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Spy museums: Bond and beyond

Your mission, should you choose to accept it — check out the latest crop of spy museums, including a new attraction dedicated to 007 himself

Spy museums: Bond and beyond
Image: Kristopher Grunert

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Glamorous casinos, desert islands, iconic landmarks — Bond films unfurl before the best backdrops in the business. So you’d expect no less from a Bond museum, right? Exactly. This summer, 007 Elements opens its doors atop Gaislachkogl mountain in Sölden, Austria — a new attraction perched in the lofty location where Spectre was filmed. Almost 10,000ft above sea level, the immersive cinematic experience begins with a journey in the Gaislachkoglbahn cable-car up to the villain’s lair-like installation, carved into the rock and ice of the mountain. The multisensory museum will explore the world of 007 in sleek, dimly lit chambers with soundscapes and iconic props, such as the full-size plane from the memorable Spectre chase sequence. Shake (not stir) in some Alpine views and Ice Q, the neighbouring restaurant which also featured in the film, for a top-secret peek into Mr Bond’s covert world.

Deutsches Spionagemuseum, Berlin
Right in the middle of this once divided city, this museum sits on the site of one of the few openings in the former Wall where spectacular spy swaps took place throughout the Cold War. Delve into the history and stories of the secret service in this multimedia-rich experience.

International Spy Museum, Washington DC
Last year, a private collector donated more than 5,000 objects of espionage to this museum. Items such as a 13ft-long Second World War spy submarine will sit alongside KGB lipstick pistols, wristwatch cameras and an Enigma machine when the museum relocates to L’Enfant Plaza this autumn.

SPYSCAPE, New York

This 60,000sq ft spy museum and immersive experience made its mark on Manhattan when it opened earlier this year. Start your journey in a briefing room and work your way through themed rooms before being assigned a role, from cryptologist to spycatcher. The best bit? The Special Ops Challenge where you tackle a laser tunnel, just like in the films.

Test your mettle

Fancy yourself as a steely spy? Put your skills to the test at one of London’s escape rooms. Check out clueQuest, and join Mr Q’s spy agency for the ultimate race against time.

Published in the September 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)