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St James' Park

A green oasis in royal London that is host to numerous ceremonies - and has a lake complete with pelicans.

TravelCurious Tip

For the best views in the park, walk over the Blue Bridge across the lake – looking west, you can see Buckingham Palace, and to the east the top half of the London Eye.

As London’s most central park, St. James’ is an ideal spot to come for a couple of hours’ rest and relaxation in the middle of a busy day of sightseeing. Buckingham Palace stands proudly at its western tip, Downing Street on the opposite side, St. James’ Palace to the north and the Imperial War Museum at its most southeasterly corner. Continuing in that direction, it’s a five-minute walk to Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge and the London Eye beyond.


The French Connection

It is no small compliment to the park itself, then, that it is able to hold its own in the face of such prestigious company. It was originally laid out by Charles II, who sought to mimic the world-famous gardens of the Palace of Versailles that he had seen during his exile in France. It was during this time that the long lake, the park’s centrepiece, was dug out of a former marsh. The lake is now home to fifteen different species of waterfowl, including pelicans, which were a gift from the Russian ambassador in the 17th century.


A Romantic Redesign

The park you can see today is largely the result of John Nash’s extensive 1828 redesign, which made it less grandiose and more romantic, with winding paths, shady copses of trees and pretty little flowerbeds. Overlooking the Horse Guards parade ground on the park’s eastern edge is the impressive Guards Division Memorial, which commemorates soldiers of the Guards regiments who lost their lives during the first and second world wars.


Nearby Attractions

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Changing of the Guard
A glimpse of royal tradition, and one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.
The Mall
London's royal avenue leading from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace.
St James' Palace
The official home of the sovereign of the United Kingdom, built in Tudor red brick.
Churchill War Rooms
A fascinating underground museum preserving the bunker from which Churchill's government directed the war effort.
Caxton Bar
The Caxton Bar in the St. Ermine's Hotel has been the stage for some of the most significant acts of espionage to take place in London over the last 100 years. Also frequented by Ian Fleming who wrote Bond books while drinking here.
Pall Mall
Home of several famous gentlemen’s clubs - though several are now gender-integrated, such as the Traveller’s Club, The Oxford & Cambridge Club, and the Atheneum.

Related Tours

City of Spies Private Tour; Espionage in London (+ Churchill War Rooms)
Let us bring to life the enigmatic espionage history of London. 

Capital to the worlds largest empire, thriving centre of international trade and finance - London has long attracted spies

This exciting experience has been created exclusively to bring you on a fascinating journey through London's role in the Cold War, the origins of MI5, MI6 and Churchill's role in bringing down the Nazi regime. 

  • Experience the worlds of fiction and reality, uncovering hidden places, bunkers, luxury hotels, and fall in love with the romance and betrayal of spies.
  • Walk by the famous Caxton bar where the Cambridge Five often met their Soviet Handlers and handed over classified documents. 
  • See where Ian Fleming wrote part of the James Bond series, while working as a naval intelligence officer nearby and learn the hotel's unique spy history.
  • Discover London's rich history of espionage at St Ermin's Hotel, with meetings such as Winston Churchill's 'Setting Europe Ablaze’ occurring here in 1940.
  • Hear stories of double agents and plots to overthrow the government at some of the most powerful institutions in Westminster, including Downing StreetWhitehall, Westminster Palace, MI5, and MI6.
  • Follow in the footsteps of key double agents in the Cold War, such as Kim Philby, Donald Maclean,  Guy Burgess, and George Blake - and ask if there truly was a 'Fifth Man'.
  • Learn about the extraordinary life of Sir Mansfield Cumming, the first director of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), known as MI6. 
  • Visit the Churchill War Rooms, the stage from which Britain's World War 2 strategy was directed.

On this unique experience you will walk by and learn about many of the protagonist buildings and sites where these world changing events have taken place. Your guide is an expert in spy history and will mesmerise you with stories that seem more like Le Carré novels than real life. Of course, these stories are not confined to the Second World War and Cold War History, as Russian operatives in London continue to make splashes across global headlines.

