There are few cities in the world more loaded with must-see sights than London, from the grand riverside Eye to the gothic palaces of downtown Westminster. But, for fans of England’s greatest pipe-smoking detective, the arrival of BBC’s Sherlock series back in 2010 made identifying all the essential photo locations nothing but a great deal harder. So, to help out, here we’ll take a look at some of the most recognizable, identifiable and important filming locations used across all three seasons of the show, noting all the quirky nuances and alterations that were made at the behest of the film crews and perhaps isolating a little of each one’s intriguing history.
At the fabled address of 221b Baker Street, London, now stands the most comprehensive and immersive exhibition relating to England’s favorite detective. Beneath its regal Victorian exterior, jumbled collections of paraphernalia and authentic Sherlock trinketry wallow in the dusty rooms, created and preserved to mirror Conan Doyle’s books to a T. But, if you’re after a snap outside the 221B of the Sherlock series, you’ll have to head east to Gower Street, where the instantly-recognisable entranceway and café stand by the side of the road.
A Sherlock-themed café, with Sherlock-themed food, on the most Sherlock-themed street in London today; what more could a true fan of the BBC series ask for? Situated towards the top end of North Gower Street in Central London, this classic British café has become perhaps the most oft-repeated image of all Sherlock’s three series’, still bearing the mysteriously unassuming entranceway that conceals the genius and mastery of London’s crime-solving elite. If anything, pop in for a spot of lunch, where there’s a number of themed dishes to whet the appetite and plenty of filming spots to look out for.
The enduring charm of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in West Smithfield goes far beyond its central role in the books of Arthur Conan Doyle and today’s ground-breaking television reworking of the great detective. Above all, it’s the longest standing hospital in all of London, a defiant architectural relic that’s emerged unscathed from two world wars and the 1666 Great Fire. Fans of the Sherlock series will no doubt be eager to spot the rooftop terrace, where perhaps some of the most heart-wrenching and eye-popping scenes of series two finally came to their dramatic and shocking climax.
Conspiracy theories, quirky twists and unpredictable turns came to a grand head at the so-called Reunion Restaurant, where Watson and Holmes were finally brought back together after the dramatic happenings at the end of series two. In true Sherlock style there’s actually more to this one than meets the eye, namely in that producers made use of two totally individual filming spots to complete the scene. The first, the grand and exquisite Landmark London Hotel on Marylebone, was used to shoot the outside, while the second, the charming Art Nouveau interior of the Daffodil, is found halfway across England to the west, in the Gloucestershire city of Cheltenham.
The grand and stoic rise of the Old Bailey is hallowed ground for lawmen and criminologists the world over, hailed as the greatest court in all of England and host to more major cases and trials than any institution of its kind in history. Sherlock fanatics will recognize the exterior façade from a number of episodes across series one and two, while interior scenes could be a little harder to reconcile, shot as they were more than three hours’ drive away to the west, in the humble Welsh City of Swansea.
Recently only narrowly saved from closure by petitioning locals and lovers of this treasure trove of youth, art and extreme sports, the South Bank Skate Park is worth a visit even if you can’t remember its Sherlock-related claim to fame. If you can, then try to peer through the streaming channels of skaters and bikers to reimagine Watson, Raz and the man himself unravelling the mysterious clues of the Blind Banker in series one.
Already a bona fide photo stop for conspiracy-hungry, crime-loving tourists in Central London, the twirling sign of New Scotland Yard stands as an enduring icon of the Metropolitan Police. For fans of the series too, this spot at number 10 Broadway will be a must-see location, symbolizing the concerted efforts of the great detective and London’s own city force. While access to the center is tightly controlled (for obvious reasons), there’s still plenty of photo opportunities to be had on the wide street out front.
Sherlock fans may be a little disappointed in the lack of authentic decoration here, but the change in interior styles from Tapas Brindisa’s appearance during series one is not entirely complete, and guests can still taste the restaurant’s fine Spanish dining in the same window-side stall where John and the legendary detective sat awaiting their revelations. If you’re lucky enough to find the famous booth free, notice the framed picture above, hanging in homage to London’s much-loved Sherlock Holmes.
It’s fair to say that the Battersea Power Station is amongst the most recognizable and iconic of national landmarks in the whole world. Its twin chimneys tower into the air, while its cavernous interior oozes with a deserted charm and mystery that both echoes its mighty industrial past, and has become synonymous with some of Sherlock’s most tense and jittery scenes. More discerning fans will notice the interior as the hallowed spot of the detective’s first meet with Irene Adler, along with a few other crucial scenes from series one and two.
The grand and elegant stamping ground of Mycroft Holmes in the Sherlock series transports viewers to the front of the British Academy on Carlton Terrace. It’s one of the regal gems of the St James district of Westminster and an iconic sight of grandiose architectural undertakings in England since the 1700s. Today, the building is the headquarters of the British Academy, one of the United Kingdom’s most far-reaching and prestigious societies of learned fellows and educational ambassadors.