The famous fictional streets in the UK that you can visit
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Consumers of the media often find themselves immersed into the fictional world of their favourite characters, often fantasising about what life would be like in their universe. Whether this is associated with soap operas or cinematic masterpieces, we’ve become extremely familiar with the streets many of these people grew up on — but what are some of the most famous?
Baker Street tube station // Image credit: Oxyman, via Wikimedia Commons
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We've got a list of some of the best - and the ones that you can actually visit, because who doesn't want a picture of themselves outside The Rovers Return?
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Arguably the most famous fictional (well, it's not actually fictional) street in the UK, Baker Street is also the title of a song with perhaps the most iconic opening ever.
Situated in central London, just two stops on the Bakerloo line away from Oxford Street, 221b Baker Street is the residence of the UK’s most popular detective, Sherlock Holmes. Although you may need to wear your deerstalker cap to find it, as the building is strangely located between 237 and 241. Penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock has become one of the most influential literary characters associated with British culture.
Today, the address functions as a museum, which is open every day from 9:30am to 18:00pm and costs adults £15 and children under 16 £10. You’ll be able to explore the home Sherlock shared with his main companion, Dr Watson — including the sitting room, the laboratory, the iconic study and more.
It’s surprising to read that when the stories were first published, though the street itself wasn’t fictional, the address ‘221b Baker Street’ certainly was as the addresses in Baker Street did not go as high as 221 — but this was soon extended. The Abbey National Building Society occupied the addresses 219-229 from 1931 and had to employ a full-time secretary to answer mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes! There was a 15-year dispute on who should receive the letters though - the building society or the museum.
Cherry Tree Lane
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If you recently visited the cinema to see Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, then you’ll be more than familiar with Cherry Tree Lane. We were first introduced to the fiction street in 1934, when author P.L. Travers released the first book of her Mary Poppins series. The street is home to the Banks family, who lived at number 17, and it has been passed down to each generation.
Mary Poppins initial landing is just one of many remarkable and magic events that have occurred at the address. What else makes this location supercalifragilisticexpialidociousis that it’s also home to Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle, who were once members of England’s navy and keep their house in ‘shipshape’ — with an actual ship on the roof which fires a cannon twice a day! As well as this, there are countless chimney sweeps and street lamp lighters.
Although there is no specific location for where Cherry Tree Lane could be, it’s thought that Travers based her vision off townhouses in Kensington or her own home on Smith Street in Chelsea — which now has an English Heritage plaque outside.
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Coronation Street first aired in 1960 on ITV. Based in the fictional town of Weatherfield, Corrie was created by Tony Warren. The iconic fictional street is thought to have been built in 1902 and compromised of a row of seven terraced houses with the iconic Rovers Return Inn and corner shop at each end.
The show itself has been home to many dramas and is the longest-running soap opera in the world. Because of its popularity, writers had to introduce new characters and locations over the years to create a more representative environment for viewers at home to relate with. Today, you’ll still find the iconic Rovers Return, Roy's Rolls and Underworld (the knicker factory which seems to burn down/collapse every year) but there's also the addition of a Co-op, bistro and 'frescos'.
There are many famous storylines you’ll recall from this show, from the ‘Free the Weatherfield One’ campaign where Deirdre Rachid was given an 18-month sentence for a crimes she didn’t commit to Hayley Cropper becoming the first transgender character on the show. There are a lot of storylines that made a significant impact on the British public.
You can walk down the famed cobbles yourself with an outdoor street tour that take place on the weekends. Located at MediaCityUK in Manchester, the 80-minute tour also includes the set of Rosamund Street and the never-before-seen Victoria Street.
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Last on our list but certainly not least, it's Privet Drive. We had our initial introduction to this fictional street in the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, which was first published in 1997. Located in Surrey, this street was home to the Dursley family, which included Vernon, Petunia, and their son Dudley, who all lived at number four.
This impeccably normal street became slightly more interesting in 1981 as Vernon and Petunia’s nephew, Harry James Potter, was left on their doorstep by one of the greatest wizards of all time, Albus Dumbledore, after his parents were tragically murdered by the Dark Lord himself, Lord Voldemort.
The suburban street consists of ‘boxy’ houses with gardens at the front and back — each quite identical in style. The name of the street came from a privet bush, which is a hedge that isolates houses as Rowling herself thought this linked quite well as the Dursley’s had a desire to segregate themselves from the Wizarding World — despite having strong family ties.
Today, you can visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London to see the film set in real life. Sometimes, the interior is open to the public so make sure you check ahead of visiting, although we know you’ll be just as pleased posing next to the vintage street sign. The actual home that was used in the first film recently made headlines after being put on the market for almost £500,000.
Lead image credit: Oxyman, via Wikimedia Commons