london diary: day 1 – brick lane, spitalfields and sherlock museum.

I sort of stumbled across Spitalfields Market on my way to Brick Lane, taking the wrong turning actually turned out to be a really good thing in this instance. We wandered around on a Monday morning after a brilliant and very cheap breakfast of a cheese omlette and toast. There wasn’t that many stalls actually open but I imagine a Monday morning is not exactly primetime market selling but what was open was good and in many places very affordable. There was plenty of nice clothes, pretty jewellery and wonderful little homeware pieces and I could easily have bought more things than I did. I bought a top and 3 little pictures which will be perfect for my new room when we finally get moving. It was a lot different to most markets in the sense that it was a very modern building with lots of restaurants surrounding the stalls, you couldn’t move for food places and though I’d just eaten as it turned to dinner time I was tempted by the array of food on offer but I didn’t give in to my stomach as I was on the quest to find Rough Trade. It was around a 2 minute walk away and it is pretty huge inside with a cafe and everything which is strange as record shops in Sheffield and the north are usually cramped and dark. The prices were not the cheapest I’ve ever seen for vinyl but in comparison to other places they were reasonable. Record stores are dangerous places for me as I could easily buy hundreds of pounds worth of vinyl without realising until I got to the till but I limited myself to 2 records – my bloody valentine’s latest album and haim’s latest single with 2 remixes, apparently it’s a limited edition release but I can’t actually confirm that. All in all it was a good morning visiting somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and making a welcome discovery through a little navigational mistake.

The afternoon saw me on the tube again going across London to a place where fans of Sherlock will recognise. The above cafe is the cafe that Sherlock, John and Mrs Hudson all live next door to and where Mrs Hudson occasionally works. As I was visiting Baker Street, the home of Sherlock, I thought I would make the short tube journey here. Unfortunately the beeb have changed the door back now from 221b to the usual door so I couldn’t have my picture taken outside it but at least I’ve seen where they have filmed the series which was pretty surreal to think that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have stood on the exact same street many times.

So after visiting the Sherlock set it was time for me to visit the actual home of Sherlock and continue my day which actually turned out to be based more around a fictional detective than even I foresaw.

Something I would definitely recommend, especially if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, is the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Situated on Baker Street [obviously] it is a museum that comprises the set up of Sherlock and John’s flat from the portrayals given by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his stories. There is some clear attention to detail that goes on throughout with books, Sherlock’s violin, the traditional Victorian decor, trinkets from cases and pages of the diary. It may only be a story but it has truly come to life in this building much like it has done in the minds of many and on the scenes big and small throughout the years.

Coming in at £8 for as long as you like inside and with so much to see over 4 floors of the house it is very good value for money. The tour is self guided and that is totally fine if you are familiar with the stories and if not you get a programme with your ticket telling you the main things to look out for and the reasons why they are there. And if you want to find out even more about the stories you can always buy the books or DVD’s of any of the adaptations old and new in the shop next door.

A store that I spent plenty of time in and with very nice, well made merchandise that you wouldn’t mind parting with your cash for, it was one of the best museum shops I have ever been in considering the size of the museum to others as well. With everything on offer from little keyrings and trinkets to books, wall plaques and hats a plenty, there was something for everyone and every budget. I came away with four items and I did look at getting a deer stalker [yes I really am that obsessed] but for £45 it was a little out of my budget for this trip but for the quality of the hat it is a very reasonable price.

I did buy a little violin trinket, a huge Sherlock plaque chocolate coin, a Sherlock rubber duck [which mixes in my two favourites to collect – rubber ducks and all things Sherlock related] and a detective pass which is more than pretty cool in my eyes. As you can probably work out I really enjoyed the museum, it was complete value for money and portrayed the whole world of Sherlock in it’s most classic and well known sense perfectly and it really is the perfect trip for any Sherlock fan visiting London to make.

Sherlock Museum Buys:

The night saw a trip to Spaghetti House near Leicester Square from some really beautiful pasta and where I actually learnt how to eat spaghetti in a somewhat respectable manner. After visiting a couple of pubs a bit further north of that area, then getting slightly lost and finding our way back to Trafalgar Square which is completely beautiful at night when it is all lit up and then calling for a quick drink on the way to Charring Cross tube station and finishing off my Sherlock themed day perfectly in the really lovely Sherlock Holmes pub. So maybe I’m slightly swayed by the name of the pub but it is a really nice pub, it’s quaint for the centre of London, affordable and not as extortionate as some of the other bars drinks-wise and the food looked good and reasonably priced too though I didn’t get chance to eat there. It was a pretty brilliant and jam-packed first day in London and that was something that was definitely set to continue throughout the rest of the week.

The rest of my London diaries are still to come including my day at Harry Potter Studios Tour.

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