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!
The name ‘Mall’ – and nearby Pall Mall – come from the French game Palle Maille, which the King was fond of playing up and down the muddy track.
These days, The Mall acts as a grand processional route from Her Majesty’s residence to the Houses of Parliament. The Queen rides her golden carriage past the waving crowds on State occasions
The Mall is at the opposite end to the Palace – Trafalgar Square. This was laid out between 1829 and 1841 to commemorate Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is now the nation’s favourite setting for celebrations, demonstrations and political rallies.
St. James’s Park is both the oldest and smallest of London’s royal parks, built by Henry VIII in 1536. It is built on land once owned by the St. James’s leper hospital. The burial ground (where Green Park stands today) was drained and stocked with deer.
St. James’s Park is famous for its birds. Duck Island is home to flamingos, pelicans, gulls, geese and ducks. You can also stroll down Birdcage Walk – named after the aviary built by James I.
The last time I was in this part of London was on a warm July day in 1979, and managed to visit St. James's Park in Westminster, not very far from where we had been wandering half the day during our Christmas, 2005 visit. This is one of eight Royal parks in London and it comprises a large grassy area with two lakes, one of which has two islands in it. The oldest of London's Royal parks, dating from 1532 when King Henry VIII bought the piece of marshy land for use as one of his deer runs, it is not surprising that the park is surrounded by three Palaces. These are Westminster Palace (now the Houses of Parliament), St. James's Palace (built by Henry VIII for his use) and Buckingham Palace (the present residence of Queen Elizabeth II).
It is quite a pleasant place to relax for a bit, away from the bustle of downtown London, by listening to a band, picnicing on the grass, doing a bit of birdwatching or just reading a book. Sue had brought her mother into the city with us on this particular day, so we had a quiet stroll through the grounds.
Just a little south west of Trafalgar Square is Admiralty Arch. It was commissioned by King Edward VII to commemorate his mother, Queen Victoria. Designed in 1911 by Aston Webb, it is the magnificent gateway to Pall Mall which leads to Buckingham Palace. It was originally built as offices and living accommodation for the Sea Lords of that time as it is situated next to The Old Admiralty and is now a Grade 1 listed building and office block.
There is a Latin inscription at the top of the arch - "ANNO DECIMO EDWARDI SEPTIMI REGIS VICTORI? REGIN? CIVES GRATISSIMI MDCCCCX" which means "In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910."
The Mall Galleries were opened by The Queen in 1971 to show the work of established British artists alongside that of up-and-coming students and unknown painters. It is just 5 minutes walk from Charing Cross in Pall Mall and is run by the Federation of British Artists.
I was there to see the work of a friend and entry was 3GBP but this might vary depending on the exhibition. There are steps at the entrance but it is accessible for wheelchair visitors via a chair lift. I was really impressed with the work on display here - the exhibits were mainly textiles, but others were wood, ceramic and metals and most were for sale. As I didn't have a thousand or even a few hundred pounds on me at the time I bought a postcard for 50p in the gift shop.
Photography is not allowed inside the gallery.
St. James' Park is the oldest and most royal of the 9 Royal Parks of London. It has 3 palaces at its borders: the Palace of Westminster; St. James's Palace; and Buckingham Palace.
It runs the entire length of The Mall and was originally bought as a marsh by Henry VIII, who had it turned into a deer chase 1532 and built a hunting lodge that became St. James' Palace. It was James I, however, who began the menagerie of wildlife including pelicans, crocodiles, and gallon-a-day wine drinking elephant.
After his exile in France, Charles II had formal gardens laid out, with avenues, fruit orchards, and a canal. Lawns were grazed by goats, sheep, and deer. He also graveled the Mall, where he played Pell Mell, a French version of croquet. He then opened it to the public. In 1828 George IV redid the park resulting in a 93 acre park changed from its formal French design into the English style with blossoming shrubs and generally naturalizing the gardens. Creating curving paths that affords the best views of Whitehall and Westminster. He also had the canal turned into a graceful lake, which was cemented in at a depth of 4 feet in 1855.
Now the most ornamental park in London with good views of Whitehall rooftops, St James's Park is a popular place to stroll. At the Buckingham Palace end there is a cafe providing refreshments and a playground. The bridge over it gives a view of Buckingham Palace, especially at night when the palace is floodlit
The park is also an important natural reserve and migration point for over 1,000 birds and waterfowl from 45 species. Two full-time ornithologists are employed to look after them. The park is particularly famous for its pelicans living on Duck Island.
This historic road has been the venue for many a Royal Occasion with parades of pomp and celebration such as Royal Birthdays (such as the Queen Mother's 100th and the Queens 80th, and anniversaries (eg the Queens Golden Jubilee) heading on down to the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace. During Royal or State occasions the road will be lined with the Union Jack and any other relevant flags for the occasion.
Daily in summer and alternate days in winter (or not at all if very wet weather) the Queens Guards come on down here to Change Guards at 1130 am.
This area is all nice walking distance from tube stations such as Green Park, Victoria Station, Hyde Park Corner, St James Park, Westminster, Picadilly Circus, Charing Cross and the Embankment.
There are many buses that go from around Trafalgar Square and Victoria Station etc.
Even though I was a bit upset for paying to go into a church, St. James was one of my favorite´s spots in LOndon.
I only had to close my eyes and think I was getting married to a prince (just like Diana, too bad he wasn´t all that nice to her).
