I spent a great deal of time in St. James’s Park on Jubilee Weekend because of its proximity to Buckingham Palace and The Mall where many of the regal activities took place.
One of the most elegant entrances to St. James’s Park from The Mall. Photo by me
Skirted by three royal palaces–the ancient Palace of Westminster (now known as The Houses of Parliament), the Tudor styled St. James’s Palace, and Buckingham Palace where the Monarch has lived since 1837–St. James’s Park is located in the heart of historic London. It is also one of the most beautiful parks in the city.
St. James’s Park, one of the prettiest in London. Photo by me
In 1536, King Henry VIII decided to turn the marshy farmland and woods into a deer park conveniently located near his palace at Westminster.
The Palace of Westminster, now known as the Houses of Parliament
He acquired the land and eventually built a hunting lodge on it which finally became St. James’s Palace.
St. Jame’s Palace is just around the corner from The Ritz on a busy London Street during Jubilee. Photo by me.
St. Jame’s Palace borders two worlds, the park and The Mall on one side, and a busy London Street on the other.
The side of St. James’s Palace backs up to St. Jame’s Park. The Palace is still an active court. Photo by me.
After many reincarnations, the park got another makeover in the 1820s in the naturalistic style when George IV did a major renovation project creating many of London’s best-known landmarks, including Regent’s Park and The Mall as a grand boulevard.
The Mall, a grand processional boulevard next to St. James’s Park. Photo by me
It was overseen by landscaper and architect, John Nash. His design is pretty much as you see the park today.
It was designed by John Nash in a natural style. Photo by me.
The natural curves of the lake fits in beautifully with the English landscaping. Photo by me
A small cottage on the south edge of the park was the bird-keeper’s cottage built in 1841. Photo by me.
You may picnic in the park, but many people prefer to just stroll through the grounds admiring the flower beds…
The flowers bloomed just in time for the Jubilee. Photo by me
The color combinations were so creative. Photo by me
…and seeing the amazing collection of wildlife. With over 5.5 million visitors a year it is amazing that the habitat survives.
The park is very well used, especially on bank holiday weekends. Photo by me.
But survive it does, and flourishes. There are over 15 different species of waterfowl in the park.
A mother and her babies in St. James’s. Photo by me
Some of the waterfowl are beautifully colored. Photo by me
To commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The Royal Parks fashioned a magnificent crown which is a floral replica of the St. Edwards Crown that was used in the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation ceremony on 2 June 1953.
The Royal Parks Jubilee Crown. Photo by me.
I could have spent many more hours just getting to know the park a little bit better. It makes me want to return for a sketching day along the lake. For more information on the Park, visit their website with a click here.
The lake at St. Jame’s Park looking towards the Horse Guards Parade off Whitehall. Photo by me.