Since James Bond first exploded on to cinema screens in Dr No in 1962, the films’ sumptuous locations have played as great role in their success as the glamorous women, hair-raising stunts and rip-roaring plotlines. To celebrate the release of Skyfall and the 50 year-old Bond franchise, VisitEngland pays homage to some of the series’ most iconic scenes shot, as Louise Tutt reveals how England is just the place to enjoy a slice of the 007 lifestyle.
Daniel Craig’s brooding James Bond secretly meets with Q, played by Ben Whishaw at The National Gallery in London in Skyfall. Marvel at the Gallery’s world famous collection of Western European paintings including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Da Vinci’s The Virgin Of The Rocks. See the suit worn by Craig as Bond across town at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) as part of its stunning autumn exhibition Hollywood Costume. It also includes the dress worn by Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind, John Wayne’s jeans and Harry Potter’s Gryffindor uniform.
Towards the end of Skyfall, Bond surveys the London skyline and the city he loves. For the same awe-inspiring perspective, from 1 February 2013, take a lift up 310m to the pinnacle of Europe’s tallest building, The Shard. And for a martini, shaken not stirred of course, with a gloriously panoramic view, drop in at the Duck And Waffle cocktail and restaurant bar on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, the tallest skyscraper in London’s financial district. To see the dazzling London skyline from above, book a bespoke helicopter tour of London or arrange lessons to fly your own helicopter.
The World is Not Enough
No James Bond film would be complete without a high-speed boat chase like the one Pierce Brosnan enjoys down the Thames in The World Is Not Enough. To experience a similar adrenaline rush, London’s Thames Rib Experience offers breathtaking trips on its fleet of high-speed boats. The boats zoom past the famous O2 Centre where thrill-seekers can now scale the outside of the 50-metre-tall dome to be rewarded by a 360-degree view of London in a climb called Up At The O2.
Die Another Day
Aldwych Underground station in London is the model for the disused tube stop used by John Cleese’s Q as the secret subterranean laboratory for his fantastical innovations. Sneak a glimpse of ghost stations, peer into the past at grand Victorian architecture, and be amazed by futuristic feats of engineering of which Q would be proud as part of a guided tour of the 150 year-old London Underground. Back above ground, experience your own unique bus that-turns-into-a-boat moment on a James Bond-themed London Duck Tour.
The eye-popping biomes of Cornwall’s Eden Project stand in for the Icelandic lair of Toby Stephens’ Gustav Graves in the 2002 film Die Another Day. It is rather ironic as in reality the steamy biomes house the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Follow in the footsteps of Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond by soaring above the Eden Project’s otherworldly architecture on the 660-metre SkyWire, England’s longest zip-slide ride.
A View to a Kill
Don a fabulous hat, sip Champagne and spend a day at the world-famous Ascot racecourse in Berkshire. Roger Moore, in his final outing as Bond, visits Ascot to spy on Christopher Walken’s villainous Max Zorin whose horse gallops to glory. Stay in 007 splendour at the elegant Coworth Park which has its own Equestrian Centre, offering horse riding for guests as well as polo matches during the season.
Sean Connery’s James Bond tees off against Gert Frobe’s Auric Goldfinger in the epic match filmed at the Stoke Park golf club in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside. Play the same course at the Stoke Park Country Club, Spa and Hotel and ogle Goldfinger’s perfectly-preserved black-and-yellow Phantom III. The Rolls Royce is part of the Bond In Motion exhibition at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu in the New Forest National Park.