Summary: Sherlock Holmes is so well known that I’m not sure he needs much of a summary. This detective of classic literature solves crimes while his trusty sidekick, John Watson, records their adventures. The setting is London during the 1800’s. Sherlock resides at 221B Baker Street.
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We crammed so much sightseeing into this day it was hard to believe we’d only been in London two days. We woke up around 6:30am, still not fully adjusted to the nine hour time change. Over a small pre-breakfast of yogurt we’d bought the night before and English Breakfast Tea (seemingly known in England as just “normal tea”), we discussed our options for the day. Most tourist attractions did not open until 10:30 – 11am. Only one, the Sherlock Holmes Museum opened at 9:30am. So we decided this would be our starting place, that is, after a stop at the small French bakery on our street corner for second breakfast. After showers we set out for the day. The bakery was delightful. I was overjoyed to see pain au chocolate (chocolate croissants). We took our pastries back to the flat to eat in order to retrieve a forgotten Oyster (Underground) card, and then set out once again for 221B Baker Street. We took the tube to the Baker Street stop and easily located the museum. (We used the app CityMapper to navigate London.) 221B Baker Street was just down the block next to a Beatles memorabilia shop. We were not the only tourists that had realized this was one of the few attractions open this early. We joined the queue forming on the sidewalk. At 9:30am we were able to enter the gift shop to purchase tickets and then we rejoined the queue. The museum is tiny so only a few people were allowed in at a time. A man dressed as a British Bobby stood in the doorway letting people in as others exited.
We waited about 15 minutes to enter. As I waited I read the pamphlet that was our ticket; it stated that the building we were about to enter “was registered as a lodging house from 1860-1934 and therefore represents an authentic lodging house of the period,” much like that in which Sherlock Holmes would have lived. The museum was very small and crowded – both with tourists and artifacts. The museum is full of Victorian age artifacts that relate to the mysteries written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Each floor has two rooms. The first floor had two small rooms, Sherlock’s bedroom and study. These rooms had cozy fires going in small fire places.
The next floor had rooms representing Watson and Mrs. Hudson. The third floor rooms contained wax figures depicting vignettes from several of the stories. These were a bit creepy. There was also a small, old bathroom at the top of the stairs. I thought the museum charming and entertaining and well worth the 10 pound entrance fee, and a good way to spend the hour before the rest of tourist London awakened on this Saturday morning.
Before departing, we did one more in-depth examination of the Sherlock Museum gift shop.
Plan Your Visit
How to get there: Take the London Underground to Baker Street
Where to Eat Nearby
Just down the block from the museum, we found a small Italian pasta/café restaurant, Francesca. Although it was only 10am, the food looked so good we decided to have an early lunch. Totally worth it. As we ate our pasta we consulted the CityMapper app to see which site on our London Bucket List made sense to visit next.
The Peter Pan Statue at Kensington Gardens is only about a mile away, an easy walk from the museum.