Is this Bond Street? How to do London 007-Style

Somerset House

I duck behind a red telephone box (alas, only taking cards these days), heart racing and blood pumping in my ears. It’s so loud it almost drowns out the never-ending and unspeakably aggressive sounding Crossrail works around the corner. This is serious stuff.

I subtly look to my right, trying to gauge whether anyone leaving the Pret next door, coffees in hand , looked like my Enemy. They didn’t – unless my enemy had morphed into a skinny-jean-wearing, beard growing Hipster. The coast was clear, and so, being short of a gun, I ensured my selfie stick was in hand ready to strike should I need to defend myself, and ran to the tube station.

This my friend, is unfortunately where the Bond Dream ends. But being in London – aka the city renowned for its prominence in the books and films  of our favourite secret agent, I felt it was apt to pay an homage of sorts to the Capital’s input into the successes of 007. Whilst in no way a comprehensive guide, your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to experience London in the style of Bond, James Bond. (Start at Hyde Park Corner, end in Covent Garden).

map

  1. Walk past (but not IN, unless you have a bottomless wallet) Les Ambassadeurs Club, which is where Bond makes his first screen appearance in Dr No.
  2. See the MI6 building at Vauxhall Bridge.
  3. Have a dekko at The Old War Office Building on Whitehall which is the setting for MI6 HQ in Octopussy, License to Kill and A View to a Kill – pretty stunning.
  4. Somerset House, seen in Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies is worth a visit (and catch a free exhibition in one of their galleries whilst your at it)
  5. Sip on a Martini (shaken, not stirred, naturally). London’s Dukes Bar (St. James) is said to do the best one in the city, but if you’re after something a little cheaper, try the Vesper Martini at B@1, where Happy Hour ensures the purse is not drained.
  6. If you feel like parting with a tenner or so (a little more if not a student), The London Film Museum in Covent Garden is running an exhibition entitled ‘Bond in Motion’, the largest display of Bond vehicles ever in London.
  7. You’ll probably be quite tired by now. Have another Martini.

And that is where the Bond Dream really ends people.

Night at the Museum

dino

It’s one of those things I’ve always meant to do, but when it comes down to it, the pub on a Friday night somehow always wins against the ‘lates’ events at many of London’s museums. After a busy week, a glass of vino in the comfort of a (cheap) pub seems less effort than a trek to South Ken. and having to use my brain.

However, once I’d finally made the journey to the Westest of West London (aka the Posh Bit), had a cocktail in my hand whilst admiring various dinosaurs and scary looking beasts, I wondered why on earth I hadn’t flippin’ done it before.

London is famous for its museums and galleries: it is a city that is not short of cultural institutions waiting to be explored. The best thing is, most of them are free. Gratis. Even a cash-strapped student can broaden their horizons – no excuses. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, however, these museums are a prime spot for small children, buggies, tourists and noise. Well, what else is to be expected?

I say, postpone your trip to see the dinosaurs, the marine biology, and the various other natural artefacts you may wish to admire, absorb, and then consequently forget. Patiently wait until the last Friday of the month, then saunter to the NHM for an evening of after-dark learning and exploring, which is for the most part child-free. There is a bar waiting to be visited in the main entrance hall, and trust me, dinosaurs can only be improved by alcohol.

*details on the NHM Lates can be found on the museum’s website: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/