Tracing the Steps of Doctor Who in London
Introduction to Doctor Who
Doctor Who, the time-travelling human-cum-alien has been enthralling viewers from the past 50 years. This sci-fi programme produced by BBC is one of the most watched programmes in UK. The home of this sci-fi programme has always been London with dozens of alien crafts bombing the city repeatedly. There are numerous locations in London where many of the episodes were filmed. In fact, Doctor Who regularly visits London for both business and pleasure!
If you are a “Doctor Who” fan, exploring the London locations where your favourite “Doctor Who” episodes were shot would be a good idea. Book yourself an accommodation near that location of London where your favourite episode or episodes were filmed. Apart from providing you with comforting facilities, they will keep you close to your favourite 'Doctor Who' location in London. Some of the most famous locations in London where the episodes of this sci-fi were filmed are:
Doctor Who has been confronting his enemies (Daleks and Cyberman in particular) for years and the doctor met his most troublesome enemy Daleks at this iconic open space in 1964.
Trafalgar Square, located at the heart of the city, is one of the most vibrant open spaces in London. At the centre of this square is Nelson’s Column guarded by four lions at its base. A number of statues and sculptures surround the square. On the north of the square is the National Gallery (home to one of the largest artwork collections in the world) and to the South is Whitehall. Whereas to the east of the Square is St Martin-in-the-Fields Church and to the west is Canada House.
Apart from the other artistic marvels, Fourth Plinth is one of the major attractions for tourists visiting Trafalgar Square. It houses one of the best contemporary artworks of the world. The plinth is home to one of the most controversial statues of the world- statue of Alison Lapper’s pregnant nude body by Marc Quinn.
The iconic warehouse scenes that were part of 1984 story “Resurrection of the Daleks” were shot in the Shad Thames.
It is a historic riverside street next to Tower Bridge in London. Home to largest warehouse complex in the past, Shad Thames is now a happening tourist place in the city. This street is surrounded with a plenty of restaurants, bars and attractions. Tower Bridge is the most alluring attraction near this street. Just walk down this famous street and indulge yourself with some delightful coffee and cakes.
In the “Rose” episode of 2005 series, villain Nestene Consciousness used this famous London landmark as a transmitter to send messages.
London Eye is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the city. Situated at the South Bank, this gigantic wheel is 135 metres tall and offers an unparalleled view of the city. Through its glass pods or capsules, you will have a 360-degree view of London. On a clear day, you can view up to 25 miles on each direction. During its 30 minutes long flight, you will have a breath taking view of the Houses of Parliament, Canary Wharf, Big Ben, Thames and Windsor Castle.
As far facilities for visitors are concerned, there are gift shops and cafes at the London Eye Gift shop located next to the wheel. In addition to this, special facilities like discounts, wheelchair access are available for tourists with special needs.
If you are planning to visit London Eye, make sure that you have booked tickets in advance. To know more about this, visit londoneye.com.
Most of the terrifying aliens of Doctor Who love to hide in the waters of Thames. The Empress of Racnoss was no exception. In the 2006 series, she built a complete hiding den under the Thames Barrier.
Thames Barrier is world’s second largest movable flood barrier. In the operation since 1982, the main purpose of this barrier is to prevent the floodwaters from entering the easternmost boroughs of London. The major tourist attraction, however, at this place is the Thames Barrier Park. Opened in 2000, it is one of the best riverside gardens in the city. “Rainbow Garden”, one of the features of this garden, is a designated place where strips of coloured plants create a heavenly ambience.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: Romeo and Juliet(2009) Trailer
Doctor Who Trivia
Even the residence of royalty could not escape the eyes of Doctor Who’s villains. In the 2007 Christmas special 'Voyage of the Damned', this spacious palace narrowly escapes the Spaceship Titanic.
Buckingham Palace is one of the biggest palaces of the world. Home to UK’s royalty, this palace is the administrative headquarters of the Monarchy. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms in total, out of which 19 State Rooms are opened during the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening Ceremony that happens at the end of July every year. Apart from the lavish Palace rooms, the opulent building also houses priceless works of arts. In fact, many of the arts and artefacts in the Royal Collection are displayed during exhibitions.
One of the most delightful sights at this palace is the Changing of the Guard Ceremony that takes place at 11.30 am every day. From May to July, the procession happens daily whereas on rest of the months it takes place on alternate days.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Going for a time travel with his machine, Doctor Who meets Shakespeare in this sober theatre.
It is the replica of Shakespeare’s sixteenth century theatre situated around 200 yards from the original spot. The whole theatre is made of wood and thatch and by incorporating 400 years old building technique. The theatre hosts plays of the Bard of Avon in the open space. Therefore, if you are planning to visit this place and watch a play, remember to dress accordingly as the unpredictable London weather could take turns any time!
If you want more information about the theatre, its tours, exhibitions and ticket prices, go to shakespearesglobe.com.
The Daleks and the Cyberman descended in the Canary Wharf to carry out some serious business in the 2006 episode 'Doomsday'.
Canary Wharf is a major business district located in Tower Hamlets, London. Spread over 97 acres, this financial hub is home to some of the biggest banks of London. A series of towering office blocks is a treat to watch, the biggest one being One Canada Square. Being the financial heart of the city, this place is occupied with chic restaurants, pubs and bars.
10 Downing Street
Villains of Doctor Who did not spare the centre of power in London too! The Slitheen intruded the Downing Street only to be defeated by Doctor Who.
10 Downing Street is home to the British Prime minister. The whole street is a myriad network of offices, conference rooms and family homes to First family. You will not have access to the street (security reasons) nonetheless; you can explore the following destinations:
- Central Hall Westminster
This Methodist church is a multipurpose venue and a tourist attraction too. An Edwardian building, Central Hall Westminster offers guided tours for visitors from 9.30 am until 5 pm. No admission fee will be charged.
- Admiralty Arch
Admiralty arch is a grade I listed building famous for its grand structure and aesthetic architecture. Of all the things that attract tourists to this place, nothing matches the mysterious nose. On the inside wall of the northernmost arch is a slight protrusion in the form of a human nose. It is often said that this nose was built to pay homage to Edward VII, who had a large nose. On the other hand, some consider it as one among the seven intriguing noses of Soho.
Trail on the steps of Doctor Who through these places in London. Getting up and close with these “Doctor Who” locations will be a surreal experience for you.
More by this Author
Visit Southall while you are in London this year and explore the rich vibrancy of this "mini India".
Come out of your hotel in London and embark into the fascinating quest of "nose-hunting" in London.
Planning a solo female travel to London, but searching for tips! Here are some ideas which will help you in achieving this.