One of literature’s most memorable sleuths hits the big screen in Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr., which opens tomorrow in the U.S. and on Saturday in the UK. If the film awakens your inner detective, here are five ways to make like Sherlock Holmes in London.
Pay a Visit to 221b Baker Street. At the Sherlock Holmes Museum (left), the detective’s Victorian-era quarters have been vividly re-created just as they’re described in A Study in Scarlet and other tales. On display are his most prized possessions, including his deerstalker cap and the Persian slipper where he stored his tobacco. Click here to read more about the famous lodging place.
Take a Walking Tour. “What do you say to a ramble through London?” Holmes once asked his sidekick, Dr. Watson. Follow suit with the walking tour “In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes.” Like the detecting duo, you’ll be “watching the ever changing Kaleidoscope of life as it ebbs and flows through Fleet Street and the Strand.” Among the sights are Charing Cross Station, where Holmes and Watson often dashed to hop a train in hot pursuit of a clue, and Covent Garden’s Royal Opera, where they caught a Wagner performance in The Red Circle Case. Tours are given on Fridays at 2 p.m. (except Christmas Day).
Check into The Langham Hotel. Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dined at The Langham in 1889 with a magazine editor who commissioned his second novel, The Sign of Four (playwright Oscar Wilde was also at the dinner). The luxurious Regent Street hotel is featured in the Holmes adventure A Scandal in Bohemia and other tales. Through April 30, 2010, guests can opt for the “Sherlock Holmes Package” and slumber in the split level suite named for Conan Doyle. Also included are two tickets to the Sherlock Holmes Museum (a short stroll away), a gift from the Langham Book Butler, and a specially-created “Sherlock Holmes” cocktail in the hotel bar.
Dine in Sumptuous Surroundings. Holmes and Watson mulled over clues and celebrated the end of successful cases at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, which serves traditional English fare in an elegant dining room adorned with wood paneling, molded ceilings, and chandeliers. The restaurant, which dates to 1828, is famous for its roasted meats carved tableside from antique serving ware. Real-life luminaries like Charles Dickens and Vincent Van Gogh dined here as well.
Toast Holmes and His Creator. Savor a pint at the Sherlock Homes pub, which featured as the Northumberland Hotel where Sir Henry Baskerville slumbered in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Or head to the Museum Tavern, located opposite the British Museum where Conan Doyle once made use of the domed, circular reading room. The scribe is thought to have used the Tavern as the doppelgänger for the Alpha Inn where the Christmas Goose Club meets in The Blue Carbuncle.
Now what are you waiting for? As Sherlock Holmes would say, “Come, the game is afoot!” –Shannon McKenna Schmidt
[Photos: Sherlock Holmes Museum ©Joni Rendon; Langham Hotel ©Langham Hotels International]