In the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes, a London Walking Tour (II)

We very recently published the first part of the Sherlock Holmes London itinerary. Ideally, after eating, the tour will continue as follows:

A) We set out from the Criterium on a full stomach and head for Piccadilly Circus, which gets several mentions in the works of Conan Doyle.

B) Head down Haymarket Street to the Royal Haymarket Theatre, built in 1720. A spectacular theatre, by the way. They even organize a tour on the first Thursday of every month at 11 am. It’s a little expensive, considering it lasts just an hour and a half, but it’s worth it. This is where Josiah Amberley is said to have been on the night of the murder in The Adventure of the Retired Colourman.

C) Near Charing Cross tube station is Craig’s Court, the alley where you will find the bank where Dr Watson safely stashes his texts in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

D) Number 4, Whitehall Place is where the first offices of Scotland Yard were located, though they later expanded to occupy several buildings in the area before being transferred to the Norman Shaw Building near Big Ben and finally to their current headquarters at number 8-10 Broadway-. Obviously, the original Scotland Yard offices were frequented by Sherlock Holmes.



E) Although it has not been long since your lunch at the Criterion, here we suggest another pit-stop that is not just gastronomic in nature, namely the Sherlock Holmes Pub located at 10-11 Northumberland Street. This pub was formerly called The Northumberland Arms but its history was irremediably altered following a very curious acquisition. An acquisition? Yes, in 1957 the pub acquired material from a major exhibition on Sherlock Holmes in the Festival of Britain; material which included a host of relics pertaining to the character and his loyal sidekick. So, with the support of the family of Holmes’ creator, they decorated the pub as it is today. While not strictly a museum, it’s not far off being one, either. Anyhow, the owners have managed to make it an obligatory stop for all Sherlock Holmes fans.

F) After a pint, we head for Charing Cross station, which features in almost a dozen of Holmes’ adventures.

G) Here in Agar Street you will find a police station on the site of the former Charing Cross Hospital, where they healed the great Sherlock Holmes following the beating he took outside the Cafe Royal in Regent Street.

H) At number 409-412 Strand is the Adelphi Theatre, founded in 1809. It was here that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s play The House of Temperley premiered on the 27th of December, 1909, a work based on the boxing book entitled Rodney Stone and that had nothing to do with Holmes and that no theatre would produce. Not even this one. In the end Conan Doyle himself rented the theatre in order to carry out his project. A boxing world drama that was a resounding flop.

Regarding Holmes, Conan Doyle managed to premier The Adventure of the Speckled Band on the 4th of June, 1910, though the work was titled The Stonor Case and differed from the original in a number of details.

I) A little further along Strand is the famous Hotel Savoy, a British icon since 1889 and one of the most ambitious restoration works carried out in the UK. This gem combines Art Deco elements with the most exclusive elements of modern luxury.

J) Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, the favourite restaurant of Holmes and Watson. Opened in 1828, this is the ideal place to stop for a coffee. As many others the likes of Vincent Van Gogh and Charles Dickens, have done before. By the way, if you’re hungry and it’s still earlier than 7 pm, they have a fixed price menu for less than £30 which is very good value. Or if you prefer, continue your itinerary and finish up here.



K) Lyceum Theatre, very close to Covent Garden. You will have a glimpse of Sherlock Holmes everywhere in here. On the one hand, this is where Holmes, Watson and Mary Morstan met Thaddeus Sholto in The Sign of the Four. On the other hand, it is in this theatre where Sherlock Holmes was performed for the first time on September, 9th 1901 by the very well-known William Gillette. Don’t you know him yet? He’s an American actor, playwright and stage manager best remembered for portraying Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes on stage. It was him, for instance, who added the character its famous magnifying lens as well as the pipe. This famous play had actually already gone on stage on October, 23rd 1899 in the Star Theatre in Buffalo and it first reached Garrick Theatre in Broadway on November, 6th 1899. Including the performances all across the United States, England, Scotland and other countries, William Gillette played the role of Sherlock Holmes over 1300 times. And here it comes to the most significant piece of information: it’s said that it was William Gillette who used for the first time in words of Sherlock Home his most famous quote “Elementary, my dear Watson”.

L) Headquarters of The Strand Magazine, where the short stories of Sherlock Holmes were first published.

M) Royal Opera House —or Covent Garden Opera—, where Holmes suggests catching a Wagner second act in The Adventure of the Red Circle.

N) Covent Garden, in which market the stall of Breckinridge was to be found in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. If you don’t want to have dinner at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand once again, you can find a great variety of options in the same Covent Garden and surroundings.

And that’s all so far. The truth is that you can find over 200 locations of Sherlock Holmes adventures in London. I hope you enjoy this tour.

By the way, keep an eye on our blog because very soon we’ll publish alternative tours with the locations of the Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr, as well as a tour with the locations of the BBC series.

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