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Saturday, 21 April 2018

REPOST: The Royal Parks of London (1) St James Park

I've been a bit busy lately so I'm re-posting this from five years ago. It's one of my favourite places in London.

The Royal Parks of London (1) St James Park

A magical view  across the lake in St James Park, London
St James Park is the second smallest of London's eight Royal parks at 57 acres. These parks were originally owned by the Crown and used for sport, mainly deer hunting. In 1532 Henry VIII purchased some marshland owned by Eton College in an area that had formerly consisted of a female leper colony and pig farms and he enclosed it to create a hunting park on his door-step. Successive monarchs improved the park until Charles II, upon the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War, had the park laid out in the way he had seen in France during his exile. Today the park is pretty much as improved by the architect and landscape designer John Nash in 1827. It's full of the most charming range of trees, shrubs, flowers and wildlife.
In 1664 the Russian Ambassador presented a pelican to the Court of St James (any Ambassador or High Commissioner to the United Kingdom is officially "Ambassador to the Court of  St James") this began a tradition of presenting pelicans as gifts and today there is an island of rocks in the lake, especially for them. There are also Egyptian geese, Greylags, Wood Ducks and many other beautiful birds. At one end of the park is Horse Guards Parade famous for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour and at the other end the best view of Buckingham Palace is to be seen.

10 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - thanks for posting this - lovely views you've caught. I'm ashamed to say I've never wandered around St James' I always seem to be going off elsewhere ... and it's got such interesting history - cheers Hilary

Hels said...

I am not a royalist but the view of Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial with the golden angel is still stunning.

Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, Sadly, I did not know about your blog five years ago, so I am thrilled to see these views of St. James Park. Also, now I know if I am invited to visit the Royal family, what to bring as a bread-and-butter gift--a pelican!
--Jim

bazza said...

Hilary: It's easily my favourite of the Royal Parks. On a sunny day it's just magical!

bazza said...

Hels: Me neither but I never make that connection when in that park!

bazza said...

Jim: Only bring a Pelican if appointed as an Ambassador to the Court of St. James. It would be an awful faux pas otherwise!

Parnassus said...

Too late! I already bought the pelican. It will be your gift instead, Bazza, the next time I make it to England.
--Jim

Sherry Ellis said...

So beautiful! I remember that place on my last visit to the UK.

bazza said...

Jim: I will start creating a rocky pond immediately!

bazza said...

Sherry: I suppose it's like the Queen's back garden - although Buckingham Palace has a very nice garden itself!