Every year, countless Sherlock Holmes devotees descend on London to visit sites associated with the storybook detective—St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, the meeting place of Holmes and Dr. Watson, or the Café Royal, where Holmes almost met his end. But Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 56 mystery stories around his most famous creation, and—if you do a little detective work yourself—you’ll find plenty of alternatives. Here, to mark the fictional detective’s made-up birthday (January 6, 1854), we track down the must-sees—and a few less-frequented attractions.
221B Baker Street
The first stop on every Sherlock enthusiast’s itinerary has to be 221B Baker Street, the detective’s fictional base and home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which houses a recreation of his study, along with an array of period bric-a-brac. From here, it’s customary to pass the big bronze Sherlock statue outside Baker Street Station and pop into Madame Tussauds for a perusal of the wax likeness of the detective, as played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC series Sherlock.
North Gower Street
For those willing to go the extra mile (literally), it’s a 15-minute stroll to 187 North Gower Street, which did not feature in Conan Doyle’s original stories, but will keep Cumberbatch fans happy. As well as providing the exterior shots for 221B Baker Street in the show, the address is also home to Speedy’s Cafe, a regular haunt of BBC Watson and BBC Sherlock that doesn’t quite have the allure of the Café Royal but does offer a reasonably priced full-English breakfast.
Sherlock Holmes Pub
You don’t need ace sleuthing skills to guess what this pub is all about. Even if you ignore the name, the in-house reconstruction of Holmes and Watson’s living quarters gives the game away. Just a few hundred feet from Trafalgar Square, the pub is set in a Victorian-era building and serves good English grub, but it’s the venue’s appearance in the 1892 story “The Noble Bachelor” that gets the selfie sticks clattering.
For a less conspicuous Victorian watering hole, there’s Lord Raglan in Aldersgate. Named for a long-vanished gate in the ancient London Wall, Aldersgate has plenty of history (Shakespeare is thought to have tippled in a former incarnation of the Raglan). It is also where Conan Doyle sent his sleuth to investigate a gang of bank robbers in “The Red-Headed League.” For more background, visit the nearby London Museum, whose collections include almost as much Victoriana as the nook at the Sherlock Holmes.
Dartmoor National Park
Located 200 miles southwest of London, Dartmoor is known for its stark and soggy natural beauty, along with a variety of ancient relics and roaming herds of ponies. The moor is also the location of the most famous Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, in which the detective probes a suspicious death among the bogs (which may or may not have been caused by a ghostly, pony-sized dog). It’s an atmospheric spot, but a long way from Baker Street.
Crystal Palace Park
Luckily, Conan Doyle touched on several rambler-friendly London locations, too: Hampstead Heath in “The Adventure of the Red Circle,” Wimbledon in “The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger,” Hyde Park in “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor” and the grounds surrounding the iron-and-glass Crystal Palace in “The Adventure of the Yellow Face.” The 19th-century palace burned down in the 1930s, but Crystal Palace Park still contains a Victorian hedgerow maze, within which visitors can test their own powers of deduction.