Doctor Who has been one of the UK’s greatest shows since it premiered in 1963. Over the course of its history, much of the show’s action has occurred in London, from the first episode up to last season. Plenty of well-known London landmarks have appeared on Doctor Who as a consequence and at least one place has become famous *because* of the show. We’ve outlined five of our favorite Doctor Who locations throughout London in this article, and you can let us know your own favorite Whovian locales in the comments.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery houses over 2,300 pieces of art, making it the single-largest repository of paintings, sculptures, and other works in the United Kingdom. The Gallery entered into Doctor Who lore during the 2013 50th Anniversary Special “The Day of the Doctor,” where it’s revealed to house a secret gallery overseen by UNIT. The Undergallery, as it was called, housed a painting of Zygons that the alien beings used to invade as well as a painting of Gallifrey that became important to the plot. And, of course, the Curator turns out to be someone *very* close to the Doctor.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren along with many of the City of London’s Churches after the Great Fire of London, it still stands out as an architectural marvel as London’s skyscrapers grow up around it. Its first appearance on Doctor Who occurred during “The Invasion” in which a waiting army of Cybermen arose from the sewers and proceeded down the stairs leading from the Cathedral to the River Thames, which is one of the most iconic images from the classic era of the program. It would appear again during the Twelfth Doctor’s first series, with the episode “Dark Water” recreating the famous moment from “The Invasion.”
Also known as Post Office Tower, this communications tower was the tallest building in London when it was finished in 1964 and is the only skyscraper that was once governed by the Official Secrets Act. The Tower opened officially in 1966, and its technological advancement was featured in the Doctor Who serial “The War Machines.” In that episode, the self-aware computer WOTAN attempted to take over the world from his base at the Tower, though his efforts were of course thwarted by the First Doctor and his new companions Ben and Polly as well as then-companion Dodo.
Westminster Bridge has been one of London’s greatest landmarks since it leads to another—The Palace of Westminster, aka, Parliament. The current bridge was finished in 1862 and has been painted green after the benches in the House of Commons. However, this color wasn’t seen in its first Doctor Who appearance as the Daleks iconically crossed over it in “The Dalek Invasion of Earth.” This scene was recreated for the docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time.” Another famous moment occurred when the show came back in 2005 as the Ninth Doctor and companion Rose Tyler ran across the bridge to battle the Nestene Consciousness.
Police Box at Earl’s Court
In Doctor Who’s very first episode, “An Unearthly Child,” companions Ian and Barbara were astonished to find a police public call box in the middle of a junk yard. While the location may have been unusual, at the time, plenty police boxes were still found on the streets of London and other major cities. Now, the only one that remains in the UK’s capital is located outside the Earl’s Court Underground Station. This is arguably the only location in the city that is famous and was preserved *because* of the show. It has sent become a major tourist attraction in its own right, so much that Google Maps even has a link where you can go “inside” to find the Twelfth Doctor’s TARDIS console room. No longer in use by the Metropolitan Police, it exists for Whovians in London and all over the world to have their picture taken with a real police box.