Venture out onto the streets of Westminster and discover the area's colourful history of espionage, dirty politics and death. The toppling of regimes, battle against ideology and revolution have all been orchestrated and exercised along these streets. Revisit the setting of infamous covert operations, traitorous meetings involving double agents and murder plots. See the headquarters of MI6 secret service and New Scotland Yard past and present.  At the end of your tour, visit the Churchill War Rooms, where the wartime Prime Minister planned Britain's defiance of the Nazis.

Come enjoy this unique experience but please be discrete; the information given on this tour is classified...
Private Guided Walk of London with Thames River Cruise
  • Marvel at the outside of the Tower of London, Royal Palace and Fortress. 
  • Jump aboard a river cruise and float effortlessly down the Thames.
  • Enjoy beautiful views of Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral and more.
  • Disembark at Westminster, London’s grand governmental quarter.
  • See the outside of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and walk to Buckingham Palace.
Infusing gorgeous architecture, fascinating history and the relaxation and serenity of a river cruise, this tour covers London’s most unmissable sites in a comfortable 3 hours.  You'll begin outside the notorious Tower of London, a 1000 year old royal fortress on the banks of the Thames. Enjoy expert narration and storytelling by your guide, hear of the executions that took place here and learn about Kings’ an d Queens’ who lived and died within its walls. 

Next embark on a beautiful 45 minute river cruise through the heart of London. See some of London’s most beautiful palaces, cathedrals, bridges and buildings as you make your way upstream.

Disembark at Westminster and explore London’s governmental quarter, walking past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey at your own pace.  Discover  where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married while your guide tells you stories about royal splendour and scandal alike. Slowly amble through the Royal Parks to Buckingham Palace - the Queen’s official London residence - and if you are there by 11.45am you will also be able see the Changing of the Guards ceremony.
Private Royal London with a Local
Come and explore medieval  royals to those of the modern day. Discover two royal palaces, historic royal buildings and areas that still host the pageantry, ceremony and day-to-day life of the modern Royal Family. 

The English, and British, capital has a great deal to offer travellers seeking its past. Stretching back nearly two millennia, the city has come far from its roots as a Roman provincial outpost. Going with an expert, and private, guide through its historic heart, you will experience this journey to global city in the company of its most important buildings.

Admire London's oldest Royal Park created for sport-loving Henry VIII and a once famous dueling venue.

Hear what most tourists miss including a usurped queen, the elite sport of falconry and erotic furniture. With stories of scandal and regicide, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know the Royal family and their predecessors and discuss the ever-changing role of the monarchy through the ages. 

See the best of London in just two hours with an expert London guide. Whether you are unhurried or 'hare-footed' when exploring - enjoy an experience tailored to your interests and walking ability. 

Walk to Buckingham Palace the home of the Queen of England (and if you're lucky you will see the Changing of the Guards ceremony). A short walk on, you will see the outside of the beautiful Westminster Abbey where every King and Queen for the last 1000 years has had their coronation. It is also the place where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married.
Private Family-Friendly Tour of London
Perfect for those families who would like a full experience of London in a day. See London’s unmissable attractions, parks and finest Royal sites with an expert guide. Learn about fascinating English history, British tradition and London's incredible past. From the plague, the great fire of London to the Blitz. You will experience everything that London has to offer on this fantastic tour.

  • Enter the Tower of London, see the Crown Jewels and visit the old prison.
  • Board a river cruise and enjoy jaw-dropping panoramas across the City and its sites.
  • Pass Tower Bridge,  the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Somerset House.
  • Disembark at Westminster - London's grand governmental district. See Whitehall and 10 Downing Street.
  • Next visit Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey via the beautiful St James Park and Trafalgar Square.
  • Safely navigate the City, avoiding traffic and busy crowds. 
  • Our team will match the perfect guide to entertain and inspire all ages

Keep even the most easily distracted entertained! We know how important it is to inspire all ages, and work hard to ensure a perfect match of guide.  Get a peppering of tales, fun facts and stories about London, British Culture and tradition. Hear of the Secret tunnels which lie beneath Buckingham palace, the many attempts to steal the Crown Jewels. And the infamous 14 year old cat-burglar caught stealing Queen Victoria’s underwear. Hear tales of Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill. And learn how their lives intertwined with this fabulous City.
Also see London’s famous palace guards, royal cavalry and maybe even the Queen herself if you are lucky!

