Top ten of London’s most famous doors
In today’s communication age, we are constantly online, being bombarded with pictures of celebrities and our own friends and relatives – whether on social media or news sites. Recording our visits to famous cities has never been easier and with the touch of a button we can take a picture and post it on the airwaves for others to admire.
Very often, these pictures will be taken outside a door. Whether we are visiting a famous historic building, or we are looking at a politician speaking outside their home, or a picture of a famous actress arriving somewhere, nine times out of ten a door will be in the background.
The doors themselves have often become famous too. But which are the most well known in that most photographed world city: London? Just for fun, in no particular order, here is our round-up of the ten most famous doors in the city of the red buses, sentries, pillar boxes, and good honest English rain. Some are beautiful, some are plain, some symbolic … all are icons in their own right.
10 Downing Street – Georgian style door
This probably takes pride of place as the most famous door in London. Shiny and black with a lion’s head door knocker, it is the only way in and out of the Prime Minister’s residence. In fact the current door is not the original Georgian version but a bomb-proof replica which replaced the previous door in the 1990s. Why is the door at 10 Downing Street so shiny?
221b Baker Street – Sherlock Holmes entrance door
We Brits love our detectives and none more so than the deerstalker wearing pipe-smoker himself: Sherlock Holmes, who famously lived at 221b Baker Street. Now enjoying a modern reincarnation with the face of Benedict Cumberbatch, the front door used for the current BBC series is 187 North Gower Street.
The blue door in Notting Hill – the film
This rather scruffy looking blue door was one of London’s most famous thanks to its starring role in the film Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The entry to William Thacker’s flat, in which film star Anna Scott takes refuge at several key points in the narrative, is situated at 280 Westbourne Park Road. It was in fact the front door of film screenwriter Richard Curtis. He later sold his home and the door was subsequently auctioned off after so many tourists had their picture taken in front of it that it was difficult for the inhabitants to get inside. Notting Hill film trivia
Westminster Abbey – Great West door
The most famous door of the ancient abbey is the Great West Door, through which many notable people have passed, including the Duchess of Cambridge on her way to wed Prince William in 2011.
But special mention should also go to a smaller oak door leading into the abbey’s chapter house which has been scientifically proved to be Britain’s oldest door at nearly 1,000 years old.
Stage doors of the West End
OK, so this is not one specific door, but we feel a special mention must go to all the stage doors of London, where crowds of fans patiently wait after shows in the hopes of seeing stage stars make their exit. Stage doors outside West End theatres are often obscure and hard-to-spot, but that doesn’t put off all the avid theatre-goers who make it their mission to find them and wait to catch a glimpse of their favourite performers.
The entrance to the House of Commons plays a key role in the State Opening of Parliament when the official known as Black Rod bangs on it to summon the Commons to the Lords for the Queen’s Speech.
11 Downing Street’s front door
The official residence of the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer deserves its own place in our list of top ten. Also black and shiny like its famous neighbour, it provides the backdrop to pictures of the chancellor, traditionally holding a red box, when a new budget is announced.
The Ivy Restaurant’s iconic oak doors
The Ivy was for a time arguably the most famous restaurant in London with many a celebrity photographed outside its doors as they entered or left. Until recently the restaurant boasted some very well-known distinctive oak doors through which many famous faces passed, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Princess Margaret and Stephen Fry. But the doors were sold off as part of an extensive refurbishment.
The Bank of England – stunning bronze entrance doors
The Bank of England’s entrance on Threadneedle Street has two bronze front doors adorned with highly symbolic emblems. Each has a ‘caduceus’, the staff of bankers’ patron saint the Roman god Mercury. The left door shows a sailing ship, symbolising old ways of communication, while the right shows the new: electricity. Heads of lions also decorate each door as they guard the treasure within.
Harrods department store – entrance doors
The iconic department store’s doors are famously overhung with distinctive Harrods-green canopies and form perhaps one of the most photographed backdrops on the London tourist scene.
A visit to Harrods is a must for millions of foreign visitors to the capital every year.