Five of London’s best James Bond-themed experiences

Has the release of the latest Bond film, No Time To Die, left you wanting more secret agent action? Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a glimpse into the glamourous world of international espionage on a 007-themed experience in the capital.

By Sacha Scoging
Published 10 Nov 2021, 15:00 GMT
We've been expecting you, Mr Bond. Actor Daniel Craig plays the role of James Bond for ...

Actor Daniel Craig plays the role of James Bond for the fifth and final time in the latest release of No Time To Die. 

Photograph by Alamy

The wait is over — Bond is back. Almost two years after its scheduled release date, the 25th film in the franchise, No Time To Die, has hit cinemas and is the final outing for actor Daniel Craig — the darkest and most brooding 007 to date. Having accrued a staggering 75,643 miles over four films, Craig’s Bond is the most well-travelled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow in his footsteps. In London, fans can master his stylish self-defence skills, soar through the skies or speed down the River Thames in glorious simulation of 007’s hair-raising adventures. Here are five of the best experiences.

1. Become a spy for the day

Whether it’s the footsteps of Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery or Roger Moore you’d like to trace, the immersive Bond for a Day by Imagine Experiences has you covered (commiserations to fans of George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton). The day begins with a sumptuous breakfast at the Civil Service Club in Whitehall, where you receive your mission briefing, before being whisked away on a chauffeured espionage tour. Visit filming locations around Mayfair and the Floris London perfumery in Piccadilly to learn about the scent Bond is said to wear — all while picking up countersurveillance tips and learning about Bond’s creator, the author Ian Fleming. The action-packed adventure ends at the Conrad St James Hotel, one of Fleming’s favourite bars, with a well-deserved vesper martini — shaken, not stirred. Obviously.

The cocktails and martinis at the Distillery remain a secret until you arrive. Each cocktail is paired with a dish and you’ll be talked through the inspiration behind every delicious course.

Photograph by Getty Images

2. Dine at the Distillery

On screen, Bond averages a drink every 10 minutes and 53 seconds. Nobody’s advising anyone should compete, but at The Distillery's James Bond-themed affair the drinks come pouring in, in a nod to Britain’s insatiable secret agent. Settle into its suave surroundings on Portobello Road with a vodka martini as you learn about the flamboyant lives of both Bond and Fleming before enjoying a five-course feast, featuring dishes from the films, each accompanied by martinis, Champagne or bourbon.

The free 007-themed installation at Burlington Arcade, Mayfair, features Bond brands, a mirrored gun-barrel entrance and a Bollinger Champagne Bar.

Photograph by Getty Images

3. Visit a pop-up installation

Bond brands, a mirrored gun-barrel entrance and a Bollinger Champagne Bar — who wouldn’t interrupt a spot of shopping with a visit to the new 007 installation in Burlington Arcade, Mayfair? Set to run until 7 November, the space includes a pop-up Bond House, created by the Swiss watch brand Omega, where you can peruse an exclusive display of Bond memorabilia, behind-the-scenes photography of the latest film and Omega watches worn by all Bonds since Goldeneye. The best part? Entry to the installation is free.

The Thames RIB Experience’s Ultimate Spy Experience blares Bond tunes out as you speed past MI6, Westminster Bridge and the O2 Arena.

Photograph by Alamy

4. Cruise by MI6 and soar through the skies

Whether in the air, on land or sea, few on-screen daredevils could rival the thrilling escapades of Bond. And the River Thames seems to be a recurring playground — from Pierce Brosnan’s boat chase in The World is Not Enough to Daniel Craig’s equally thrilling Spectre river scene. Thankfully, a variety of companies in the capital now offer adrenaline-fuelled jet-boat tours down the Thames, allowing you to channel your inner secret agent. The Thames RIB Experience’s Ultimate Spy Experience blares Bond tunes out as you speed past MI6, Westminster Bridge and the O2 Arena, while the Thamesjet Bond Package ties in a 10-minute helicopter ride, offering spectacular aerial views of London’s most iconic Bond landmarks.

The opening scene of the latest Bond Film, No Time To Die, is filmed in the picturesque hilltop town of Matera in southern Italy. 

Photograph by Alamy

5. Escape a secret base

ClueQuest, in King’s Cross, offers multiple escape rooms to help you put your spy skills to the test. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to assist Mr Q in preventing Professor BlackSheep’s masterplan from succeeding in a live game of logic and strategy. As is the case with most escape rooms, Operation BlackSheep involves working against the clock, with 60 minutes to crack codes, solve clues and unlock padlocks to earn your way to freedom.­­­ Will time run out, or will you live to see another day?

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