007 Travel story: London (UK) 2010

LONDON from 9th to 13th of November 2010


Pirita´s and Mika´s own trip for two.
Airline: Blue1, flights Helsinki – London – Helsinki 117 € / person.
(Discounted price with flight points.)
Flight time: 3h 10 min / 2h 50 min.
Hotel:
Hotel Carlton, 90 Belgrave Road, London
296,00 £ / 4 nights, incl. breakfast. Booked via booking.com.

Pirita & Mika @ Heathrow Airport

“London calling!”

(Did you know: The song “London Calling” by The Clash can be heard when Bond arrives to London in the Pierce Brosnan movie “Die Another Day“.

During flight to London, Deborah Moore, the daughter of former James Bond actor Roger Moore makes a brief appearance in the film as an Air Hostess on the British Airways flight.

Also worth mentioning is that Pierce Brosnan’s late wife Cassandra Harris can be seen in Roger Moore’s film “For Your Eyes Only” as Countess Lisl Von Schlaf. Brosnan was with her when filming in Greece and met Bond producers, who noticed his good looks and later he became a fifth actor to play James Bond.

Sean Connery’s son Jason Connery is in a starring role as James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming in movie “Spymaker – The Secret Life of Ian Fleming“.)

Tuesday 9th of November 2010

We landed to Heathrow airport (on Bond books 007 uses often this airport when travelling, e.g. Ian Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever“). We used the National Express bus to central London, it took about 40 minutes and cost £ 5 / person. Arrived at the bus station in Victoria, where we wondered which way to start to drag the suitcases. Discovered 90 Belgrave Road, where Hotel Carlton was.

We were going to check in, young man hung out in front of the hotel. It soon became clear that he was the clerk, but was accidentally locked himself outside. He climbed inside from the open window.  Accommodation had to be paid in advance with cash. We got a key, and heard that our room was on the third floor and there was no elevator. Finally we reached room No. 212, left our luggage there. We went back out to explore the environment. The keys had to be left to reception each time leaving the hotel. Searched for a midnight snack from some little boutiques and returned to the hotel. In London was so dark that it was best to continue to explore the city next day. Shower was difficult; it was hard to find a balance with hot and cold water. Toilet and shower area was small. The room had an adapter ready but it didn’t work properly, fortunately, we had an adapter of own with us.

Wednesday 10th of November 2010

Breakfast was included in the room rate (£ 74 / night / room), and was at. 8.00.-9.00. We went downstairs to the dining area, with a few tables. Window seals were what they were, and we would have needed jackets almost. Waited for the staff, but since they were late, we had to take breakfast stuff from the dining area’s fridge. Only when the breakfast lady came on the scene, she served juice, milk and boiled water. Quite interesting was a mixture of hot water and coffee, it became so strange mix up for Pirita who normally drinks her coffee black, had to add a lot of milk and sugar, before she learned within days to find a balance. Breakfast lady was wiping her nose with her hand, and touched the toast right after, so it was good that we were able to make breads before she did. There was no cheese or meat. Yogurts instead were offered two different types. Breakfast lady also took care of cleaning hotel rooms.

We walked to Pimlico Underground station, (“MIND THE GAP!”) which was perhaps a little closer to Victoria Station. We were wondering if to use Oyster card but the subway clerk recommended day tickets, which are also valid on the bus. It cost £ 5.60 / person, (off peak). There were several Tube lines, of course, but the signs and maps were good. We went to Green Park station and walked through the park, which was a short distance from the Buckingham Palace. (Visible in the movie “Die Another Day“.)

Gustav Graves lands after parachute jump in “Die Another Day
photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

We took photos of Canada Gate.

photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

The day was sunny and we walked a lot, and the Hard Rock Cafe and the Rock Shop was conveniently next to each other.

From there, continued to Old Bond Street and New Bond Street, (Mayfair) and there was The Sotheby’s. (Roger Moore’s Octopussy” movie: the street appears when Bond comes out from Sotheby’s.)

(Did you know: In the book “Octopussy” Mr. Snowman reminds Bond to enter Sotheby’s Auction via St George Street. In the film, James Bond exits into New Bond Street. Main Auction Room also appears in the film, although it is a re-creation made in Pinewood Studios.)

