Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events

Vino Con Vista | Traveler

Thursday, July 29, 2010

London, England - St James's Park

Buckingham Palace in London, England. taken by...Image via Wikipedia

By Harry Preston Platinum Quality Author
Looking at the blossoming shrubs, romantic lake and undulating paths of St James's Park, it's difficult to imagine it as marshy grazing land for pigs, but that's just what it was before Henry VIII fenced it in to make a deer park in the 1530s.
The oldest of London's nine royal parks, St James's Park is a wonderful open space in which to relax and unwind in the heart of the capital. Take a deckchair for the afternoon: listen to the band that plays daily at lunchtime or in the early evening between June and August; tour with one of the royal gardeners; or go bird-watching. The park is home to pelicans and many types of duck and geese, as well as rarer visitors such as golden eyes or shovelers.
The park has been beloved by British kings and queens for 500 years. Surrounded by three royal palaces - Buckingham Palace, St James's and Westminster (now the Houses of Parliament) - it was their backyard. Elizabeth I danced and held masques and pageants here. James I kept a menagerie that included crocodiles and elephants, while Charles" dallied with his favourite mistress, Nell Gwyn.
Almost all of them played some part in shaping it but Charles 11 and George IV oversaw the biggest changes. Restored to the throne in 1660, Charles wanted to re-create the formal gardens he had seen while in exile in France.
A straight canal was laid down the centre, lined with avenues of trees. For the first time, the public was allowed to enjoy the park. In the 1820s it was given a makeover in the new naturalistic style, bringing it close to the place we know today: straight lines were replaced with winding paths and shrubberies, the canal made into a lake. It was part of a huge project that created many of London's best-known landmarks, including Regent's Park and Regent's Street, commissioned by the Prince Regent (later George IV).
The Mall, which runs along the north side of St James's, became an important ceremonial route in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Britain still had an empire to rule and colonial subjects to impress. Carlton House Terrace, another Nash construction, was one of the most fashionable residential addresses in town until World War 11 when it was severely damaged. With the purchase of one of its 60-room houses for £58 million in 2006 by the Hinduja family, this tradition looks to be reviving. While the park looks good throughout the year, its colours are particularly delightful in the spring and summer. If you visit around Easter, there may be an Easter egg trail for children. In April it is the end point for the famous London Marathon. Occasionally you may happen upon other surprises, such as a 12m (40-foot) mechanical elephant, part of a French street theatre performance, The Sultan's Elephant, that was staged in the park for three days in 2006.
Top or tail your time in St James's Park with an exhibition or film at the trendy ICA (Institute for Contemporary Arts) on The Mall, the setting for many events of national celebration. Don't forget to stop by Horse Guards Parade on the park's eastern side, where the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour and Beating Retreat take place. Finally, treat yourself to a meal at Inn the Park, the park's distinctive eatery designed by Michael Hopkins.
For more information about London, England visit
For more information about Stockholm Slott visit
Search for vino con vista
Enhanced by Zemanta