James's Park is probably the most beautiful and intimate of
the capital's central parks.
Originally a marsh, the land
was drained by Henry VIII in the 15th century to provide a
deer park for St James's Palace.
In the 17th century, Charles
II commissioned a French landscape gardener, André Le Nôtre,
to convert the deer park into a garden. Charles II also
had an aviary built along the southern edge of the park, hence
Birdcage Walk, the street where the aviary was located.
Further landscaping by John Nash,
the Prince Regent's favourite,took place in the early-19th
Now the most ornamental park
in London with good views of Whitehall rooftops, St James's
Park is a popular place to stroll, feed the ducks or watch
Popular in the summer with sunbathing
office workers, a band plays throughout the summer.
There is a cafe providing refreshments and a playground at
the Buckingham Palace end.
The lake is now a wildlfowl sanctuary,
with ducks, geese, pelicans and black swans. The bridge
over it gives a view of Buckingham Palace, good at night when
the palace is floodlit.