I’ve always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, so when I discovered that 221B Baker Street is in fact a real place, and not just a world of fiction, I leapt at the chance to visit there. Being raised in the outskirts of London, I feel as though I’ve seen almost everything London has to offer in terms of sightseeing. Somehow, The Sherlock Holmes Museum had managed to slip through the cracks, and it was only very recently that I managed to visit the magical place that defined my childhood.
The museum is housed in a Georgian townhouse that was built in 1815 but was converted into a museum in 1990. It was to my surprise that people were queuing halfway down Baker Street to get through the famous front door, guarded by a policeman in true Sherlock Holmes style. Growing up, I always felt that the name Sherlock Holmes sparked conversation, so even before the experience had begun, I must’ve spent over an hour chatting with fellow Sherlock enthusiasts. Of all the attractions I’ve been to see in London, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that brings people together so much more than The Sherlock Holmes Museum.
Everything I had read in the books almost burst into life, with waxen figures all around the place.
Once I had got inside, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much was packed into such a little townhouse. Everything I had read in the books almost burst into life, with waxen figures all around the place. It was like a mini Madame Tussauds, albeit for a fifth of the price and, for a bookworm and Sherlock fanatic like myself, a lot more enjoyable.
The layout was intended to showcase a variety of famous Sherlock moments and memorabilia, such as the gunshots on the wall that spell out the Royal Cypher, the desks of both Sherlock and Doctor Watson respectively, and, what I found most impressive, a dedication to The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was equally pleasing to see so many of my favourite cases and villains brought to life, such as Charles Augustus Milverton, Irene Adler and of course the infamous Moriarty.
You start from the bottom and work your way up the four-story building, with each floor offering something unique. The first floor presents Sherlock’s study, brim full with everything you’d expect to see from the renowned pipe, the violin and Sherlock’s deerstalker hat. Making your way up, you’ll encounter Doctor Watson’s room alongside the eloquent Mrs Hudson. The top floor presents the main man himself alongside his trusty sidekick Watson, confronting the ‘Napoleon of Crime’ himself, Moriarty.
You could easily spend an hour looking at everything the museum has to offer, with all the intricate details that replicate Sherlock from both the books and the big screen.
I found the longer I spent in there, the more immersed I became in the extraordinary home of Sherlock Holmes. You could easily spend an hour looking at everything the museum has to offer, with all the intricate details that replicate Sherlock from both the books and the big screen. The ground floor is a vast gift shop that offers a range of Sherlock-related gifts, from handcrafted deerstalker hats to puzzles and dazzling leather-bound books. Rather unsurprisingly, I stretched myself out to a leatherbound edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection, which now sits proudly on my bookshelf.
If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, be it the books, films or the popular TV show, I’d strongly recommend giving The Sherlock Holmes Museum a try. It’s an enriching way to learn more about the stories and characters, making it suitable for the casual reader and Sherlock fanatics alike. If you book in advance you can easily integrate it into a longer day out in London if you wish. Being located within walking distance of Madame Tussauds, Regent’s Park and sitting directly next door to The London Beatles Store, there really is something for everyone.
Overall, I’d say The Sherlock Holmes Museum is well worth the visit, particularly given how accessible it was in comparison to other attractions in London. You really don’t need to be a massive Sherlock fanatic to gain a lot out of it. It’s advantageous of course, however The Sherlock Holmes Museum is the perfect gateway into the world of Sherlock Holmes, be it for new and existing audiences alike!