The latest Bond book hits the shelves today and if you want to live your life like Britain’s super spy, we’ve teamed up with the national tourist board to bring you England’s best James Bond breaks.
Solo, written by William Boyd, sees 007 venture over three continents – Europe, Africa and North America – but you don’t have to go that far afield, there are plenty of places in Blighty where you can get a Bond fix:
Bond in Motion
Beaulieu National Motor Museum
View an exhibition of 50 iconic James Bond vehicles – the largest of its kind in the world – at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Extended until January 5 2014 due to popular demand, Bond in Motion features a range of vehicles that have appeared in Bond films over the years. Vehicles include Goldfinger performers, 964 Aston Martin DB5 and the 1937 Phantom lll Rolls-Royce, the Lotus Esprit S1 nicknamed ‘Wet Nellie’ from The Spy Who Loved Me, the Bede Acrostar jet flown in Octopussy, and the original Parahawk (powered parachute) which starred in The World Is Not Enough.
Admission costs £17 adults, £10.50 children.
RIB Bond Experience
If you want to be shaken and stirred, try a thrill ride on a speed boat down the Thames on the London RIB Bond Experience. Power straight through the heart of the capital along the world’s most famous river while strapped into a twin engine 245hp speedboat. Trained guides reveal fascinating facts and anecdotes about MI5 and MI6 as you speed by the real-life HQ of the British Secret Service. There’ll be just enough time to catch your breath after roaring down to the O2 Arena before weaving your way back to a soundtrack of classic Bond music.
Tickets cost £36 adults, £22 children
How well do you think you’d do on Her Majesty’s Secret Service? You can have a taste of the spy life yourself at the New Spy HQ in Milton Keynes. Courses of various lengths for various ages include learning how to use hidden camera and bugging equipment, how to protect a VIP, un-armed combat, axe throwing, how to use a pistol, fire machine guns and sniper rifles and taking part in all out laser tag games. Available for families, groups and corporate events.
Prices are dependent on activities and numbers
Royal Navy Museum
For a more sedate look at Bond, head to the Royal Navy Museum in Plymouth. Bond’s creator, Sir Ian Flemming, was a British Naval Intelligence Officer himself. You can gain insight into his life and into the fascinating history of the Royal Navy at the largest naval base in Western Europe.
Dukes Hotel, London
Tucked away behind the grand Georgian facades of Mayfair lies the small but perfectly formed Dukes Hotel – Bond’s ‘spiritual home’. It’s a truly English affair with the equally small but charming Dukes Bar, world renowned for its martinis and cocktails. This was Ian Fleming’s martini bar of choice, making it the best place to learn how to make martinis that James Bond would be proud to drink.
Barman Alessandro Palazzi is a cocktail connoisseur and will teach you how to make the perfect martini, along with other classic tipples, while filling you in on the story behind each cocktail. After you’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to mix your own martini – shaken not stirred of course.