is for you! Read on to find the real-life locations used for the filming of BBC’s Sherlock.
ORGANIZED TOUR?: There are several companies offering walking and bus tours of Sherlock Holmes sites, if you would rather have a guided tour.
- Brit Movie Tours offers a few options for following sites related to the TV show, movie and literary sites. Free Tours by Foot Guests can use promo code AGTFTF100 to receive a discount.
- We recommend that you first check out discount sites, such as Living Social, to see what deals they have.
- Viator offers a wide array of London film and TV show tours.
- The London Pass includes participation on one Sherlock Holmes walking tour.
Don’t forget to check out our selection of free London walking tours.
221 B Baker Street – 187 North Gower Street, London NW1 2NJ (map)
One of the most famous addresses in the world, 221B Baker Street does actually exist. However, owing to traffic congestion, it is not on Baker Street where scenes for Sherlock are filmed. In fact, 221B Baker Street is actually 187 North Gower Street – a small side road just off the Euston Road in northern London. Sherlock devotees will know that Speedy’s Cafe lies underneath the flats where Holmes, Watson, and Mrs. Hudson live. But not everybody knows that Speedy’s Cafe is, indeed, a real cafe here in London!
The gents who run Speedy’s are taking their new-found fame quite well and enjoy serving up coffee and snacks to Sherlock buffs who pop in for a bite to eat whilst super-sleuthing their way around London. As the interior of Speedy’s was actually used for filming in Series Two, it’s possible to sit down and take a meal where Holmes and Watson themselves sat in A Scandal in Belgravia.
Russell Square Gardens – Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London (map)
This picturesque little patch of green in Bloomsbury was featured in the very first episode of Sherlock. It is here that Watson has a coffee with his friend Mike Stanford and hears the name ‘Sherlock Holmes’ for the first time. The bench they sat on during filming was actually a prop, however, so it’s not possible to sit in the exact place that Watson did – but there are many other benches one can relax on within the square!
Tower 42 – 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ
When it was built (1971-1980), Tower 42 was the tallest building in the United Kingdom. Now it is only the 6th tallest, but it has the unique distinction of being used for both interior and exterior shots in Sherlock. Tower 42 serves as Shad Shanderson, the financial institution used in The Blind Banker episode of series 1 as well as making another appearance in the last episode of Series 3.
It is possible to visit Tower 42 as there is a champagne bar on the top floor with amazing views over the capital! [Please book in advance http://www.vertigo42.co.uk/]
Irene Adler’s Home – Eaton Square, London SW1W 9BD (map)
Eaton Square is home to some of the most expensive property in the United Kingdom. In fact, house prices here average around £4,600.00 per square foot! Although the square is a residential area, it is surrounded by embassies and businesses. Exterior shots of Irene’s home specifically show number 44 Eaton Square – noticeable because of the blue plaque on the frontage of the building, commemorating Prince Metternich of Austria. In addition to being featured in A Scandal in Belgravia, the property was also used for interior shots in A Study in Pink (as well as being used as a location in Dr. Who!). Interior shots of Irene’s property were actually filmed in Wales.
Battersea Power Station – 188 Kirtling Street, London SW8 5BP (map)
The largest brick structure in all of Europe, Battersea Power Station features twice in A Scandal in Belgravia. Firstly, when Sherlock and John are brought to an abandoned car and shown a body in the boot and secondly, when John and Irene meet in the massive marbled turbine hall. The station is a well known sight on the London skyline and is currently undergoing regeneration works that will turn the entire complex into a series of flats, shops, restaurants and offices.
St. Bart’s Hospital – West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE (map)
The oldest surviving hospital in England, St. Bartholomew’s is where Holmes and Watson first meet one another in Sherlock (as well as in the original story). It is also here that Sherlock and Moriarty met in the climax of The Reichenbach Fall and from the roof where Holmes leaps to the ground in the last few moments of series two. This 31-year-old pathology lab assistant Molly Hooper works and assists Holmes and Watson in the solving of their cases at St. Bart’s as well.
