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On the trail of James Bond.
London literary theme tours are all the rage, as Harry Potter followers go in search of Diagon Alley and Platform 9 ¾ and admirers of Sherlock Holmes bask in Baker Street memorabilia. But for sheer style, why not be choosy, slow down drink in hand, and hang out in one of the haunts of the world’s coolest spy, James Bond?
Both Bond and his creator Ian Fleming were globetrotting intelligence agents who returned from adventures in exotic locations to their London home, and the city is a recurring setting in the 007 novels, reports BBC Travel. Both character and author had a penchant for the finer things in life, and organized tours ( try www.silvercanetours.com) concentrate on the swanky area of Mayfair with its ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ and up-market retailers. But you can skip the Bentley and Rolls Royce showrooms and head for the hotel bar where the famous Vesper martini was ‘shaken, not stirred’ for our favourite spy.
Simply relax in the small elegant bar just off the lobby of Duke's hotel near St James's Place (www.dukeshotel.com) and one of the white-jacketed bartenders will prepare Ian Fleming's Classic Vesper at your table, mixing chilled vodka, gin, bitters, aperitif wine and citrus peel. Bond’s signature drink gets its name from the character Vesper Lynd in the novel Casino Royale, where the drink first appeared. Budding Bond girls might like to try a margarita-style Miss Moneypenny martini.
Then move on to Ian Fleming's favourite restaurant, Scott's, on Mount Street (www.scotts-restaurant.com), where, according to the author, James lunched at a corner table in order to watch the pretty girls. And if you’re in the Haymarket, the Bond Room at Planet Hollywood (planethollywoodlondon.com) contains the ultimate Bond costume: Ursula Andress's bikini from Dr. No.