Bond, James Bond is back this October with the newest Bond movie: Skyfall, premiering in London on 26 October. To celebrate, we’ve pulled together a list of 10 must-see Bond landmarks in London for you to explore on your next trip to the capital.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to follow our James Bond London tour and channel the super-suave spy by visiting all 10 of the 007 spots we’ve listed below. There’s no need to take the Aston Martin though – as it should only take just over an hour to follow our tour on foot …
• Start: 27 Green Street, Mayfair
In 1908, Ian Fleming – the man who penned James Bond into being – was born at 27 Green Street, Mayfair. A debonair society man with a penchant for Martinis and a way with the ladies, Fleming also plotted and served in daring raids behind enemy lines as a Naval Intelligence Officer in WWII, leading many to believe that 007 was loosely based on Fleming himself.
Then: Head east towards Park St, turn onto North Audley St, turn left onto Grosvenor Square, continue onto Brook St, turn right onto New Bond St. Journey time: 13 minutes on foot.
• Arrive: Sotheby’s, 34-25 Bond Street
In 1983, Sotheby’s world-famous auction house served as the setting for the auction of a Faberge Egg in the Bond movie: Octopussy. In the movie, a dying agent, 009, passes a Faberge egg to the British Embassy in Berlin – which turns out to be a fake. The real Faberge egg, it turns out, is up for auction at Sotheby’s in London. At Sotheby’s, Roger Moore’s Bond bids against an exiled Afghan prince to increase the price of the real Faberge egg, and in a feat of daring swaps the real egg for the fake egg. Bond then follows the prince overseas to find out why he wanted the egg so badly.
Then: Head southeast on New Bond St towards Bruton St, continue onto Walton St, continue onto New Bond St then Old Bond St, turn left onto Piccadilly, destination on the right. Journey time: 8 minutes’ walk.
• Arrive: Fortnum and Mason, 181 Piccadilly
The iconic department store Fortnum and Mason might never have featured in a James Bond movie, but literary James Bond was partial to Fortnum and Mason’s honey. It wouldn’t be difficult to image him popping to Fortnum’s for a bottle of Bollinger Champagne too – in GoldenEye Bond kept a bottle of Bollinger Grande and two champagne glasses in the armrest of his Aston Martin in case a beautiful girl should drop by.
Then: Head southwest on Piccadilly toward Duke Street St. James’s, turn left onto Duke Street St. James’s, turn right onto Jermyn St. Journey time: 2 minutes by foot.
• Arrive: Turnbull & Asser, 71-72 Jermyn Street
Ian Fleming himself shopped at world famous London shirt maker Turnbull & Asser, so it’s no surprise that Bond himself wore Turnbull & Asser – as did Sean Connery, Pierce Bronson and Daniel Craig in their turns as the iconic spy. Turnbull & Asser are also famous for creating the ‘James Bond cuff’ – a double cuff that angles to reveal two buttons underneath.
Then: Head southwest along Jermyn St towards Duke Street St. James and turn left onto St. James’s St. Journey Time: Less than one minute walking.
• Arrive: Davidoff of London, 35 St. James’s Street
Davidoff of London’s fine cigars have featured in a number of James Bond movies – including GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough. Whilst we’re sure James Bond would have shopped in this world-renowned tobacconist, it was actually Xenia Xaragevna Onatopp who fingered a Romeo y Julieta Shakespeare cigar at a casino in GoldenEye and Miss Moneypenny who binned a Romeo y Julieta Churchill in The World Is Not Enough.
Then: Head northwest on St. James’s St toward Bennett St, turn left onto Piccadilly. Journey time: 2 minutes on foot.
• Arrive: The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly
In the novel Diamonds Are Forever, James Bond stayed in a £900 per night room overlooking Green Park on the advice of jewel smuggler Tiffany Case. Diamonds Are Forever wasn’t literary Bond’s only trip to The Ritz though – 007 also stopped over in the novel The Man with the Golden Gun. It’s thought that the Bond books gave the nod to The Ritz as Ian Fleming and his wife Anne often dined in the hotel’s restaurant.
Then: Head northeast on Piccadilly toward Dover St, turn right onto Duke Street St. James’s, take the 1st right onto Jermyn St, turn left onto St James’s St, turn right onto St. James’s Place, take the 1st left to stay in St James’s Place. Journey time: 5 minutes walking.
• Arrive: Dukes Bar, 35 Saint James’s Place
Dukes Bar was one of Ian Fleming’s favourite watering holes, and legend has it he picked up a penchant for Martinis as well as the now famous “shaken not stirred” line here.
Then: Head northwest on St James’s Place, turn right onto Cleveland Row, turn left then right then left and then right again. Journey time: 8 minutes by foot.
• Arrive: Buckingham Palace
Her Majesty’s London residence, Buckingham Palace featured in Bond movie Die another Day when Bond villain Gustav Graves parachuted in front of the palace when arriving to collect his knighthood from the Queen. More recently the palace entered into another chapter of Bond history when Daniel Craig as Bond had an audience with the Queen before the pair jumped from a helicopter and into the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
Then: Head northeast toward Birdcage Walk, turn left onto Birdcage Walk, continue onto Great George St and continue onto Bridge St. Journey time: 15 minutes walking.
• Arrive: Big Ben, Bridge Street
Within sight of Big Ben you’ll find an innocent looking lamppost on the Albert embankment, which was the scene of a famous publicity shot for the Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service which starred George Lazenby as 007. Also on the Albert Embankment you’ll find MI6 – the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service where Bond is often briefed by M and obtains his gadgets from Q.
Then: Head east on Bridge St toward the Victoria Embankment, turn left onto the embankment, turn left onto Horse Guards Ave, turn right onto Whitehall Court. Journey time: 9 minutes by foot.
• End: The Royal Horseguards, Whitehall Court
Scenes from the Bond movie Octopussy were filmed at our very own Royal Horseguards hotel, which seems very fitting as Whitehall Court was historically a centre of espionage itself. In WW I and II, the 8th floor of the Royal Horseguards was used by the British Secret Service as its headquarters – and rumour has it there are secret underground tunnels that lead from the hotel to parliament.
More Bond locations to visit in London:
If you’ve got a little longer to spend following in 007′s footsteps, why not visit:
• The River Thames – site of the famous Bond Thames River chase in The World Is Not Enough.
• The O2 Arena – (formerly the Millennium Dome) where Bond lands after the boat chase (again, in The World Is Not Enough) climaxes and the villain escapes in a hot air balloon.
• Harrods – where Bond swaps a bottle of champagne in General Koskov’s hamper for “something more suitable” in The Living Daylights.
• Pinewood studios – the base of operations for most James Bond movies.
Where would you go if you were channelling James Bond in London?