But like so many things in the world of Sherlock, things aren’t always what they seem. You might recognise locations like Trafalgar Square, the Metropolitan Police headquarters at New Scotland Yard and St Bart’s Hospital where Sherlock jumps from the roof.
But others are more deceptive, and in many cases they’re not even in London at all. Here are some locations that are not what they seem [Spoiler Alert: make sure you’ve seen up to the end of series three before reading].
187 North Gower Street, London
In Sherlock… it’s the most famous Holmes location, featuring in everything from the original books to the most recent TV series – his home at 221B Baker Street.
In real life… the building used in the TV show is actually about a mile east at 187 North Gower Street. They couldn’t film in Baker Street itself as there are so many Holmes-themed attractions there, and the real number 221B is the Sherlock Holmes Museum. So they used a quieter street and just replaced the door number. The cafe next door really is called Speedy’s though and it’s open for lunch Monday–Saturday if you want to pop inside.
Bristol South Swimming Pool, Bedminster, Bristol
In Sherlock… it’s the swimming pool where Holmes meets his nemesis Moriarty for the stand-off at the end of series one.
In real life… it’s a swimming pool in Bedminster, just outside Bristol. The six-lane, 30 metre pool is owned by the city council so is open to the public every day. The building is was built in the 1930s and is Victorian style, with changing rooms along the side of the pool. Apparently it is also the place where series writer and Mycroft Holmes actor Mark Gatiss learnt to swim.
The Bush Inn, St Hilary, Vale of Glamorgan
In Sherlock… it’s The Cross Keys pub in Devon, where Holmes and Watson base themselves when they go looking for the Hound of the Baskervilles in series two.
In real life… the 16th century thatched pub is actually called The Bush Inn and it’s in the village of St Hilary in Glamorgan in Wales. The interior shots were all filmed inside so you can retrace Holmes’ steps and sit by the inglenook fireplace under the oak beams. They also serve food, with lots of fresh local produce and a speciality of puff-pastry crust pies.
The Daffodil Restaurant, Cheltenham
In Sherlock… it’s the Landmark Hotel restaurant in Marylebone, where Watson’s romantic proposal dinner with Mary is interrupted by Sherlock coming back from the dead at the start of series three.
In real life… well the outside really is the Landmark Hotel on Marylebone Road in London, but once you go through the doors you’re transported 100 miles west to Cheltenham. Inside is actually a restaurant called The Daffodil in a converted art deco cinema. You’ll recognise the distinctive red and black checked floor tiles and the stained-glass door panels from the show. The restaurant is open for lunch or dinner, or you can have a cocktail in the bar upstairs.
Swinhay House, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire
In Sherlock… it’s Appledore, the high-tech glass-roofed mansion owned by sinister media mogul Charles Augustus Magnussen in the series three finale.
In real life… it’s a £30 million mansion called Swinhay House in the south Cotswolds. The house is owned by engineering magnate Sir David McMurtry and has eight bedrooms, a bowling alley, swimming pool and even an indoor canal. But apparently the owner doesn’t live there as his wife thinks it is too flashy. The house isn’t open to visitors, but you can see it from Swinhay Lane and the gardens are sometimes used for theatre performances in the summer.
Lucy Dodsworth is a UK-based freelance editor and designer who blogs at On the Luce, sharing travel tales, advice and photos as she tries to combine a love of travel with family, friends, work and life. You can also find Lucy on Facebook and Twitter.