Last week, Maddie and I made our way back up to London for the much-anticipated Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour. We arrived at Picadilly Circus, where we were met by our friendly tour guide, Craig. It’s safe to say Craig is a real Sherlock boffin, and he greeted us with huge enthusiasm!
Our meeting point was the Savini at Criterion, just outside Picadilly Circus Station, where Holmes and Watson first met. Whilst we waited for the rest of the group to arrive, Craig told us about the surrounding buildings and the way period films and TV shows have been filmed in these iconic locations. We split into two groups and, when everyone was ready, set off on our tour.
Now, we won’t give too much away, but stops included a highly prestigious Gentlemen’s Club, The London Library, Waterloo Bridge, Somerset House and Trafalgar Square. Each location had connections to the books, films or Sherlock TV show, and it was very exciting to stand in the exact spot where Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman stood during filming.
Our favourite fact we learnt (one of many) is that the BBC seldom closes roads for filming – choosing instead to film among the general public. We were even shown a few stills from the TV series in which we saw people in the background looking directly at the camera!
We finished at the famous Sherlock Holmes pub, in which we learnt that they have a private Sherlock exhibition upstairs (unfortunately it was shut when we got there). The exhibition houses real extracts of Conan Doyle’s scripts and props from his acting days playing Sherlock on stage.
All, in, all, we had a wonderful few hours exploring London – who knew there were so many fun Movie facts! Thank you to Brit Movie Tours for having us and Craig for being our great, enthusiastic tour guide!
Our expert interview this week comes from family-run business Brit Movie Tours. Offering insightful excursions around London’s most iconic movie sets, this is the perfect gift for a hardcore movie-buff who needs to know every behind-the-scenes detail about their favourite films. I’ve been chatting to Lewis, the director, and here’s what he had to say…
Hi Lewis, please explain your journey as ‘Brit Movie Tours’ so far.
I set up the company in October 2009, then it was onwards and upwards, really. Started with about eight tours, now we have around thirty-five running. The most popular of which is probably like the Harry Potter ones, Downton Abbey, Gavin & Stacey and particularly James Bond. I’ve always been a James Bond fan myself, and I was looking for an organised locations tour in London a few years back, I thought if there’s no one to give me one then I might as well start it, it was a good opportunity, makes sense.
That is a good idea, what’s your biggest/most memorable event?
One that sticks in my mind is on a Gavin & Stacey tour we had Ruth Jones come along, this was one of the first tours, the fans didn’t know she was coming and then she was waiting for us at Stacey’s home, and they just went crazy. So that was very exciting. Yeah, we’ve had various stars come on the tours, we’ve had a Bond Girl, Caroline Munro from The Spy Who Loved Me, she met up with us on a location tour last year, that was pretty nice. Yeah we have lots of fan clubs coming, the James Bond fan club comes every year to do it, the tours, they like doing things like re-enactments in the actual place it was set.
Any inside information? Which tour would you choose?
Well, I’m biased. We try to cater for all ages, nationalities, interests, there’s quite a diverse range. Obviously someone might like James Bond which might not interest someone else. My favourite is James Bond, but we offer something for everyone. People enjoy the idea of stepping from reality into fiction, and doing that in an entertaining way.
Any exciting plans for the future?
We run a Gangster London Tour led by the actor who played Nick the Greek in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. What I’d like to do is have more tours led by celebrities people recognize. I want to keep improving what we already do, making sure people are enjoying them really.
And finally, what would you say is your most frequently asked question from customers?
Good question, I’m not sure! Probably… Where does the tour finish? Where are the toilets? What are we going to see today? What time do we get back? Stuff about the logistics, operational questions like that.
Thanks for the interview, Lewis. Really fancy a Harry Potter tour now…
Check out the fantastic movie tours on offer and go yourself!
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Harry Potter Movie Bus Tour, London
Harry Potter Walking Tour, London
Jack the Ripper Tour, London
James Bond Bus Movie Tour, London
Midsomer Murders Location Tour, London
Sherlock Holmes Movie Tour, London
Group Size & Spectators:
The Sherlock Holmes Movie Tour of London is a group activity.
The Sherlock Holmes Movie Tour of London is available on Saturdays throughout the year between February and November, subject to demand and availability.
The Sherlock Holmes Movie Tour of London lasts for approximately 2 hours.
The Sherlock Holmes Movie Tour of London is not weather dependent. Please dress for the weather and bring waterproofs/umbrellas if necessary.
You should wear whatever you are comfortable in for the Sherlock Holmes Movie Tour of London - you're more than welcome to dress up as the master sleuth himself or any other character in the series if you wish to! You should also bring your camera!
The Sherlock Holmes Movie Tour of London is suitable for all people over the age of 12.