James Bond exits into New Bond Street
photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

Then we walked to the Piccadilly Circus,

and went to eat to Planet Hollywood, which has the Bond Cabinet. We got permission to go there, even though it was closed. There was a lot of movie stuff e.g. from Sean Connery film “You Only Live Twice” and from Roger Moore films “A View to a Kill” and “For Your Eyes Only“.

Then we went to the Trocadero mall, where was Funland, there we would have been able to play almost any game.
Then we went to Westminster Bridge.

(Did you know: Near Westminster is the “Church’s English Shoes store“, which has acquired shoes for Bond, for example, in Pierce Brosnan movies “GoldenEye” and “Tomorrow Never Dies” (Chetwynd shoes) and “The World Is Not Enough“. (Presley’s shoes.)

From Westminster Bridge you can see e.g. Big Ben. (Visible in “Die Another Day” movie.)

Traffic was completely blocked when the students had a protest against tuition fees. Three helicopters flew above the River Thames to monitor the situation. There was some violent rioting, someone threw a fire extinguisher from the roof, it hit the police officer in the neck, etc. and the case was reported both in international media.

The bridge is nearby where one-time Bond George Lazenby has posed with pistol in his hand. (James Bond “Big Ben” photo site, shots from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service“.)

At the same end of Westminster Bridge, but on the other side of the road is also a secret entrance to Vauxhall Cross Tube station, where Bond will meet M in film “Die Another Day“.

(Did you know: When Bond enters the ”Secret passage door” he comes to abandoned Vauxhall Cross Tube station on the London Underground where he meets M, that Tube station platform is not a real one. In real life the door leads into the Underground service tunnel.)

photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

We went to London Eye. The machine is in motion all the time, also while stepping in, so you have to be careful not to fall to the River Thames. One round’s duration is approx. 30 minutes and after that one can go to see London Eye themed mini film with the same ticket.

Thursday 11th of November 2010

Outdoors it was windy and rainy. We left early in the morning to Madame Tussauds, took photos of characters,e.g. Sean Connery, Judi Dench as M and British business magnate and investor Richard Branson, who has a small cameo role in a Daniel Craig movie “Casino Royale” (2006).

Sir Sean Connery and Mika
With Dame Judi Dench
And Sir Richard Branson

In the middle of a tour came two minutes of silence, this was apparently related to British soldiers abroad. The character sections are:  A-list party, Warhol’s Women, Premiere Night, Sports Zone, A Royal Appointment, Culture and Music Mega Stars. We arrived to “Scream” horror corridor, which was dark, and live actors were hiding behind the walls and watching us from monitors, “attacked” us (especially from the left side) and scared us. “Abandon all hope all ye who enter here!” as the sign said in the beginning of the tour ….. chilling. With trembling knees we got out, but the last horror was barking dogs, but fortunately, they did not show up.

Pirita @ Sports Zone with Lewis Hamilton

From there, directly to the “London taxi” ride, name of the tour is the “Spirit of London”, it takes you through the history of England. In the end of the round automatically takes a picture of you, which can be purchased. The combination package can also contain a magnet and a key chain. We took the whole set. Finally we went to a 4D movie. Its story happened in Buckingham Palace. Story was about starred The Action Superheroes. Benches shook, water splashed, and you could feel wind in the neck, but biggest surprise was… wait… we don’t tell you. Experience by yourselves! 🙂

After that we went to seek Marylebone Campana restaurant, (in John Gardner’s book “For Special Services” 007 had a dinner there) but it is now known as Strada. Good pizza and red wine.

“After dining at a small Italian restaurant – the Campana in Marylebone High Street – the couple had gone back to Q´ute´s apartment where they made love with a disturbing wildness, as though time was running out for both of them.”

John Gardner: “For Special Services”

Then we went to hang out to Oxford Street, and we discovered by chance the Disney Store, and bought wonderful stuff to our children. Then we went to the British Museum, which was probably the almost only place with free entry. It was almost a closing time. It is a huge place, and we had time only to see America’s treasures, and something more.