Avoid the rush and business of a group tour and take centre stage with your guide. There are no other groups or noise to drown out the experience. As such, you will also enjoy a pace adjusted to you and your family. Your personal guide will help you easily navigate the City, and ensure you have the smoothest, most enjoyable day possible. Enjoy a day out that is fun for the whole family!
Private Walking Tour of Westminster
Perfect for those who would like a full experience of London.  See London’s unmissable attractions, parks and finest Royal sites with an expert guide. Learn about fascinating English history, British tradition and London's incredible past—from the plague and the great fire of London to the Blitz. 

  • See Whitehall and 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament,  Somerset House and Big Ben.
  • Next hear stories as you visit the outside of Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey via the beautiful St James Park and Trafalgar Square.
Reveal the secrets of power and politics on our exciting tour of Westminster, passing some of the most recognisable landmarks. Learn all about the Houses of Parliament, the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, and be inspired by its mighty history. Gain insight into the centuries old Westminster Abbey, the setting for every coronation since 1066, many royal weddings and the final resting place of 17 monarchs. Find out the secrets of the underground bunker where Churchill won the Second World War. View the fascinating statues and memorials on Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and Whitehall, dedicated to some of the greatest politicians and monarchs of the British Empire. Amble through the fabulous gardens and sights of St James Park and witness the Changing of the Guards in front of magnificent Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837. Walk along the Mall and learn curious facts about British Kings & Queens, who turned the British Empire into the most dominant power on Earth.

Begin exploring the heart of London’s parliamentary district. This was the brain and nerve centre for British and Allied forces in Europe and abroad. See the Winston Churchill memorial, and learn about his adolescence, personal life and fascinating rise to government. See partially destroyed buildings from the blitz and visit The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the Prime Minister's residence. Next visit The iconic Cenotaph war memorial, special service headquarters and Ghurka memorial.

Westminster and Buckingham Palace

First, you will be guided around the outside of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and learn about the political history of Parliament Square. Then, you'll be shown around the outside of Westminster Abbey, and if time permits you'll be able to go inside (entrance tickets not included).  This is London’s royal church which has been the site of 38 coronations and was where the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton took place.  Following this will be a walk up Whitehall to No. 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence, ending up at Trafalgar Square.

Finally, we will walk down to take in the Prospect of Buckingham Palace and then up and down the tree-lined Mall, where thousands of jubilant crowds have greeted news about the royal family for generations.
Westminster Classic Private Driving Tour (in a traditional London Black Cab)
Explore the hub of British politics in the quintessentially British black cab, with an expert guide to narrate your journey with stories highlighting the significance of this fascinating area. See all of Westminster’s iconic landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, and Westminster Abbey, as well as 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 2 Tudor Palaces - among many other sights (full list below). 

  • See iconic sights including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the Palace of Westminster.
  • Marvel at the architectural wonders of St James' Palace, Westminster Cathedral, St Margaret's Church, and Westminster School.
  • Visit both iconic and lesser-known places including Downing Street, Central Methodist Hall, Banqueting House, Horse Guards, and the National Gallery
  • Hear stories of how sights earned their claims to fame, including Trafalgar Square, Nelson's Column, Marble Arch, Wellington Memorial, Lambeth Palace, the London Eye, and the River Thames.
  • At the end of your tour, your final set-down point can be any preferred Central London location.

On your black cab tour, discover the real London – from a well-informed cabbie who knows London like the back of his hand, with many hidden secrets for you to discover!  Westminster has been home to many of our fundamental political institutions for hundreds of years, including Parliament, the monarchy, and the judicial system. No other area in the UK is so powerful and influential in the forming and implementation of laws. Amidst the uncertainty of Brexit, as well as the possible collapse of our essentially 2-party system, there is no better time to delve into the world of politics. 

Whether you are interested in the British monarchy's royal palaces or the UK Parliament and Brexit, your expert guide is more than happy to spill all the gossip, alongside the history of any topic which may interest you. If you would prefer to hear more about the Second World War and Churchill's magnificent speeches, or the 2000-year-old architecture and London's modern skyscrapers, then feel free to ask questions along those lines. Your guide is ready to discuss anything you throw his or her way - including filming locations for Harry Potter, James Bond, and Downton Abbey, among many others. In short, for any curiosity, you may have about London today and British history as a whole, you're in great hands for a conversation to leave you reeling for hours after your tour has ended. 
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