The Langham Hotel was the perfect place for Jules Lund to start his James Bond tour of London. The grand old hotel is stylish and sophisticated and has been hosting royalty and celebrities for almost 150 years. More recently its entrance was used in the rejuvenated James Bond franchise film GoldenEye
where it became St Petersburg's Grand Hotel.
In 1879 The Langham was the first London hotel to be lit with the newly invented electric lighting. It was also the first to install air-conditioning.
While Jules lapped up the history and luxury, the real reason for his London visit was a chauffeur-driven top-secret 007 mission. Well, actually a not-so-secret James Bond tour.
The three-hour tours run three times a day and it is an intimate and glamorous way to see the sights of the city in the comfort of a BMW 3 Series car. They start and finish at your hotel. Jules' guide, Tim Oberg, is an expat Australian with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Bond.
There have been 22 films featuring Ian Fleming's hero in the official franchise. Starting with Dr No through to Quantum of Solace they've raked in more than US$4 billion ($4.6 billion), making it the longest-running and amongst the highest-grossing film series of all time.
The films have certainly lined the pockets of the six actors who have played the part of the handsome, suave and fearless Bond. Everyone seems to have a favourite, but it's probably safe to say the crown goes to Sean Connery. Australian George Lazenby starred in the 1969 On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
You'll see where Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) operates today. The massive building cost £135 million ($234 million) to build. Then you'll visit the 18th-century building used as MI6 headquarters in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Surely one of the best boat chase scenes ever filmed was in The World Is Not Enough. Bond flew out in his speedboat and went screaming up the Thames. Real white-knuckle stuff.
Jules followed in Pierce Brosnan's footsteps in Die Another Day where Bond met M, played by Judi Dench, at an Underground station. Used as housing for Londoners when the city was under attack, the city is full of unused Underground stations and they are often used as film locations.
As well as sights from the films you will see some of the places which inspired Ian Fleming's novels. Dukes Hotel was one Fleming's favourite places and when Sean Connery landed the Bond role in 1962, he went there to celebrate with a dry martini; shaken, not stirred. Thirty-three years later, Pierce Brosnan did the same thing.
Other interesting places visited on the tour will bring back many memories.
The Hamburg car park where Bond's BMW blazed into action in Tomorrow Never Dies and the Afghan air base from The Living Daylights are actual London locations. There are dozens of other locations to see including the Bank of England, Houses of Parliament, De Beers, Sotheby's, Harrods, Lloyd's, Scotland Yard, Tower Bridge, The Old Bailey, National Gallery and The British Museum.
You'll see Park Lane's Aston Martin dealership and where Bond has his suits, shirts, shoes, hats, ties and accessories custom-made. You'll see the former homes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and the birthplace and former home of Ian Fleming, the man who started it all.
James Bond locations around London.
Celebrity Planet 007's London three-hour tours depart from Henry's Bar in Piccadilly at 10am, 2pm and 6pm every day. They include private car with driver and guide and take in film and book locations and the former homes of Ian Fleming and Sean Connery. They cost $130 for adults and $105 for children. They also run other film location tours.
Emirates has flights to London from:
- Perth $1817
- Melbourne and Adelaide $1820
- Sydney $1839
- Brisbane $1842
Fares are available to the first 100 people to book.
Prices correct at July 1, 2010.
For further information
Ph: +44 20 7193 8770
Visas: Visas are not required for Australians entering the UK for tourism for stays of less than months. If you wish to work, you must obtain the appropriate two-year visa in advance.
Electricity: 220V with a three-point plug.
Time: The UK is on Greenwich Mean Time between October and March. Between March and October it is on British Summer Time.
Currency: The British pound sterling.
International dialling code: +44.