Are you a James Bond fan? Can you name all the actors, through time, in the right order? Are you a martini expert? Keep reading to see where to experience a little of the famous spy’s life in London.
Start with a selfie at Madame Tussauds’ – especially as you can pose with not one but all 6 actors there until November 30. Then rush to the London Film Museum to have a closer look at the fast cars he favours. Bond in Motion will even feature the gems from Spectre from November 18. A little further, the National Portrait Gallery features a (free!) display of behind the scenes portraits taken while filming Spectre between 2014 and 2015.
London stars nicely in Bond movies. We have seen glimpses of Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Bridge, Somerset House (standing in for a square in St Petersburg in Goldeneye, the Ministry of Defence in Tomorrow Never Dies), the Barbican (Quantum of Solace), Brompton Cemetery (the front of a Russian church in Goldeneye), Vauxhall Cross (or MI6), Room 34 of the National Gallery (Skyfall) and so much more…
Rather than running around London trying to see them all yourself, indulge in a themed walk by Brit Movie Tours (Sundays at 11 am) – you will get to see the most iconic places and learn about which ones particularly inspired Ian Fleming. Want more? London Walks has a larger theme on Spies and Spycatchers in the capital (Saturdays at 2.30 pm).
If the Thames is more your thing, London Duck Tours also have a regular Bond option and it’s quite impressive leaving the road to suddenly float on the water. Adventurers will prefer RIBs, tiny inflatable boats that can go super fast on parts of the river. It’s quite impressive. And liberating.
Shaken not stirred
Fleming came up with this line at the bar of the Dukes Hotel, said to serve the best martinis in the world. They can also fix you a Vesper – James Bond’s very first love as mentioned in Casino Royale (Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?) or even a Miss Moneypenny (vodka, triple sec, lime, passionfruit). The atmosphere is very elegant so be warned – no jeans or trainers will be accepted, dress snappy. Alternatively, go to the W Hotel on Leicester Square and sip on a Spectre cocktail, a twist on the Vesper (Tanqueray No Ten gin, Belvedere Vodka, plum wine and a dash of vermouth).
Hungry? Book a table at Rules – if you can, THE table where M enjoys a glass of wine while discussing strategy with Q and Moneypenny. Not only is the restaurant a reference in London (Dickens loved it), it is also the oldest in town. Fleming liked Scott’s (the location has moved since then but remains as atmospheric) and of course Bond was seen there in Diamonds Are Forever, ordering a dressed crab and a pint of Red Velvet (Guinness and sparkling wine).
Who knows what adventures await in London?