Home is where you hang your hat, even if you’re a work of fiction. Many real and imagined places across London have served as the homes of some of literature’s most famous characters. Adventures begin in these fictional London abodes, from solving mysteries to traveling around the world. We’ve identified five such residences of the city’s well-known protagonists—some of which you can actually visit. If you think we left out a famous fictional character’s home, you can share that with us in the comments. Be sure to let us know if you’ve been to any of the real-world counterparts.
221B Baker Street
Home to famed fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, Holmes often took consultations in his apartments on Baker Street that he shared with Dr. John Watson. As a bonus, you can actually visit the real 221B Baker Street, which is home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The address is one of the many historical aspects of the museum, as Baker Street didn’t originally extend as far as the museum’s location and once it did, the address belonged to another company for a time. Inside, the museum is made to look like Holmes’ and Watson’s rooms from the stories, littered with objects and artefacts of their many adventures which makes 221B feel less fictional.
17 Cherry Tree Lane
Our next entry is entirely fictional. 17 Cherry Tree Lane is the literary and film home for the Banks family who are the primary characters in the Mary Poppins series of books and films from P.L. Travers. The address is made up and first appeared in Travers’s Mary Poppins which was published in 1934. Even the exterior location for the films were soundstage sets. While Cherry Tree Lane doesn’t exist, the type of Georgian townhome the books describe and seen in the films can be found throughout Kensington and Chelsea. If you walk through the area, you can imagine almost any of them having been home to a family like the Banks.
32 Windsor Gardens
Author Michael Bond created Paddington Bear based on a stuffed bear he purchased for his wife and named it for the train station he regularly used to get to his cameraman job at the BBC. As such, he set much of his Paddington book series around the station in the City of Westminster. While the real 32 Windsor Gardens in London is nowhere near its fictional counterpart, the real townhome used as the exterior of the Brown’s house is No. 20 Chalcot Crescent, located near Regents Park. While the home was up for sale, it, unfortunately, didn’t come with any friendly bear houseguests.
186 Fleet Street
Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim crafted Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 1979. The show is a dark comedy musical about a wronged barber seeking revenge by murdering his victims in his barber’s chair and then having them baked into pies sold out of a pie shop on the first floor. The musical gives Todd’s address as 186 Fleet Street. The musical was based upon a play by Christopher Bond, which itself was based on a ”penny dreadful” story about a murderous barber. The real 186 Fleet Street is home to publisher The Dundee Courier.
7 Savile Row
In Mayfair, 7 Savile Row is home to a posh office building. However, in literature, it is home to none other than Phileas Fogg, the great explorer. Fogg is the protagonist of Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days and undertakes the titular journey on a bet. On the first floor you can find men’s clothiers Cad and the Dandy, but no reference to the fictional Mr. Fogg or his incredible journey.