Saturday, 11 July 2015

007 Travel story: London (ENGLAND) 2014, day 1/3

Royal Garden Hotel
Tuesday 14 October 2014

Back to London, England again. This time our airline was Norwegian and we had to change the plane in Norway's capital city Oslo. 

Airline: Norwegian
Flight routes: Helsinki-Oslo (1h 30 min), 
Oslo-London (2h 20min), 
London-Helsinki (2h 45min)
Price: 850,08 EUR / 3 persons (2 adults, 1 child)

Norwegian's airplane landed at Gatwick airport and from there we took a bus towards central London. And last kilometers we traveled by taxi and finally reached our destination, which was 5 star luxury Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.

Hotel: Royal Garden Hotel London
Address: 2-24 Kensington High Street, London, W8 4PT
Wi-Fi: Free
Room type: King room for 2 adults and 1 child (with additional bed)
Check in: 14.00
Check out: 12.00

Royal Garden Hotel has a Bond connection since Roger Moore's wedding ceremony was held there in 1969. Hotel staff welcomed us to hotel and showed our room number 1015.

See our hotel introduction here and read more about Roger Moore´s wedding!

We didn't have time to waste, so we started to walk towards first filming location. However, on the way there was Bombay Brasserie, where Sir Sean Connery has often enjoyed Chicken Masala.

"At 31 years young, Bombay Brasserie seems to have the secret of eternal youth. (Is it the curcumin in the curry?) And since its birthday celebrations last year, a whole new generation has discovered BB, where Sir Sean Connery used to come in for a chicken masala and Tom Cruise still gets takeaways, most recently when filming "All You Need is Kill"." (Tatler Restaurant Guide 2013).
(NOTE: "All You Need Is Kill" was retitled as "Edge of Tomorrow" (2014) before its release) 

Mika / 007 Travelers

We also needed some food and since Bombay Brasserie was not yet open, we had to find another place, and we did: Nice Italian Olives restaurant. We had tasteful lasagne there!

Olives restaurant

After late lunch we took a metro and after a short walk we found Brompton Cemetery. This was a filming location of "GoldenEye" (1995), when Natalia Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) goes to meet Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming). In the film the church is called Our Lady of Smolensk and it is located in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Brompton Cemetery

Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

But in reality the church is in London, exteriors were filmed in Brompton Cemetery...

Pirita / 007 Travelers

...but as soon as Natalia enters the church, filming location changes into Cathedral of St Sophia in Moscow Road, Bayswater. There we visited during one of our earlier London trips. See some pictures of the cathedral here.

Brompton Cemetery is located near Earl's Court in West London, England (postal districts SW5 and SW10), in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is managed by The Royal Parks, and is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries. Established by Act of Parliament, it opened in 1840 and was originally known as the West of London and Westminster Cemetery.

See more info here (Wikipedia)

A cat at Hilary Close private road near Brompton cemetery

Then back to metro and we traveled to Sloane Square and saw Royal Court Theatre and also visited outside of Saatchi Gallery, which is one of Pierce Brosnan's favorite places in London.
"I love to attend theatre at the Royal Court, visit the Saatchi Gallery, there a number of stylish restaurants in the area, and some excellent shopping on King’s Road and Sloane Street." (Pierce Brosnan for Hackett Q&A in RTÉ Fashion).

James Bond has also visited in the same in a Bond book.

"He was not even disturbed by a curious portent he encountered while he was driving along King's Road into Sloane Square with half his mind on the traffic and the other half exploring the evening ahead.
It was a few minutes to six and there was thunder about. The sky threatened and it had become suddenly dark. Across the square from him, high up in the air, a bold electric sign started to flash on and off. The fading light-waves had caused the cathode tube to start the mechanism which would keep the sign flashing through the dark hours until, around six in the morning, the early light of the day would again sensitize the tube and cause the circuit to close.
Startled at the great crimson words, Bond pulled in to the curb, got out of the car and crossed to the other side of the street to get better view of the big skysign.
Ah! That was it. Some of the letters had been hidden by a neighbouring building. It was only one of those Shell advertisements. 'SUMMER SHELL IS HERE' was what it said.
Bond smiled to himself and walked back to his car and drove on.
When he had first seen the sign, half-hidden by the building, great crimson letters across the evening sky had flashed a different message.

Ian Fleming: "Moonraker" (1955)

In Gary Giblin's excellent filming location book "James Bond's London" Giblin writes: 
"Unfortunately, the author doesn't specify the precise location of the sign. Presumably, it would have been mounted on one of the buildings behind, and therefore partially obstructed by, the Royal Court Theatre, then newly rebuilt, and/or the tube station."

Royal Court Theatre

The Saatchi Gallery which Pierce Brosnan likes

Guardians sculptures by Xavier Mascaró

Soon after this we found James Bond's home. In John Pearson's book "James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007" (1973), the author mentions exact address of 007's home: Wellington Square 30, and here it is! Is it even so that James is at home right now...? Well, we didn't want to disturb him and didn't ring his doorbell :)

"It had been for some years when he had lived in an apartment along Lincoln Street that Fleming had found for him, but he felt cozy in London and could not even think to settle down in another part of the city. The apartment address was Wellington Square 30. It had two floors, and his first thought was that it was too big for him."
John Pearson: "James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007"

When we walked back, we ate desserts in Mess Gallery and then headed to our hotel. We visited also hotel´s Min Jiang bar with a view on the top floor and drank a beer and a soft drink. After this it was time to wrap the first day and go to bed. Always nice to be in London!

Next day we will visit for instance awesome Bond in Motion exhibition. Read day two here

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