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St James's Park, London

St James’s Park is another oasis of greenery in Central London, offering a welcomed relief from the hustle of city life. The park is the oldest of the Royal Parks of London but relatively small covering 23 hectares (57 acres). Situated in London’s City of Westminster, St James’s Park is across Buckingham Palace in the west where it also meets up with Green Park.

Along the northern edges of St James’s Park is The Mall, a tree-lined royal road and processional route leading to Buckingham Palace from Admiralty Arch. The Mall is the main location for many ceremonial parades and national celebrations including Trooping the Colour performed by regiments of the British army to mark the Queen’s official birthday. You can view the parade along The Mall and along the edge of St James's Park.

 St James's Park by Txllxt TxllxT

About

In 1532, King Henry VIII bought an area of marshland that is now St James’s Park and turned it into a deer park. It remained a deer park until King James I in 1603 drained the land to keep exotic animals including camels, crocodiles, an elephant and birds. The elaborate gardens of the French royal family impressed King Charles II during his exile in France. Upon his return to England and becoming king in 1661, he engaged French landscape architect Andre Mollet to design the park. The Prince Regent (later King George IV) engaged John Nash in 1826 to redesign the park as seen today and the park eventually opened to the public in 1887.

See & Do

St James’s Park features grassy lawns, wooded areas, tree-lined paths, shrubberies and flowerbeds. A small lake surrounded by trees named St James’s Park Lake extends across the park in an east-west direction. The Blue Bridge spans across the centre of the lake in a north-south direction and offers views of Buckingham Palace from a distance. Within the lake is the larger Duck Island on the eastern end and smaller West Island on the western end. South of Duck Island is the Tiffany Fountain shooting plumes of water 6 metres (20 feet) into the air.

Strolling through St James's Park by Yair-haklai

The Buckingham Palace Flower Beds is located on the western end of St James’s Park, opposite the Queen Victoria Memorial. Arranged in a semi-circle around the memorial, the colourful flowerbeds are a familiar sight for visitors near the front gates of Buckingham Palace. There are seasonal plantings each year and each replanting takes about two weeks to complete. In summer, flowers of various colours including geraniums and salvias fill the gorgeous flowerbeds. Winter is just as stunning when yellow wallflowers and red tulips occupy the flowerbeds.

The flowerbeds by Christine Matthews

Though the park is located in busy Central London, St James's Park Lake is a precious habitat for various species of wildlife. A much loved residents of the lake are the pelicans, introduced into the park in 1664 as a gift by the Russian ambassador to King Charles II. The pelicans are free to roam the park but rarely stray far from the lake. Other well-known residents include mallards that live permanently and tuft ducks that migrate to the lake in winter. Other wild fowls include shelducks, widgeons, gadwalls, teals, pochards and the Canada geese.

St James's Park Lake by King of Hearts

Memorials at the park include the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, which commemorates the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. Another is the Queen Mother Memorial commemorating the Queen Mother who died in 2002 at the age of 101. Standing next to the memorial is a bronze statue of her husband, King George VI. The Guard’s Memorial facing the Wellington Barracks is dedicated to the Foot Guard Regiments who died in World War I. The Graspan Royal Marines Memorial is dedicated to the Royal Marines who died in the Boxer Rebellion in China (1899-1901) and the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902).

Visiting St James's Park

St James's Park opens from 5 a.m. to midnight all year round. Several London Underground stations are within walking distance from St James’s Park including St James’s Park Station (8 minutes walk) serving the District and Circle Lines, Victoria Station (10 minutes walk) serving the Victoria, Circle and District Lines and Green Park Station (12 minutes walk) serving the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines. Several London red buses stop nearby Buckingham Palace and St James's Park.

St James's Park on the Map

The Mall, London SW1A 2BJ, UK

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