St James's and The Mall, London
St James's Park is a pretty royal park nestled between Birdcage Walk and the Mall. It is London's oldest royal park and is situated between Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade so you can walk through it to get from one of these landmarks to the other.
The park is home to a lake with two islands which attract lots of birdlife. Indeed, there is supposed to be a colony of pelicans in the park, but they were nowhere to be seen when I visited. Even in February during my visit, the park is kept beautifully with some very colourful flowerbeds. There is a great view of the London Eye and Horse Guards Parade visible from beside St James's Park Lake.
Ducks, Geese, Pigeons... birds... I even saw a Heron chasing a craven Seagull in a slow soar and dive. The Seagull had the Heron's chick in its beak. The chase ended when a crow, possibly thinking it might somehow share the meal, attacked the parent not the baby snatcher.
It was perhaps a throwback to earlier times in St James's Park, where less prosaic animals were kept inside its boundaries. Gone are the camels, elephants of crocodiles of King James I. Gone too are the debauched creatures of John Wilmot's ramble through the park in 1672.
"And nightly now beneath their shade
Are buggeries, rapes, and incests made.
Unto this all-sin-sheltering grove
Whores of the bulk and the alcove,
Great ladies, chambermaids, and drudges,
The ragpicker, and heiress trudges.
Carmen, divines, great lords, and tailors,
Prentices, poets, pimps, and jailers,
Footmen, fine fops do here arrive,
And here promiscuously they swive."
Today it's filled with families feeding the ducks and enjoying the algae strewn waters of the lake, stretching as it does from the political power of Downing Street to the imperial power of Buckingham Palace.
St James' Palace is one of London's oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St James's Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK. For this reason it gives its name to the Royal Court . It is the ceremonial gathering place of the Accession Council, which proclaims a new sovereign.
St. James’s Palace was built by Henry VIII in the 1530s and was home to several famous sovereigns: Elizabeth I, Charles I and George I, II and III. The palace was rebuilt soon after but never recovered its former glory, and Queen Victoria formalised the move in 1837.
So, whilst Buckingham Palace remains the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen, St. James’s Palace retains the formal rooms for receptions, weddings and occasions of State.
You can watch my 3 min 48 sec Video London walk part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
St James´s Park is the oldest Royal Park in London and is surrounded with beautiful buildings and palaces; Buckingham Palace, St James´s Palace and Clarence House, Westminster, the Horseguards, the Old Admiralty buildings, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices and the Cabinet War Rooms. The Clarence House is the official residence of Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince William and Prince Harry.
History of the park: In 1531 King Henry VIII acquired the park and in 1603 King James I introduced wild animals (menagerie) to the park. In 1660 King Charles II changed the park into a Frency style park. In 1663 the Horsequards was constructed and in 1703 Buckingham house was built by the park, and has served as the Royal Residence of the Monarchs since 1837. In 1827 King George IV reconstructed the park to what it looks like today. In 1905 the Queen Victoria Memorial Garden by the palace was created.
There is a lovely lake, St James´s park lake, with fountains at the park with myriad of birds - I saw pelecans and black swans on the lake. The pelecans have been in the park since 1667 when exotic birds were brought to the park. There is a small island in the lake, Duck Island, a nature reserve for the birds at the park. There is such a cute little cottage, built in 1841, on Duck Island, which served as the home for the bird-keeper. It now houses offices.
There is a fantastic view of Whitehall from the Blue bridge. Some of the buildings there join together at this point and look like a big castle with a lot of pinnacles. It is a great photo opportunity.
There is a restaurant at the park called Inn the Park restaurant (a play on words).
The park is open daily from 5:00 until midnight.
Here is a map of St James´s Park.
The Guards Division Memorial is a monument dedicated to those British soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. It was designed by Gilbert Ledward in the 1920s and is similar to many other memorials that were erected for the fallen in WWI, at least within the Commonwealth countries. The memorial has a line of soldiers, realist sculptures that are intended to provoke reflection on the human toll of the hostilities and of warfare in general. Wreaths are often laid here in commemoration of the fallen.