Marble statue of Hercules @ British Museum

Friday 12th of November 2010

We were not in the mood for hotel breakfast and we went back to Victoria Station, which is within walking distance of Regency Cafe (Daniel Craig movie “Layer Cake“.) Breakfast included coffee, a couple of toasts, sausages, fried eggs, baked beans and bacon. When doses were ready, a normal-looking and small woman yelled about it with a very masculine voice. In fact, her voice could still be heard after we left the place. The breakfast was satisfying, cost £ 5.50.

We left with full stomachs towards the Thames, where we took photos and crossed the Vauxhall Bridge (“The World Is Not Enough“, “Skyfall“.)

Vauxhall Bridge

photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

The Headquarters of MI6 is an actual place and it is not allowed to visit.

M sees an explosion of Secret Service Headquarters (“Skyfall”)
photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

Then we went to St. Pancras station, took photo of the track 5, where some scenes of “GoldenEye” movie has been filmed. Track 4 can be seen in one Harry Potter movie. (In London there was Harry Potter movie premiere on the 12th of November 2010.)

Then we hang around in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, where the Peter Pan statue and the Diana Memorial Walk are located. There you can find Diana Memorial Fountain, Diana Memorial Playground and 90 Memorial Walk markers. Hyde Park had just begun to build the Winter Wonderland. It would have been great to see the place ready.

Peter Pan statue
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk marker

The next place to visit was the Cathedral of St Sophia (Bayswater), which can be seen in the movie “GoldenEye“. The cathedral was closed but we took pictures from the outside, and examined Moscow Road and the environment.

Cathedral of St Sophia @ Moscow Road

We also travelled by two-storey buses, but because of the rush-hour traffic, walking was much faster way to travel. To Knightsbridge, we however, went by the Underground, visited Harrods and bought some souvenirs. Harrods is such a huge building where taking photos is not allowed. We wrote on memorial book of Diana and Dodi.

(Did you know: Harrods is mentioned in the Timothy Dalton film “The Living Daylights“.
Bond buys gourmet food from Harrods to General Georgi Koskov, who is at the Blayden Safe House. Picnic basket contains Bollinger RD Champagne, Caviar and Foie gras. The contents mentioned are pretty much the same as what James Bond has in his suitcase at the Shrublands Health Clinic in the Sean Connery film “Never Say Never Again“.)

The highlight of this day was a luxury afternoon tea at The Ritz located in Piccadilly. The Ritz (on Ian Fleming books “Diamonds Are Forever” and “The Man with the Golden Gun“) is a luxurious hotel and restaurant, where everything is fancy. (Afternoon tea price was £ 40 / person.) Waiters steered us to the table. Tea menu was extensive, two teapots, one for each as well as a 3-storey trey full of finest pastries and sandwiches. The more we ate, the more they brought to us. Toilets did not have any of the usual hand-drying system, but each had one’s own small towel, which was collected to the laundry basket after use.

According to book “The Man with the Golden Gun” Bond exists from the Arlington Street side of the hotel.
We visited also Fortnum & Mason, where are many different types of teas and marmalades. On many Bond books, Bond’s old housekeeper May buys food and other supplies from Fortnum and Mason.

(Did you know: On Ian Fleming’s book “From Russia, With Love” Bond garnishes his breakfast toast with “Tiptree” ‘Little Scarlet’ strawberry jam; Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum’s.)
3D view at Fortnum & Mason’s window
Saturday 13th of November 2010

After breakfast we packed our luggage, and left the hotel. The checkout was not needed, since payment was carried out in advance. Dragged suitcases to Victoria Station’s storage, then we went to some internet cafe in order to arrange our flight back to Helsinki. Then we ​​went to a shopping mall, and ate at Garfunkel’s. Then we discovered Elisabeth Street, where was a lovely pink building with a wedding cake store.
Elisabeth Street
We picked up our luggage and went by bus to the Heathrow airport. There we enjoyed drinks at the restaurant called Bridge. We landed 20 minutes ahead of time in Finland. Such a great trip!

VIDEO:




See the list of 007 LOCATIONS (visited), excluding 007 HOTELS (visited) and
007 RESTAURANTS (visited), which have sections of their own, please follow the links.

Souvenirs:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *