St. James’s is London’s oldest royal park and it is something of an oasis. Surrounded by three palaces—Westminster (which now serves as the Houses of Parliament), St. James’s Palace (an impressive Tudor-style structure) and Buckingham Palace (the queen’s home)—the beautifully manicured park is the perfect place for a mid-sightseeing break. Visitors can watch the resident pelicans being fed every day at 2:30 or, for refreshments of your own, stop at the Inn the Park Restaurant for afternoon tea. To really stray from the usual tourist path, take a guided tour of the park’s aptly named Duck Island.
Designed by Sir John Nash in 1821, St. James’s serves as the spot for national celebrations and ceremonies. With The Mall running straight through the park grounds, it’s the ideal location in which to watch the upcoming Trooping the Colour (at the end of May) or the Horse Guards Parade. You can also see a bit of British history all along the park’s perimeters: The Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, 10 Downing Street, and Admiralty Arch.
Located just off Whitehall (one of London’s main roads), St. James’s Park is a short walk from Piccadilly Circus, the shops on Regent Street, the excellent Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Mall Galleries, Marlborough House, Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery and the Thames River.
However, there are some amazing sights to admire in the park itself. The Blue Bridge offers unparalleled views of the Swire Fountain, the Old Admiralty Buildings and the London Eye off in the distance—not to mention serene swans floating by in the foreground. St. James’s also has deck chairs and a bandstand, where springtime musical performances are held at lunchtime and in the evenings, and it still houses the original cottage donated by the Ornithological Society of London in 1837 as a home for the park’s bird keeper (a position that still exists today).
• A clean and crisply decorated 1-bedroom vacation rental in Westminster (LN-166) on the seventh floor of an apartment block that has it all: 24-hour doorman, elevators, gym, spa and pool. This comfortable apartment—perfect for two people—has a double bed and open plan kitchen, and is conveniently located close to St. James’s Park station.
• A stylish 1-bedroom vacation accommodation in Westminster (LN-73) that boasts three rarities for London: hardwood floors, high ceilings and huge windows to let in some springtime sun! Outfitted with a queen-sized bed and laundry/dryer, this warmly-lit rental is on the fifth floor of a modern building with elevator and full-time doorman.
Enjoy splendor in the park this spring and summer with a visit to St. James’s and a stay in a New York Habitat vacation accommodation in London.
Leave a comment to let us know the sights or events in St. James’s Park that you have enjoyed.