While London is well known as an epicenter of business and a center for art and international culture, it’s equally renowned as a principal character in one of the most successful film series in cinematic history. James Bond, known around the world as 007, has starred in 23 different films, has been embodied by 7 different actors, and has earned $13.8 billion in box office revenues, according to 007James.com.
2013’s “Skyfall,” winner of the 2013 BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, brought Daniel Craig’s Bond back into the spotlight, ensuring that another generation will be able to enjoy the playboy exploits of the world’s greatest spy. The new film has also been a huge driver of the 30 million people the London Plan estimates visit the city and stay in her best hotels annually. As a living part of many of Bond’s greatest adventures, much of London gives tourists a chance to reenact their favorite scenes and, just for a moment, feel like they, too, could be 007.
The Old MI6 Building in Westminster
Located in Westminster, just a short tube ride from London’s best hotels in Camden Town, is the Old War Office Building. This classic building, seemingly carved from stone, served as the headquarters of MI6. Fans know that MI6 is the name given to the British intelligence service that Bond works for. According to The Telegraph, this location was used in “Octopussy,””License to Kill,” and “A View to a Kill” before being retired.
The New MI6 Building in Lambeth
As a new generation of Bond dawned, the producers rightly felt 007 needed a more fitting home. From “Goldeneye” onward, that headquarters became the SIS Building, located in Lambeth near Vauxhall bridge. Most famously, perhaps, the SIS Building was bombed in “Skyfall” by Silva, the film’s antagonist. As the actual home of the UK’s Special Intelligence Service, according to Business Insider, tourists aren’t allowed too deep into this building. However, taking the Northern and Victoria lines from your hotel rooms in Camden Town, you can easily get to Vauxhall bridge and capture a stunning image of MI6 for yourself.
Westminster’s Reform Club
As MI6-HQ.com points out, one of Bond’s favorite London hangouts is “Blades,” a fictional fencing club in the heart of London Town. On film, the athletic club is represented by the real-life Reform Club, a location known for hosting political groups. Head to Pall Mall to catch a glimpse of 007’s favorite fencing hall.
The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square
The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square, home to an impressive collection of works by Van Gogh, Monet, and others, made a memorable appearance in “Skyfall.” After 007 is cleared for active duty, a younger version of Q than we’ve ever seen before shows up to outfit Bond with his new weapon and a miniaturized radio. If you’ve made hotel reservations at the best hotels in Camden, hop on the Northern line to Charing Cross, located only a short walk from the museum.
If you’re a fan of James Bond, focus your hotel search on Camden Town and the other boroughs that give easy access to these famous filming locations. Doing so, you can feel like Connery, Craig, and all the rest, if only for a fleeting moment. More can be found here.