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Doing London, 007 style

Europe

London - Even James Bond has a home. Like most agents of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he has a life after-hours of dirty washing, grocery shopping and paying bills, just like the rest of us.

This banal side of 007’s character is seldom seen. Over the course of 24 films, his private apartment has been shown just three times - most recently in the latest movie Spectre (2015).

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The exact address of Bond’s private abode is 1 Stanley Gardens, Notting Hill, on the first floor. It’s a grand old building with bay windows and a wrought-iron balustrade on a huge balcony.

From the street, the eager tourist can tell the interior is decorated in white with a hint of beige.

But you don't get to peer inside James Bond’s living room - although those who have seen the film will know that there’s not all that much to see. It’s rather spartan, even by bachelor-pad standards.

Bond probably feels more at home at the office, the headquarters of the British foreign espionage agency MI6, of which the proper title is the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

Right now he is homeless, after his arch-enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, blew up MI6 in the last film.

 

 

However, an actual visit to Vauxhall Bridge on the River Thames will reassure you that this was all just a bad dream. MI6 headquarters is still standing - imposing and unscathed.

Since the building no longer exists in James Bond’s separate world, it remains to be seen where he will settle down next.

In Spectre, the other spy agency MI5 was located in a new glass tower on the other side of the Thames - but this was all just computer-generated fantasy, so don't bother trying to find it.

Bond, played by Daniel Craig, withdraws in Spectre with his companions to an underground bunker, which can be accessed by boat via a tunnel.

You can find the entrance too, but it is not on the Thames near MI6 headquarters, but far away in north London’s Camden Lock - right in the middle of tourist hotspot Camden Market with its host of hip stores.

Later, M, Q and Miss Moneypenny meet furtively in a restaurant. Not just any restaurant. It is the oldest in the city - Rules Restaurant at 34-35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, founded by Thomas Rule in 1798.

 

 

For as long as anyone can remember, the restaurant has served exceedingly British dishes like grouse, pies and pudding.

You can also share an enriching cultural experience with Bond.

After failing a fitness test in Skyfall, the frustrated agent sits beside Q in the National Gallery, in front of Turner’s famous painting The Fighting Temeraire - a symbol of England's transition to the industrial age.

Q alludes to Bond’s situation as he says, “Always makes me a little melancholy. Grand old warship being ignominiously hauled away for scrap. The inevitability of time, don’t you think? What do you see?”

 

 

A photo posted by Sera H. Jung (@toujourspurrr) on

 

To which Bond responds, “A bloody big ship.”

Everyone sees something different in the painting.

You should definitely also take the time to sit on the bench in Room 34 and let Q ask you, “What do you see?”

Entry is free.

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