It's been a long, anticipated wait for the latest James Bond film, ‘No Time To Die’ - but now is the perfect time to celebrate the launch of the new movie as you follow an itinerary through "Bond country" in White Cliffs Country - the places in Deal, Dover and Sandwich that inspired James Bond author Ian Fleming for some of his most well-known and best-loved 007 spy stories!
Goldfinger or Moonraker?
Travelling between London and the Kent coast - as Fleming would have done - there are two road trips you can take to celebrate the 007 stories, both converging on St. Margaret’s Bay near Dover. Now you can track down and explore the locations behind famous James Bond stories and films!
The 'Moonraker' and 'Goldfinger' routes were originally developed to cover Kent, but we concentrate on White Cliffs Country and include some of the places of interest.
From St. Margaret’s go via Deal and take the A258 to Sandwich. Follow the A256 to Ramsgate harbour, then the A253 and A299 to Reculver. Then take the A2 to Faversham, Chatham and Rochester. James Bond drove from London to Sandwich in the reverse order, of course.
From London turn off the M20 at junction 8 for the A20. Follow the A252 up Charing Hill to Chilham and take the A28 to Canterbury. Then the A2 to Dover.
St. Margaret’s Bay and village
Head through the charming village of St Margaret’s at Cliffe and take the wonderful winding road (think Monaco!) down to a secluded bay, which will whisk you back to idyllic childhood holidays.
'Moonraker', written in 1955, is largely based in St Margaret's, a small fishing village near Dover that became a seaside resort, and Kingsdown, near Deal. The former Granville Hotel was the setting for Bond's and Gala Brand's recovery following an encounter with a villain in 'Moonraker', where they enjoyed fried soles and Welsh Rarebits. It is said that both Fleming and Coward frequented The Granville.
At the northern end of the beach you will spot a white house (privately owned) with green shutters. Formerly known as 'White Cliffs', this was once Fleming's weekend and holiday home during the decade in which he wrote wrote about 007. It was in this place where Fleming's friend Noel Coward - a former resident of White Cliffs and “sympathetic conspirator” to the romance of Ian Fleming and Ann (née) Charteris - allowed the couple to stay.
Watch the shipping in the English Channel as Fleming would have done and imagine the evil Drax fleeing in his submarine after the Moonraker rocket launch. Take some time to explore the bay. Places to eat include The Coastguard pub - Britain's closest pub to France! Or you can grab an ice cream and enjoy just watching the world go by.
On your way back up to the village, have a look at the delightful Pines Garden and St Margaret’s museum. The museum tells the story of St Margaret’s during World War 2 and opposite is the beautiful Pines Garden, which is organically managed with a lake, poetry path and Pines Calyx.
Known as the Gateway to England, Dover welcomes millions of visitors each year. Dover is undergoing some exciting regeneration and there are lots of things to do and see. The iconic White Cliffs of Dover are great for views and walks. Head down to the award-winning seafront, which has been redesigned and transformed by artworks that take the form of three waves washing up against the sheltered beach. At the Sustrans Dover Portrait Bench, you'll find Bond's creator himself, Ian Fleming, immortalised in a silhouette statue.
Royal Café Bench Street Dover
Walk along Bench Street to capture the mood Bond must have felt himself in when he stopped for scrambled eggs and bacon at the former Royal Café, referred to in Fleming's stories as Café Royal (Atina House is now on the site). Head towards the seafront, where you can capture that all-important Insta moment with a silhouette statue of Ian Fleming.
The Port of Dover
Follow the signs to the White Cliffs of Dover on foot, or cycle from the seafront - alternatively, you can drive. Not only will you get to take in a breath-taking view of the cliffs, you will also get a fantastic view of the Port of Dover - a location where filming took place used in the film 'Diamonds Are Forever'.
Head to Dover Castle to continue the 'Moonraker' journey - the James Bond story in which 007 drove past a ‘wonderful cardboard castle’. See for yourself if you agree with this interesting description! Although Bond didn’t venture inside, you can - explore and climb the Great Tower for fantastic view of Dover and the surrounding countryside, as you step into the past and discover the fascinating history of White Cliffs Country.
The Swingate, near Dover
Carry on past the ‘petrified Roman Candles’ of Swingate Radar Station towards Deal where you will come to The Swingate. This is the place that is said to be the location of the ‘World Without Want’ and it is the scene of a murder in ‘Moonraker’. This was Fleming's and Noel Coward's meeting point, having raced here from London before heading down to ‘White Cliffs’ in St Margaret’s.
The route heads into Deal, winner of the Telegraph’s High Street of the Year 2013 and more recently voted one of the UK’s Best Seaside Towns. The town has important maritime connections, was once a noted smugglers' haunt and is steeped in history.
The seafront is a special place and fantastic for a stroll. If you walk to the end of the 1000ft long pier, you’ll see the range of different architectural periods, in the houses that stretch in two directions. The restaurant at the end of the pier won an award for its architecture, was used as a filming location for the ITV drama 'Liar' and is a great place to stop to refuel.
If you get time, the old part of the town around the Middle Street area is unmissable with cute cottages, used by smugglers during the 18th century. You can find out more about its fascinating and notorious past by following the historic town trail. Deal is awash with lovely places to eat and drink, so happy exploring!
Just along the coast from Deal is the pretty village of Kingsdown where Fleming describes Drax’s Moonraker research establishment as being ‘located on the edge of the cliffs between Dover and Deal’. Perhaps Drax’s house was one of those in the middle of Walmer and Kingsdown Golf Course - you will find a steep cliff path like the one described at Oldstairs Bay at Kingsdown leading down from the golf course.
Wander along to the seafront where you will find a fantastic little pub called the Zetland Arms for coffee (and something to eat!), in an unrivalled spot from where you can watch ferries making the short crossing to France.
Once a bustling and prosperous port, Sandwich, one of the original Cinque Ports, is now said to be “one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Britain”.
The 'Goldfinger' novel is the one in which Bond drives an Aston Martin DB III to escape London this time. Set course for Sandwich and his encounter on the links with jeweller, goldsmith and golf cheat Auric Goldfinger.
Royal St George’s Golf Course
Royal St George’s Golf Club features in ‘Goldfinger' as Royal St Mark’s, where Bond plays that classic match with Goldfinger. Fleming himself played golf here for around thirty years, having first become a member in the 1930s - and was elected captain for the club 1964/5. See the venue where the Bond-Goldfinger clash happened, either by walking along the public footpath or immersing yourself in the experience with a round of golf.
Visit our website for further information, including places to stay, eat, drink and things to do during your visit.
Deal Historic Village Trail
Dover Historic Village Trail
Sandwich Historic Village Trail
Days Out guide