Bond in Britain

Thursday 27 February 2020

The escapades of 007 have taken him to every corner of the world, with the spy battling baddies and outrunning evil organisations in buzzing megacities, barren deserts and on snow-covered peaks. And while many of the spectacular car chases and opening sequences in James Bond were shot on location, the striking backdrops of Great Britain have doubled up as settings all over the globe. As Daniel Craig makes his fifth and final appearance as the enigmatic spy in No Time to Die, set off in the footsteps of Bond and explore the far-flung reaches of Britain, from the ruggedness of the Scottish Highlands to beautiful Welsh beaches and the picturesque Cornish countryside.


Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire’s UNESCO World Heritage listed Blenheim Palace provided the setting for Rome’s fictional Palazzo Cadenza in Spectre. The vast stone pillars and Great Court of the monumental country house, near Woodstock, can be seen packed with expensive cars, before Bond makes his getaway in his Aston Martin. The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the baroque palace features 2,000 acres of parkland landscaped by renowned gardener ‘Capability’ Brown and spans more than 300 years of history. Now home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, get tickets to explore the palace, parklands and gardens throughout the year, while a film trail showcases its many locations that have appeared on the big screen.

Cost: Access to the Palace, Park and Gardens costs £28.50 for adults and £16.50 for children (aged 5-16, under 5s go free), with a family ticket available for £69. Access to just the Park and Gardens costs £18.50 for adults and £8.60 for children.


London, England

It might be home to the headquarters of MI6, but London also filled in for a number of Russian landmarks in GoldenEye. The capital’s oldest surviving Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Saint Sophia's Church in Bayswater, became the secret meeting place for Natalya and Boris, just a stone’s throw from Kensington Palace and Hyde Park. The Grade I listed Langham Hotel, near Oxford Circus, was transformed into the Grand Hotel Europe, while Brompton Cemetery saw Bond narrowly escape from a helicopter explosion. Search for famous headstones among the trees and memorials, including that of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, before exploring the independent shops and boutiques along King’s Road. The architecture of Somerset House and St Pancras station doubled as a St Petersburg square and station respectively, with both London locations home to an abundance of designer stores and delectable eateries. To see more of the capital’s connection with 007, enjoy a James Bond London Walking Tour that takes in filming locations from Bond films old and new.

Cost: Kensington Palace costs £17.50 for adults and £8.70 for children. The Queen’s State Apartments open from 1 April 2020. Brompton Cemetery is free to access. Admission to Somerset House is free, although some exhibitions and events are ticketed with varying costs. The James Bond Walking Tour is £12 for adults and £10 for children.


Nene Valley Railway, Cambridgeshire

Weaving its way through the Cambridgeshire countryside, the Nene Valley Railway has made several appearances in the Bond franchise, appearing as Cold War Berlin in both Octopussy and GoldenEye. Bond fans can visit Peterborough station, one of the filming locations, explore the cathedral city, or hop on-board the heritage railway to experience the thrill of steam and diesel train travel. The railway has a rich history and includes a number of locomotives from across Europe, as well as several from the golden age of English steam travel. Evoking heritage and nostalgia, it also offers a stunning way of exploring the picturesque surroundings of the beautiful Nene Valley.

Cost: Standard tickets for the railway cost from £18 for adults and £9 for children, while prices for events vary.


Penbryn Beach, Wales

Situated among the rugged cliffs and sheltered bays of Cardigan Bay, the mile-long Penbryn Beach provided the backdrop for Bond and Jinx’s (Halle Berry) beach-house love scene at the conclusion of Die Another Day. It wasn’t the only British beach to double up as North Korea’s Pukch’ong Coast though, as the golden sands of Holywell Bay in northern Cornwall, near to the surfing hotspot of Newquay, were also used for filming. Discover the magical scenery of West Wales by walking along the Wales Coast Path from Penbryn to Llangrannog, which is renowned for its surfing, or by exploring The Coastal Way, a 180-mile route that takes in some of the country’s most striking coastline. From New Quay, it’s possible to spy the largest population of dolphins in Europe, while Poppit Sands to the south is popular for kitesurfing and a host of other adventure sports. Further south is the pretty cathedral city of St Davids, the vast expanse of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, and an exciting coasteering adventure. To the north, visitors will find the spectacular mountain wilderness of Snowdonia, including Adventure Parc Snowdonia, Zip World and the Velocity 2 zip line where it’s possible to speed over Penryhn slate quarry at speeds of up to 100mph!

Cost: Penbryn Beach is free to access, although parking fees apply. Coasteering adventure costs £52 for adults and £42 for children aged 8-16. Prices for Adventure Parc Snowdonia vary by activity, booking in advance is recommended. Zip World varies in price by activity, with booking required. The Velocity 2 zip line costs from £65-£99.


Eden Project, Cornwall

A star attraction in its own right, the awe-inspiring biomes of the Eden Project also provided the setting for Gustav Graves’ Icelandic diamond mine and ice palace in Die Another Day. A stunt double for Jinx is seen rappelling down the Rainforest Biome, which houses the largest indoor rainforest in the world as well as a canopy walkway experience where visitors can wander among the treetops. The Mediterranean Biome also contains a wide array of plant life while it’s possible to zip over the former clay pit site aboard Skywire, England’s longest zip line. Cornwall is renowned for its sandy beaches, fresh seafood and world-class surfing, in addition to a scuba diving centre in Newquay. From caves and reefs to shipwrecks, the waters off the coast contain many mysterious sites to explore. Back on dry land, wander the south west stretch of the England Coast Path, discover picturesque harbours, enjoy a wine tasting at Trevibban Mill vineyard or create perfume and gin at Green Cart Farm.

Cost: Access to the Eden Project is £28.50 for adults and £15 for children (aged 5-16, under 5s go free), with a family ticket available for £75. Skywire costs £35. Dive Newquay runs a Try Scuba Diving course costing £99, with more advanced options also available. Equipment hire is also available at various costs.


Hankley Common, Surrey

To finish, how about a location that doubled up as somewhere closer to home, as Bond’s ancestral Scottish mansion in Skyfall was actually developed in the centre of Hankley Common in Surrey. The Ministry of Defence-owned nature reserve also featured as the Korean demilitarised zone in Die Another Day, and while access to most of the land is restricted, several public rights of way exist, offering an array of cycling and horse riding opportunities. The area of heathland and pine woodland in southern England is packed with wildlife, providing a unique opportunity to be at one with nature.

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VisitBritain Media Team