With our lives being more and more busy nowadays it’s no surprise that we all can use a bit of escapism. TV programmes and movies tend to be some of the ways that we find some escape from day to day life. We immerse ourselves in this alternate universe so much so that even the names of fictional streets become part our day to day vocabulary. From Coronation Street to Privet Drive here are some of the most famous fictional streets in the UK.
Cherry Tree Lane
You’ll be more than familiar with Cherry Tree Lane, especially if you recently visited the cinema to see Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns. 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 most notably home to the Banks family, who lived at number 17 and has been passed down to each generation.
There have been a number of remarkable and magical events that have occurred on this street. And of course Mary Poppins’ initial landing is one of them. What else makes this location supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is 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 is countless chimney sweepers and path illustrators!
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.
We were first introduced 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.
In 1981, this perfectly normal street became slightly more interesting 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 design. 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!
Home to everyone’s favourite detective, 221b Baker Street is where Sherlock Holmes lived and worked. 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.
You may be surprised 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.
Based in the fictional town of Weatherfield in Salford, Coronation Street has definitely made its way into hearts of British viewers after gracing screens for the first time in 1960 on ITV. Created by Tony Warren, the 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 Inn and D&S Alahan’s corner shop, but also be introduced to The Kabin newsagents, Roy’s Rolls café, and lingerie-making business Underworld as well as other communal areas.
There are quite a few story lines you’ll remember 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 née Harold Patterson becoming the first transgender character on the show. There are many story lines that made a significant impact on the British public that still live on almost 60 years later. All of them on fictional streets!
You can walk down the famous cobbles yourself with an outdoor Coronation 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.
There’s a lot of fictional streets here in the UK. Which ones are your favourite?