Visiting Sherlock Holmes in London

Sherlock Holmes's Sitting Room Credit: Diane E.  Tatum

Sherlock Holmes’s Sitting Room Credit: Diane E.

Sherlock Holmes is the popular fictional detective of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Tourists can visit Holmes’s home and museum at 221B Baker Street in London. Visiting London is a priceless opportunity for many reasons. Turning a corner to find the home of Sherlock Holmes is serendipity. Readers of all ages find delight submerged in a detective story with Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson.

Bringing Holmes to Life

Few literary characters are as real to readers as the eminent detective Sherlock Homes and his companion Dr. Watson. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Holmes’s tales starting in 1886. The character Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Doyle’s university professor, Dr. Joseph Bell, who used logic, observation, and deduction to solve problems. Conan Doyle dedicated The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Bell. Doyle gave Dr. Bell credit for Sherlock Holmes’s genius: “You are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it,” he wrote him. (The Sherlock Holmes Home Page)

Creating the Literary Detective

For a time Doyle split his time between his medical practice and his literary career. Doyle’s favorite authors were Edgar Allan Poe and Bret Harte. Poe is considered the first writer of the detective novel; Sherlock Holmes is the most popular detective of all time. Doyle’s first Holmes novel was A Study in Scarlet. Sir Basil Rathbone played Holmes and is the best known image of Doyle’s detective. The Hound of the Baskervilles was his first film portrayal of Holmes and is perhaps the most well-known of Doyle’s detective stories. Rathbone made 14 Holmes films over the years 1939-1946 with Nigel Bruce as Watson.

Visiting the Home of Holmes
Holmes’s devotees can visit his fictitious address.

221B Baker Street, (actually at 239 Baker Street) is furnished and open to visitors as the living quarters of Holmes and Watson. Victorian furniture and curiosities abound. Visitors can wear a Sherlock Holmes Deerstalker hat and Inverness cape, hold his Calabash pipe, and sit in his chair. Depending on the day of the week, a costumed Holmes or Watson can appear and transport visitors into a Doyle novel. Pictures are encouraged. The downstairs gift shop can satisfy the Holmes fanatic with innumerable souvenirs and books.

Finding Holmes Today

Holmes and Watson are just as popular today. Many films and TV series have portrayed Doyle’s Holmes and Watson. A feature film with Robert Downey, Jr., and Jude Law came out in 2009, and a Masterpiece Theatre series began in 2010 with a 21st century Sherlock complete with a serious case of ADHD and a cell phone.

Curiosities Abound Credit: Diane E. Tatum

Curiosities Abound Credit: Diane E. Tatum

Getting There

The Tube Station for Baker Street Station is close to Holmes’s address, in the Marylebone district of Westminster, London. At 230 Baker Street is Sherlock’s Memorabilia Company. Madame Tussaud’s is just around the corner. Visitors should take the time to explore 221B Baker Street, a step back in time and into the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s imagination.

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