|James Bond was played by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, which debuted in 2006.|
It’s been 50 years since Sean Connery first beguiled audiences as “Bond, James Bond” in Dr. No, and 22 movies later, the 007 franchise is the longest running in history. For the suave secret agent’s legions of fans, EON Productions, which owns the movie rights, has created two not-to-be-missed exhibitions in England celebrating all things Bond in 2012.
The largest ever display of Bond vehicles—50 of the most iconic cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, bikes, trikes, and even sleds—is on at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu as part of “Bond in Motion” until December 2012. Alongside the most famous cars, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and the 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger and the Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me, are a host of treasures dating back to From Russia With Love including the elegant Fairey Huntress Speedboat, Octopussy’s screeching Acrostar Jet and the villain Parahawk featured in The World is Not Enough. “You Only Live Twice” but this could be the one and only chance to see all these vehicles on display together. The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu is in the picturesque New Forest National Park 80 miles from London.
Coming this summer to London’s Barbican Center is “Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style,” an exhibition with a “license to thrill” curated by a team that includes Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming. Combining costumes, production design, gadgets, weapons, stunts and props, fans will enjoy a multisensory experience that aims to showcase the progression of Bond style—including the evolution of Bond’s tuxes over the last five decades designed by the likes of Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and Versace. “Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style” runs from July 6 to September 5, pre-booking tickets is strongly advised.
In addition to these special exhibits, Bond fans can see London’s 007 sights with London Duck Tours. The 75-minute land/water journey goes through locations used in the film series—such as where “Q” worked and even the shop where Bond bought his boxer shorts—and then drops into the Thames just alongside the MI6 building. Along with all sorts of Bond trivia, knowledgeable guides share facts about MI5 and MI6 and the real-life British traitors, the Cambridge Spies. Brit Movie Tours offers three-hour tours of Bond sights outside of London culminating in a stop at the “Bond in Motion” exhibit.
Surely after this much Bond, a martini “shaken, not stirred” is in order, and the only place to go is the bar which was Ian Fleming’s inspiration, the Dukes Hotel in Mayfair.