- St Paul’s Cathedral: Death in Heaven
St Paul’s Cathedral is an amazing experience even if you aren’t a Doctor Who fan. You’ll be able to see the spot where Missy invaded London with her army of cybermen and told the 12th Doctor that she was actually the Master. There’s plenty to see inside as well. On the street opposite, you’ll find a red phone booth where Missy revealed her true identity, and of course the steps of St Pauls stood for the iconic shot of the cybermen marching down to invade the city.
Inside St Pauls, you can visit the crypt beneath the cathedral, which holds the remains of impressive figures from history such as Winston Churchill.
You can also brave the 500 stone steps to the Whispering Gallery and climb even higher to get a spectacular view of London. Be warned, the staircase to the roof is extremely thin and old, I didn’t make it all the way to the top from fear of heights.
- Powell Estate: (Rose Tyler’s Flat) Rose, Aliens of London, The Christmas Invasion, Father’s Day, Last of the Time Lords
If David Tennant is your favorite Doctor, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can visit the exact spot where he first appeared on our screens. Rose Tyler’s flat, otherwise known as the Powell Estate, is an actual estate in London and Cardiff. The Powell Estate is actually known as the Brandon Estate, and if you look close enough on the walls, you can see little messages fans left behind such as ‘Bad Wolf’ and some kind words for Ten.
You can find the exact spot Ood Sigma appeared to the Tenth Doctor, where the residents of Powell Estate hung signs to welcome the aliens, where the TARDIS crash landed on Christmas day, and an army of ghosts appeared. It’s very nostalgic to walk around with the soundtrack in earbuds. I highly recommend visiting in the early evening, it’s much more mysterious.
To get there, hop on the Northern Line to Kensington and enjoy a ten minute walk. You might even spot a TARDIS.
- Southbank/London Eye: Rose
Southbank features heavily in the first 2005 televised episode “Rose” when shop window dummies come to life among Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus, smashing the glass and terrifying late night shoppers. The London Eye is used as the Auton’s transmitter, and the Doctor and Rose run across Westminster Bridge in an iconic cutscene to get to the Thames.
Have a look around and you’ll find the grate the Doctor and Rose jumped down to defeat the Nestene Consciousness. Why not browse said shops on Oxford Street? Just keep a sharp eye on the mannequins.
- The Shard: The Bells of St John
We’ve got Eleventh Doctor locations too! Remember the iconic shot of Matt Smith going up the side of the Shard after switching on the antigravs? Of course you do. Visit the Shard for a peek into the world of the Great Intelligence, the creepy Spoonheads and Miss Kizlet.
The Shard offers some of the best views of London with 99 floors to go up. You can even get up to the top floor on a student discount! In fact, most of the major places on this list such as St. Paul’s and the National Portrait Gallery offer great deals for students. Be sure to bring your ID for snacks like ice cream and wine at the very top, and bring a camera. Dress code is high par.
- National Portrait Gallery/Trafalgar Square: Day of the Doctor, In the Forest of the Night
The National Portrait Gallery is a must see for any 11th Doctor fans. Not only does it hold the Sunflowers painting that in the show Van Gough dedicated to Amy Pond, it was a huge part of the 50th anniversary, the Day of the Doctor. UNIT landed the TARDIS here in Trafalgar Square after a bumpy transfer, and Matt Smith and Clara met Kate Stewart up on the steps.
The inside scenes of the National Portrait Gallery involving the 10th Doctor and the War Doctor were actually shot in Cardiff, but it’s a great place to see historic and famous art. Don’t miss the Van Gogh, George Washington and Queen Elizabeth I paintings.
- The Globe Theater: The Shakespeare Code
The iconic open roofed Globe Theater is located by Southbank. This location not only features in Doctor Who, but also in Good Omens! Many actors from the show have acted on stage here in Shakespeare adaptations. But of course, who can forget The Shakespeare Code with David Tennant’s Doctor and Martha Jones where the Doctor met the Bard himself.
Visit the Globe and get a spot in the groundlings. Look up at the rafters and you’ll be able to see where the carrionite swarm vanished after the 10th Doctor stood on the stage with Shakespeare and Martha yelled ‘Expelliarmus!’ ‘Good old JK!’ Tickets for groundlings are an easy 8 pound and its open air, so be prepared to be exposed to British weather. The covered rafters are a bit more expensive. The Globe is currently closed due to COVID19.
- Canary Wharf: Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, Torchwood One towers
If you want to do the complete tenth Doctor/Rose Tyler tour of London, Torchwood one is a good way to end. It’s where we said goodbye to Rose as she was pulled away into the parallel universe of Pete’s World. Torchwood One towers can be seen in Canary Wharf, and were used for exterior shots of the DALEKS and Cybermen being sucked into the void and coming out of the DALEKS ship. This also stood in for locations like H.C Clements with Donna Noble, who flooded the Thames Barrier with the Tenth Doctor in her first episode. The building itself is One Canada Square. You can take the tube to Canary Wharf from just about any station.
- Tower of London: UNIT HQ and Forbidden Archives
The Tower of London featured prominently in Day of the Doctor as UNIT’s base of operation, that’s Unified Intelligence Taskforce. Kate Stewart and Osgood were seen here protecting the world from shape changing Zygons, who could change into the form of any human they wanted. In the past, Queen Elizabeth the 1st trapped the 10th, 11th and War Doctor in the Tower, leaving them to work out how to unlock the door and Clara to discover it hadn’t been locked at all. The ravens here are rumored to need frequent battery changes.
At the Tower of London, you’ll find everything a history nerd could want. Tours of the tower grounds are daily, and are done by a member of the Queen’s guard. You’ll see the bridge where people were taken in to be executed, hear a chilling story about children who were executed in the tower, and Lady Jane Grey’s “the nine days Queen” tragic fate. It’s worth going up to the battlements for the animals and the war veterans exhibits, but don’t miss the sparkling, beautiful Crown Jewels.
- Forbidden Planet and The Who Shop
If you want some merch to bring home so you can remember your travels with the Doctor, The Who Shop and Forbidden Planet are the places to go. Forbidden Planet is a mega comics store in Oxford Circus, but The Who Shop is closer to Queen Mary with only a tube stop away. Forbidden Planet holds all sorts of Fandom merch, from Harry Potter to Sherlock, but their Doctor Who collection has items you can only get in the UK, such as the 13th Doctor’s rainbow scarf or the new Time Lord Victorious range releasing this year in December.
Don’t miss The Who Shop’s exclusive Doctor Who museum in the back storage, with props from the original filming. You may find a stray K9 or Eldrad hand. The Who Shop has an exclusive 13th Doctor section, and they only sell Doctor Who merchandise. Sometimes they’ll have the actors stop by for autographs and photos!
As a bonus, stop by Earl’s Court Tube Station for a TARDIS, mentioned briefly in the show, which I think sums up this whole trip. “We want the real TARDIS, Kate, not the one in Earl’s Court!”