Sexy, glamorous, dangerous…
To celebrate the release of Skyfall we explore Bond’s Britain. The UK is the home of James Bond and his creator, Ian Fleming, so where better to live like the world-famous spy?
Remember the opening sequence of The World Is Not Enough, where a speedboat chase down the Thames ends in Bond dangling from a hot air balloon above London’s Millennium Dome (now called the O2)? Now you can have your very own Bond-esque O2 experience with Up at the O2 – an unforgettable, uplifting expedition across the roof of this now iconic landmark. Enjoy spectacular views of the city before finishing with a thrilling descent back to base.
“I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made”. There’s no doubt Bond knows his booze, so we can’t think of a better place to visit for a pre-dinner drink than London’s Dukes Bar, Ian Fleming’s former watering hole and the inspiration for the classic line ‘shaken, not stirred’. Go for a classic vodka or gin martini, a Vesper martini, or the new Fleming 89, created to celebrate the link between Dukes Bar and James Bond.
Scott’s in London’s Mayfair was one of Ian Fleming’s favourite restaurants, and with its sleek, elegant interior and menu offering the finest seafood, we’re certain that Bond would still dine here today. London’s restaurant scene is ever-changing, but if you’re dining like Bond, keep it classic with favourites like The Ivy and Nobu.
He may technically be in his late eighties (according to the novels, he was born in 1924) and played by six different actors, but what keeps Bond’s look timeless is his classic style. And if you’re looking for sharp suits and exquisite tailoring that Bond would be proud to wear, look no further than London’s Savile Row, where you’ll find everything from tuxedos (Gieves and Hawkes) to modern, slim-cut tailoring (Ozwald Boateng).
We all know the real star of any Bond movie is the Bond Girl. For a girl’s day out with a difference, head to Augill Castle in Cumbria for the Bond Girl Challenge. Channel your inner Pussy Galore as you learn how to survive outdoors, shoot, abseil the castle’s tower, dress to kill and mix a mean cocktail. Or if you’d prefer to be a Bond Girl in the city, try the Special Agent’s Hen Event where you’ll be set challenges by a mysterious Mission Commander.
While you may not be able to get inside the real MI6, you can visit Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, which was used as the emergency MI6 headquarters in The World Is Not Enough. It’s also one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland – perfect for a Bond-style romantic break.
If your favourite part of a Bond film is the high-speed car chase in his signature slick ride, you’re in for a treat at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum in Hampshire. The museum is marking the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series with BOND IN MOTION, the largest official collection of original Bond vehicles the world has ever seen. You’ll find everything from the classic Aston Martin DB5 and the Lotus Esprit S1 to Octopussy’s screeching Acrostar Jet – all on display until the end of 2012.
Maybe you’d prefer the freedom of the water for your high-speed Bond experience? The Ultimate MI6 Spy Experience is an exhilarating high powered speedboat ride through the very heart of London. As you cut through the Thames at a rate of knots, your guide will regale you with fascinating anecdotes and true stories about Ian Fleming, the British Secret Service, and of course, James Bond himself.
Espionage is hard work, so when your mission is over, whisk your very own 007/Bond Girl away for a relaxing break. The 007 Suite at the Aphrodites Hotel & Lodge in the Lake District is perfect for stylish Bond types. Luxury facilities, breath-taking views and a £3 million spa, plus Bond memorabilia, make for a break Britain’s most stylish spy would approve of. Or why not visit the luxury spa at the Luton Hoo Hotel, which appeared in The World is Not Enough and Never Say Never Again.
Give your little ones a taste of the spy life with a stay at London’s St Ermin’s Hotel. With the Family SpyKids Package every child receives an 'iSpy for St Ermins' pack with code-breaking puzzles and a Secret Agent mission that can win them a coveted spy identity card and a free (non-alcoholic) shaken, not stirred cocktail. With its fascinating spy history (MI6 moved one of its sections into the hotel and Winston Churchill formed the Special Operations Executive here), St Ermin’s is the perfect hideaway for a family of budding Bonds.