From London with Love

MATT DAVIS, AUGUST 2017


I was born in 1991, which meant the Nintendo 64 James Bond: Goldeneye game was my first chance to take on the role of the best loved, classic British icon. These days, with London on our doorstep, there’s the opportunity to embrace a far less pixelated Bond persona – albeit without the laser watch. I’ve mapped out what a day in the suave spy’s day might look like for anybody living in and around London.

The O2, Greenwich As a kid growing up in Greenwich, watching Bond go skidding down the side of the O2 in The World is Not Enough was exhilarating. Here was one of my heroes just around the corner from me in a stunt that looked as dangerous as it was bold, a far cry from the school trip I’d taken there just a few weeks before. I perhaps wouldn’t recommend emulating this scene play by play – it culminates in Bond barely holding onto a piece of rigging attached to the dome in a last-ditch attempt to prevent himself plummeting to his death. That said, I was really excited when I heard about the opening of the Up at the o2 as it provided a ‘close-as-you’ll-get’ opportunity to experience the same views, scale the same heights and even do some thrill-seeking of your own.

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Aston Martin Race Track Just a short distance away from South East London is Brands Hatch race course. Now, while I can’t promise any Q (which, I recently found out, stands for Quartermaster) gadgets, machine guns or remote control function, I can promise speed, adrenaline and raw, unbridled horse power. Bond isn’t really Bond unless he is hurtling round corners and break-neck speeds, and while you won’t be chased by baddies in snowmobiles or shot at from overhead helicopters, this is your chance to follow in MI5’s greatest hero’s tyre tracks.

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Martini Bar Shaken, not stirred – you can’t really profess to have lived out a day as Bond without sampling the most famous drink order in history. You won’t be hard pressed to find a bar serving martinis, and there are a tonne of options if you’re looking for martini cocktails and a lively end to the night (Dirty Martini, anyone?) but a place called Dukes is by far the best venue for a quality martini that would have Scaramanga salivating and Pussy Galore purring. Located in St. James’ Place, you’ll also be surrounded by a host of beautiful restaurants, after all, being Bond can really work up an appetite.

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CasinosI can’t think of a more Bond-esque place to finish the day than by visiting a casino. If you’ve followed the Bond blueprint so far, you’ll find yourself in a short walk of London’s West End, where you’ll be spoilt for choice in your pick of casinos. For those of you new to the casino scene looking to try your hand at some roulette wheel or pick your way through some machines, the Grosvenor in Leicester Square is a good place to start. You can sign up for free on the door and it’s a relaxed atmosphere, drinks are not extortionate and you can easily meander your way around, without the pressure of a high-stakes evening and no particularly strict dress code.

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However, the Ritz Club in London is the place to end a night in style for those well acquainted with the glitz and glam associated with high-end casinos, this venue is just as exclusive. You will need to get in contact with them prior to gain entry as a member – unless you think you’ve embraced Bond fully enough to sneak in through the air vent system.

Image credit: lublijananna

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