Buckingham Palace (Goldsmith’s Hall) – Foster Lane, London EC2V 6BN (map)
Exterior shots of Buckingham Palace were used in the A Scandal in Belgravia episode. However, all interior shots of the ‘Palace’ (used during the scene where Holmes and Watson get details on their case) were actually filmed at Goldsmith’s Hall. The Hall is home to the Goldsmiths’ Company, one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London. Since 1300, the Goldsmiths’ Company has been responsible for the testing of quality of gold, silver, platinum and palladium – so you can imagine how sumptuous their Hall is!
Visitors can take a virtual tour of the premises, or apply to join one of their guided tours that take place randomly throughout the year. [http://pan3sixty.co.uk/virtual_tours/goldsmiths-company/]
23 and 24 Leinster Gardens – London, W2 3AN
Built in the 1860’s, 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens are the frontages of two houses that do not actually exist! When the railway line connecting Paddington and Bayswater Stations was constructed, these two house fronts were erected to block the view of the rail line that could be seen from the street. The doors and windows of 23 and 24 are false, and if one looks carefully you can spot that there is no letterbox on either property. The frontages themselves are about 5 feet thick with a ‘tiny booth-like room’ located inside. 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens also serves as one of the most common addresses used in pizza delivery pranks..!
The address features heavily in His Last Vow, the final episode of Sherlocks’ series 3. Mary Watson’s face is projected onto the front of the building in one shot, and Sherlock himself actually delivers an explanation about the history of the buildings in another. As to whether the interior scenes were actually shot here, it seems highly unlikely.
Brindisa Tapas Kitchens – Soho – 46 Broadwick Street, London W1F7 7AF
This lovely little Spanish restaurant is where John and Sherlock sit and wait for the taxi in the very first episode of Sherlock, A Study in Pink. Once they spot the taxi there is a mad chase through Soho and the exterior of this restaurant was featured in those scenes as well.
Other Sites of Note:
New Scotland Yard – 10 Broadway, London SW1H 0BG – Home of the London Metropolitan Police. Used for exterior shots only. Note: The Metropolitan Police Forces’ database is known as the ‘Home Office Large Major Enquiry System’ or…HOLMES!
Piccadilly Circus and Shaftesbury Avenue – Shaftesbury Avenue is where Holmes and Watson literally walk into each other by the bus stop just outside 19-23, before they head into Chinatown in The Blind Banker. Piccadilly Circus is used in the opening credits of every episode and is also featured in The Great Game when a victim of Moriarty is standing in the Circus, hoping to be saved by Sherlock.
Chinatown – London, W1 – Used in episode 2 of the first season, the Blind Banker. Watson and Holmes are seen walking through the streets. Note: To visit Chinatown, why not come along on one of our Soho, Piccadilly and Chinatown tours?!
The Diogenes Club – The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH – Exterior shots filmed here for The Reichenbach Fall. Note: Our Westminster Tour passes by The British Academy! If you would like to have the building pointed out to you, please speak to your guide who will be happy to oblige!
The Tower of London – London, EC3N 4AB – Exterior shots of the Tower were used for The Reichenbach Fall. However, absolutely no filming took place inside the Tower of London. Those scenes were filmed at Cardiff Castle in Wales.
The Old Bailey – London, EC4M 7HS – The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, exterior shots were filmed here for Moriarty’s trial in The Reichenbach Fall.
OXO Tower – Barge House Street, London SE1 9PH – Where the body of the security guard is found on the banks of the Thames in The Great Game. Note: To get to this site, the tide must be low!
South Bank Skate Park – Located on the Southbank of the River Thames – Where Holmes and Watson uncover a cryptic clue in The Blind Banker. (photo on top)
Waterloo Bridge – It is underneath this Bridge that Sherlock and John seek information from the homeless network in London in The Great Game.
Boscobel Place – London SW1W 9PE – A single shot was filmed here for A Scandal in Belgravia. It is the scene where Watson agrees to punch Holmes in the face so Sherlock can attempt to gain access into Irene’s house around the corner.