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James Bond's London
I was barely a teenager when my older brother, seconded into babysitting for me, took me to see the latest James Bond movie of the day. I became hooked, not just on the handsome Sean Connery, but the worldly destinations of those films. So, from Connery to Lazenby, Moore to Dalton, then finally Brosnan to Craig, I have been steadfast in my adoration of the ultimate British hero, James Bond. But no more so than in “Skyfall” which let us gaze on not only Daniel Craig, but some of the most elegant scenery London has to offer. Most of those places you, too, can visit on your next journey to London town.
These destinations can be found by walking, taking the tube (the underground transit system), a London taxi or even a “duck,” an amphibious vehicle.
What can you see?
You might want to start with Trinity House, 10 Trinity Square, which was the quarters for the insurance company Willis Faber, but in currently being converted into a private members club and residence. You may also recognize the building from its appearances in Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Sweeney, and an old Peter Sellers comedy, Two Way Stretch.
Then onto the offices of MI6, 85 Albert Embankment, which is the actual location of the Secret Intelligence Services since 1995. Make sure you drive across the Vauxhall Bridge for a truly breath-taking view of this building. The building is not open to the public, but it is possible to stroll around the front of the building for a view across the Thames.
Next, take yourself to Greenwich, for a tour of the Old Royal Naval College, which was featured in Skyfall as well as Pirates of the Caribbean and Les Miserables. Aside from its cinematic heritage, these beautiful baroque buildings ooze British history. The site offers many free events, some of which include portrayals of famous figures such as Samuel Pepys, by actors in period dress. The college is open daily from 10 am to 5 p.m. and admission is free.
The Parliament Buildings were a major feature in Skyfall, as Bond chased the films villain Silva, are quite stroll able, on any day the film crews are not actively engaged.
The Bond view of London was filmed from atop the Department of Energy and Climate Change building, which is not open to the public.
You can, however, go underground and visit Charing Cross Station on the strand, which has served as not just a Bond location, but at Waterloo Station in the Bourne Ultimatum.
And if you want to recreate a meet up with “Q” head to the National Gallery and plant yourself in front of JMW Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, in room 34. It is doubtful if actor Ben Whishaw will appear to join you.
Do you need Bond to enjoy a sightseeing tour of London? Absolutely not, but reliving a much-enjoyed movie is a good way to enhance your tour. The best part is that most locations can be reached on foot, giving you an opportunity to really breathe in London.
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