Whether you are a die-hard fan of Sherlock Holmes or only started to pay attention when Benedict Cumberbatch sauntered onto the scene, London itself is a lively homage to Conan Doyles’ detective just waiting to be discovered, and we are not just talking about 221B. When posed with the question of who to ask to compile some Holmes hotspots, the answer was, well, err, elementary: the guys behind the Sherlock Holmes Tour of London. So grab a mate to step in as Dr Watson, don a deerstalker, and apply your finest logic to navigate your way between our top five Sherlock Holmes-centric locations in London.
The Criterion Restaurant
‘I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when someone tapped me on the shoulder and, turning round, I recognised young Stamford.’ It was at the bar, inside the Criterion Restaurant where it all started, where the world first heard the name Sherlock Holmes. The Criterion Restaurant is so proud of their Sherlock Holmes link, they have placed a plaque on the wall inside, commemorating the famous duo. The restaurant dates back to 1874 and is a stunning neo-Byzantine building, lavishly decorated with marble and mosaics.
The Criterion Restaurant, Piccadilly.
The Sherlock Holmes Pub
This pub was originally called ‘The Northumberland Arms’, but was re-named ‘Sherlock Holmes’ after it had purchased a Sherlock Holmes exhibition. The exhibition had been assembled by Conan Doyle’s descendents for the Festival of Britain, and after having toured the world for six years, it found a permanent home at this pub. Inside fans can see cartoons of the great sleuth; Conan Doyle’s hand written notes and even the head of the Hound of the Baskervilles!
The Sherlock Holmes Pub, Trafalgar Square.
The London Library
Established in 1841, The London Library could arguably be a fore-runner for the Diogenes Club. As all Sherlockians know, the fictional Diogenes Club is a club where ‘no member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger’s Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed’. The London Library’s founder, Thomas Carlyle, was, like Mycroft Holmes, on a quest for a ‘silent study’ believing that libraries should offer quality books and quiet rooms in which to read them. We know that Conan Doyle was familiar with the London Library as he was a member of this subscription library and it’s mentioned in ‘The Illustrious Client’.
The London Library, St James.
The Oscar Wilde Statue
Oscar Wilde is most famous for his high society plays; his public scandals and his ultimate demise. Wilde was an acquaintance of Conan Doyle and is said to be the inspiration for one of the more eccentric characters in ‘The Sign of Four’.
The Oscar Wilde Statue, Adelaide Street, Charing Cross.
Named after Protector Somerset, Somerset House was the first purpose built office block in London. Somerset House is a very popular film location due to its versatility and has been seen in many different guises on both the big and small screen. It has appeared as Devonshire House; the BMD; the MoD; St. Petersburg; Victorian London and has been used in adaptations of Sherlock Holmes as Pentonville Prison.
Somerset House, Aldwych.