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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Licence to thrill - enjoy the ultimate Bond lifestyle in Britain


From Britain with love: to celebrate the imminent release of the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, the UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, has created a dedicated website to inspire Australians to live like Bond and recreate the ultimate 007 lifestyle of the most famous British Secret Service agent on the planet.

For your eyes only, at www.visitbritain.com.au/bond discover 007 heaven with an exclusive selection of ideas and indulgences – enabling you to get the ‘Bond look’, enjoy extreme activities - Bond-style, savour some lavish Bond experiences or prove that you’re a true Bond fanatic.

If you like to be shaken, not stirred, head to Dukes Hotel in London, for a Martini Master Class and to sip a Vesper Martini. Bond author, Ian Fleming, was a regular at Dukes and the infamous phrase was inspired by a barman there, who once served him. A Bond About Town package is currently available, which includes a Miss Moneypenny Manicure for the wannabe Bond girls! Bond cocktails – Goldfinger and Strictly Bond - are on offer at Brown’s Hotel, as part of the Ian Fleming Centenary package the hotel has devised. Grooming packages are also part of the deal – how about a Moonraker massage, or a Diamonds Are Forever facial?

Fleming’s centenary is additionally celebrated at the Imperial War Museum in London, where For Your Eyes Only, the first major exhibition devoted to his life and work, is running until March 2009. Exhibits such as Bond manuscripts and props from a number of the films are on display – the overcoat worn by Sean Connery in Dr No, Daniel Craig’s blood-stained shirt from Quantum of Solace and Halle Berry’s orange bikini from Die Another Day, amongst many other items of prized memorabilia.

Love the Bond look? How about a trip to Truefitt & Hill, the oldest barber’s shop in the world and holder of the Royal Warrant. Continue on to Floris, to pick-up the No 89 scent for men, which was mentioned in Bond books Diamonds Are Forever, Dr No and Moonraker. And finally put yourself in Bond’s shoes, literally, with a visit to Church’s English Shoemakers, favoured by Bond actors over the years and featured in several films.

If you’re ready for some action, take the ultimate James Bond adventure – a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) voyage on the River Thames and re-live the infamous boat chase from The World Is Not Enough. The exhilaration of speeding along the water at up to 35knots is sure to make you feel like you can shake off any Bond baddie! Enjoy the spectacular views of the capital’s legendary landmarks and don’t forget to look out for Bond’s office – the distinctive MI6 building.

You could always push the boat out and charter a yacht from Sunseeker, in Dorset. With its award-winning beaches and excellent restaurants and bars, Poole is known as the St Tropez of the South Coast – a befitting analogy for anyone wishing to emulate Bond’s exotic existence. If you are not feeling flush enough for a gold-fingered yachting experience, then head to Harrods for a bit of window-shopping – and admire the 1960’s Sunseeker Motor Yacht driven by Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace, which forms part of a series of James Bond window displays, in place until December 24.

Landlubbers have plenty of options too for taking-in the fast-paced world of our favourite spy. Bealieu, in the heart of the picturesque New Forest, was the headquarters of MI6 during WWII. It now houses a selection of authentic vehicles used in Bond films – the Lotus Submarine car used in The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, the Aston Martin Volante used in the 1987 film, The Living Daylights and the Jaguar XKR Roadster used in Die Another Day, in 2002, are some of the amazing, but lethal, weapons in the James Bond Experience.

Though he rarely relaxes, the perfect place for Bond to do so would be his homeland. With its wealth of offerings – from coast to countryside - it's no wonder Britain is his first choice for a bit of pampering when he's not busy saving the world. Golf is certainly enjoyed by 007 and where better to try it than in the birthplace of the sport, in Scotland. Gleneagles, St Andrew’s, or the home of the 2009 Open Championships, Turnberry, are among the finest courses around. Similarly, Celtic Manor in Wales, host to the 2010 Ryder Cup, boasts a great course.

Even secret agents need to sleep, so if you are feeling the need to lavish the luxury on yourself to ensure a good night’s rest after a long, hard day of being Bond, maybe try The Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel. This prestigious property, suitably located on Park Lane, is frequented by royalty, celebrities and quite possibly members of Her Majesty's Secret Service.

With sample itineraries featured at www.visitbritain.com.au/bond and Virgin Atlantic offering earlybird return flights to London for a mere $2050 (inc taxes)*, there’s every reason to never say never again to visiting the home of Bond!


• VisitBritain is responsible for promoting Britain as a world class tourist destination and for developing England’s visitor economy. It has representatives in 36 countries around the world and, in the last three years, has expanded into China, throughout Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and increased its presence in India with representatives in Bangalore and Mumbai.
• Provisional figures for 2007 indicate there were 32.6 million visits to Britain, -0.5% down on 2006. They spent £16.0 billion in the UK: a -0.3% decrease on 2006.
• VisitBritain’s international website, www.visitbritain.com, was awarded World’s Leading Tourism Authority Internet Site for the fourth year in a row at the 2007 World Travel Awards by more than 200,000 travel and tourism professionals. With information provided in 26 different languages, every year over 12 million visits are made by international consumers to the 46 websites that make up visitbritain.com

• VisitBritain has a website tailored to the needs of the Australian traveller at www.visitbritain.com.au and for the media at www.visitbritain.com/presscentre
• Quantum of Solace, the 22nd film in the Bond franchise, is on general release in Australia from November 19, 2008 – see www.quantumofsolace.com.au
• *Virgin Atlantic is offering economy earlybird return fares to London from $2050, inclusive of taxes and surcharges (subject to change), for flights booked by December 19, 2008. Terms and conditions apply. This $2050 price is based on travel between October 4 – November 11, 2009. For further information on Virgin Atlantic and pricing details, see www.virgin-atlantic.com

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