Normally, birds would not elicit such a “must-see” billing. Nevertheless, birds have a special history of their own in St. James Park, one connected with royalty. While the ducks and other native birds were undoubtedly brought to the park to enhance its Englishness, the colony of Pelicans here was gifted by the Russian Ambassador in 1664 to the King of England. They remain in the park to this day, a tribute to the tradition of gifting exotic and unusual animals. The more mundane ducks that have also colonized the park have given their name to the small island amid the artificial lake, which is currently called Duck Island.
Every city needs a large green space in its core, and London seems to have these in spades. Nevertheless, St. James Park seems to occupy a special place, as it is in the heart of British pomp and power. Bounded by the Mall, Buckingham Palace, the FCO headquarters and the Ministry of Defense, among other institutions, the Park can only be seen as a spot of tranquility and calm among hordes of frantic and pressured civil servants. The Park has had royal patronage since its purchase by Henry VIII in the 16th century, although it was not always intended to be such an idyllic green spot. Under Henry VIII, it was drained and used as a place for exotic animal. This was followed by a plan to create a French-style garden with a canal, which was followed by its usage as pasture in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the early 19th century, the Park took its current form, with the canal replaced by a more naturally looking lake, and landscaping that reflected more the British ideal of a pastoral setting, rather than the French, high-managed concept of royal gardens. Today, the Park is open to the public and is a popular spot for both ambling locals and curious tourists, drawn undoubtedly by its greenery and by its quaint cottage on Duck Island.
The Mall is one of those monumental stomping grounds that are so common in capitals of former Empires. While military parades may be few and largely ceremonial these days, the Mall is nevertheless still an impressive part of London, and a site that cannot fail to evoke the grandeur that once was associated with the Royal House and with the seat of government and the state. The Mall creates a large open space in central London that contrasts with the otherwise dense and frenetic core, a place in which the usual energies of the capital give way to the stately pace of tradition and formality. Bounded by Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, the Admiralty Arch and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Mall was a 20th century creation meant to keep up with the Joneses – in this case, other imperial capitals. Although it is unlikely that visitors will find the Mall packed with anything other than tourists most days of the year, it still comes alive with official events and celebrations.
This is the oldest of the Royal Parks (23 hectares) which is by the Mall and was named after a leper hospital dedicated to James the Less who is mentioned in the New Testament. The park has contains St. James's Park Lake with two islands, Duck and West with a resident colony of pelicans which were given by the Russian ambassador 4 centuries ago. It was originally marshland when purchased by Henry VIII but James I drained it some years later. In the park there is a simple restaurant, snack bar and deck chairs, but don't sit on one as you will be charged for this. Stroll around and see the flora and fauna.
You can also see a giant crown by the lake that was installed for the jubilee, which for me is a giant eyesore.
St. James Park is a green oasis in a busy city.
Its a very nice area, no wonder there were quite a few people here!
We were in need of a rest and found the park which happens to be the oldest Royal Park in London, and is surrounded by the Houses of Parliament, St James's Palace and Buckingham Palace.
It has quite a history, starting from the 13th century when a Leper Hospital was located here, hence this is what the Park is named after. In 1532 Henry VIII made it a deer park and built St James Palace, while Elizabeth I held pageant's and fetes of all kinds in the park.
We found a bench, of which there are plenty, sat and rested, people & Squirrel watched, then I went for a walk admiring the well kept colourful gardens. We didn't need a drink as we had our water, but if you do, you can buy a cup coffee, ice cream, snacks or freshly made sandwiches.
Now in the park, is a floral Crown, situated on the north side of the lake, just past West Island. It was made to commemorate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The crown is a floral replica of the St Edward's Crown that was used in the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation ceremony on 2 June 1953.
THE PARK IS OPEN FROM.....
9am-8pm in the summer, 10am-4pm in the winter
The Mall is the main road running from Buckingham Palace to Admirality Arch and on to Trafalgar Square and is approximately 1km in length. The Mall is used for the ceremonial route for State Visits and Royal Events and is decorated with flags. The Mall is closed to traffic on Sundays, Bank Holidays and State Ceremonies.