If you are couragious(and healthy) enough, go up the stairs way up to the top roof and take the best pictures of London (on a Sunny day only).
The basement also has tumbs of important people, not royalty, who have left a mark in English history.
Guided tours are also available (for a reasonable cost, not included in the entrance)
On a warm summer's day I found myself at St. James park - this was exactly how I pictured parks in London to be. Heaps of striped deck chairs, people chilling out and having fun, London icons like Big Ben and the London Eye viewed close by. Also there was a band playing in one of the bandstands. Great place to relax!
Also, when I returned there in 2005, I sat in one of the deck chairs, and found out you have to pay to sit in them - GBP1.50 for 2 hours. You are given a ticket with the time on it to let you know what time to give up your seat. I say pay the GBP1.50, it is relaxing to sit there. Read a book, listen to you IPod/discman, eat your lunch, whatever you want to do, just chill.
This is an interesting take on the London Eye! from St james Park at the top of the Mall - here you can see an athlete depicting the upcoming Olympic Games to be held here in London!
I later realised i had just caught side of this figure at the right position horizontal before moving out of sight as the Wheel moves around - as I no longer saw him later! So i eventually caught on.... so I am not putting this tip straight into the Southbank and London Eye tips as this is not from the Southbank!
So as you go about your tour of the sights of London keep on eye out for the unexpected and all sorts of interesting things to come across! You never know what you see next!
"TRIA JUNCTA IN UNO", that is what is written on this sign at the gate at St James's Park.
It means "Three will become one".
This refers to the most honourable order of the Bath, established as a military order by George I in 1725.
In 1815 it was enlarged when three classes of knights were formed: Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commander and Companions.
Due to the fact that a small and distinguished amount of civilians were admitted, a new civil division of Knights Commander and Companions was added in 1847.
From the time if James I’s reign, a special badge with 3 crowns was given to the Knights of the Bath. The 3 crowns represented the 3 kingdoms: England, Scotland and Ireland, hence the motto Tria Juncta in Uno.
Some famous members of the Order are Nelson, Wellington, Earl Haig, Lord Kitchener and Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.
The wildlife in Saint James' Park is incredibly tame as they are fed all day long by tourists and people passing through. It is therefore possible to get good photos without the need of a telephoto lens. This lactating squirrel was taken from a distance of around 1-2 metres away and was happily taking food out of peoples hands.
Note:- Grey Squirrels are not a native British animal, they were imported from America, and being much more aggressive than the native British Red Squirrel, they have pretty much driven the Red Squirrels out of the whole of England. There are just a few pocket of them left. Recently conservation efforts are aiming to help the Red Squirrel get a toehold back in England.
On busy Piccadilly, in the heart of the West End, is this lovely church designed by Christopher Wren (he who designed many of the churches in the City of London and of course St Paul’s Cathedral). It has stood here since 1684 and is both an active parish church and a tourist attraction.
The building is considered to be one that most precisely captures Wren’s views on what a parish church should be – large enough to accommodate all who wished to worship there, but not so large that any would be unable to see or hear the preacher. As well as the overall design by Wren, the church has an altar piece, organ case and font carved by renowned wood and stone carver Grinling Gibbons. The steeple is of a slightly later date than the rest of the church, as problems during its construction led to its being removed until the tower could be made safer. The church was partially destroyed in May 1940, by a bomb which was dropped as part of the Blitz, and restored towards the end of that decade.
In 1902 this outside pulpit was erected on the north wall of the church as an offering, designed by Temple Moore and carved by L. A. Turner. It too was damaged in 1940 but restored at the same time as the rest of the north wall.
The grounds are home to the Piccadilly Market – an antiques and collectables market held every Tuesday from 10.00 – 6.00 pm, and an arts and crafts market held Wednesday to Saturday from 11.00 – 6.00 pm. There is also a peaceful garden, developed as a garden of remembrance “to commemorate the courage and fortitude of the people of London” during the Second World War, which provides a lovely spot in which to take a break from the hubbub of the surrounding streets, and a coffee shop (currently a branch of Caffe Nero which has excellent coffee).
St. James's Palace, commissioned by Henry VIII, is one of London's oldest and most historic palaces. The palace was constructed in the red-brick Tudor style around four courtyards: its gatehouse survives on the north side, flanked by polygonal turrets.
From 1953 until her death in 2002, the Queen Mother lived at Clarence House in a wing of St. James's Palace. Clarence House was also used by Diana during her engagement to Prince Charles. Before that it was the home of The Prince of Wales between the ages of one and three, when Her Majesty the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh moved there following their marriage in 1947.
It was built in 1828 for William IV before he came to the throne, when he was still the Duke of Clarence thereby getting the name. During its history, the house has been altered, reflecting the changes in occupancy over nearly two centuries.
Today Clarence House is The Prince of Wales's official London residence and is open to the public periodically(for those of you in the dark that Prince Charles). After he took residence, the house was refurbished and redecorated, with antiques and art added from the royal collection.
Tours are available Aug 4-Oct 17 ( daily 9:30am-6pm). Visitors are taken on a guided tour of five of the staterooms, where much of the Queen's collection of works of art and furniture is on display, along with pieces added by Prince Charles. The Queen Mother had an impressive collection of 20th-century British art, including works by John Piper, Augustus John, and Graham Sutherland. She also was known for her superb collection of Fabergé and English porcelain and silver, especially pieces from her family collection.