St. James's Park, London

St. James's Park, London (must see)

Many years ago, a royal once asked a courtier about the cost of closing Saint James's Park to the public. The courtier's response was, "Only your crown, ma'am". This park, bordered by three palaces—Buckingham, St. James's, and the governmental complex of the Palace of Westminster—is among London's most enchanting green spaces. Furthermore, it holds the distinction of being the oldest, as it was originally marshland acquired by Henry VIII in 1532 to serve as a deer nursery. Later, during the reign of James I, the land was drained, and an aviary was installed, giving rise to the name Birdcage Walk, along with a zoo that featured crocodiles, camels, and an elephant.

Upon Charles II's return from exile in France, where he was greatly impressed by the magnificent gardens of the Palace of Versailles, he redesigned the park into formal gardens, complete with avenues, fruit orchards, and a canal. The lawns became home to goats, sheep, and deer. In the 18th century, the park took on a different role as a hunting ground for affluent individuals seeking nighttime companions. A century later, John Nash revamped the landscape in a more naturalistic, romantic style. When gazing down the lake toward Buckingham Palace, you could easily imagine yourself on a country estate.

At the east end of the lake, there is Duck Island, home to a large population of waterfowl, including pelicans, geese, ducks, and swans that belong to the Queen. From March to October, you can find deck chairs available for a fee, filled with office workers enjoying lunch while being serenaded by music from the bandstands at midday. One of the most enjoyable times to stroll through the park's leafy walkways is in the evening, with Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament rising above the floodlit lake.

Why You Should Visit:
Ample green areas for relaxation and abundant wildlife.
Additionally, you might encounter live performances, events, or other enjoyable activities.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in London. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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St. James's Park on Map

Sight Name: St. James's Park
Sight Location: London, England (See walking tours in London)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in London, England

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Create Your Own Walk in London

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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On Part II of the self-guided Happy Potter Walking Tour, you...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

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