On the route there are:
St James's Park (Done a separate tip)
St James's Palace
Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace
Duke of York Monument
King George & Queen Mother's Tribute Monuments
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Horse Guards Parade
The White Cube professes to be the first new building for 40 years to be built in the posh St James area of London! It opened in 2006. It is certainly very striking ...and quite unexpected! In the middle of the Yard amongst the brick buildings is effectively an enormous, modern, white rectangular box! It contains two very large galleries and, I think, offices on the upper floors.
The White Cube Gallery is run by art collector Jay Jopling and generally has exhibitions of art by very well respected British and international artists. There are nowadays a number of White Cube Art Galleries in London, all trying to conform to the archytypal image of the modern white walled, neutral gallery. The other site, in Hoxton, is equally good but not so easy to reach.
Open 10am – 6pm. Closed Mondays.
If the exhibition in Mason's Yard doesn't take your fancy, there are more private art galleries than you can shake a stick at, in the surrounding streets. And of course not forgetting the Royal Academy in nearby Piccadilly.
St James’s Park is definitely one of my favourite spots in the city. All the London parks provide a welcome green oasis but for me this one has the edge. Perhaps it’s the lovely lake with so many beautiful water birds, or maybe the great views to be had from its bridge. Stand there for a while and look towards Whitehall – the domes and copulas will make you think you are somewhere far more exotic than London! Then turn to look the other way and you’ll see one of the city’s most famous buildings, Buckingham Palace, which in my opinion looks much better from this distance than close up!
This is also a great park for picnics, and for people watching. So linger a while on the benches – or why not follow a great London parks’ tradition and hire a deck-chair? And if you’re looking for refreshments, the park has an excellent restaurant (by reputation – I haven’t been – yet!) and several snack kiosks.
This is the oldest Royal Park in London, surrounded by three palaces: Westminster, the oldest and now the Houses of Parliament, St James's and of course Buckingham Palace. The Park was once a marshy meadow. In 1532 Henry VIII acquired it as a deer park and built the Palace of St James's. The park was redesigned in Charles II’s time, with avenues of trees planted and lawns laid. The King opened the park to the public and was a frequent visitor, feeding the ducks and mingling with his subjects. Later Horse Guards Parade was created by filling in one end of the canal and was used first as a mustering ground and later for parades. The Park changed again when John Nash redesigned it in a more romantic style. The canal was transformed into a natural-looking lake, and in 1837 the Ornithological Society of London presented some birds and had a cottage built for a bird-keeper. You can still see the cottage on the eastern side of the lake, near Horse Guards Parade, and apparently the position of bird-keeper remains to this day too :) Oh, and the famous resident pelicans are fed every day at 2:30pm
St James's Park is located in the heart of London, covering an area around 23 hectares in size. The park is a lovely leafy place, with a pretty lake which is home to plenty of geese and ducks. In the middle of the lake you can see Duck Island and West Island, where the numerous species of waterfowl nest.
The park is bordered by three royal palaces - St James's Palace, Westminster (the Houses of Parliament) and the most famous of all, Buckingham Palace. Running through the park is the Mall, the street where many royal ceremonial parades are held.
There is a very nice café/restaurant in the park called Inn the Park, which is a great place for a snack or full meal. There are also some refreshment stands around the park.
From April to September deck chairs are available during daylight hours so you can relax and watch the squirrels play - but be warned, some of them are a little too friendly!
It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon when I came for a walk in St James Park. It was coming to the end of Sep and yet the weather was a warm 25 dec C. The park covers 23 hectares of land with a lake that attracts ducks & other migrating birds. Buckingham Palace and The Mall are just a short walk away
It costs nothing to enter here, and you can bring your pets provided you pick up after them. It's not nice to have to step into doggie poo. There are some refreshment stalls where you can buy food, drinks & ice cream in the park. You can rent a sun deck or lie on the grass and enjoy the day