St James’s Park is a 57-acre park located in the heart of ceremonial London, surrounded by Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and White Hall. The oldest of the eight Royal Parks in London and the setting of the Trooping the Colour pageant, St. James’s Park has been the centre of the UK’s royal and ceremonial life for more than 400 years. This picturesque park is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike and in this post, I’ll be sharing what to see and the top things to do in St James’s Park London with kids.
St James’s Park includes the Mall and House of Guards Parade and is also within walking distance of Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. With its central location next to Buckingham Palace and between many other historical attractions in London, St James’s Park is an ideal spot for a break when sightseeing in London with kids.
St James’s Park Lake
The lake in the centre of St James’s Park is one of the park’s most prominent features and a key habitat which is home to a wide range of bird life – ducks, swans, geese, parakeets and even pelicans! St James’s Park is a wonderful place for families to enjoy a stroll around the lake and watch the wildlife.
Pelican Feeding at St James’s Park
Pelicans were originally introduced to the park in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador to King Charles II and over 40 pelicans have since made the park home. You’ll often see the pelicans along the lake – or even on the park benches. Visitors can watch the pelicans at St James’s Park being fed fresh fish between 2.30pm and 3pm every day, next to the Duck Island Cottage.
View from Blue Bridge at St James’s Park
One of the top things to do at St James’s Park is to take in the stunning views from the Blue Bridge. From one side of the Blue Bridge, you can enjoy an iconic view towards Horse Guards Parade and the London Eye.
The view from the other side of the Blue Bridge is of Buckingham Palace. This is a wonderful spot for birdwatching too.
Spring Flowers in St James’s Park
St James’s Park is one of the best places to see the spring flowers in London. Usually from early March, you can start to see daffodils blooming in London parks, and St James’s Park receives the majority of bulbs planted by the Royal Parks. When in bloom, thousands of daffodils across St James’s Park create a vibrant display of yellow.
St James’s Park is an excellent place to relax and enjoy a picnic in between sightseeing in London.
Throughout spring and summer, the flower beds in St James’s Park are always full of beautiful colour.
St James’s Park is also one of the best places in London to see cherry blossoms. Look for stunning blossom trees at the end of the park towards Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace Flower Beds
The most famous flower beds at St James’s Park are in the Memorial Gardens in front of Buckingham Palace. The Memorial Gardens were created in 1901 as part of Sir Aston Webb’s overall design for a memorial to Queen Victoria after her death that year.
The formal flowerbeds at Memorial Gardens are laid out in a semi-circular design around the central memorial and are a familiar sight during the many of the famous processions and ceremonies that take place in this area, Trooping the Colour. Can you spot the Blues and Royals regiment below in front of Buckingham Palace?
During winter, the flower beds in the Memorial Gardens are filled with about 50,000 yellow wallflowers and red tulips, and their bright colours are splendid to see in full bloom in spring.
Playground at St James’s Park London
Once you’ve explored the park and enjoyed the iconic views of London’s landmarks, take a break at the children’s playground located across the Wellington Barracks. The St James’s Park playground is suitable for children up to seven years of age. Along the edges of the playground, with views of Buckingham Palace through the trees, there are see-saws, swings and wooden climbing structures.
Older children will enjoy exploring the adventure play area with a climbing wall, rope bridges and slides.
There’s a large sand pit with boulders and stone bridge for young children and a fun musical play area (not pictured). Facilities at the playground include a food and drink kiosk just outside the playground gate and children’s toilets.
St James’s Park Visitor Information
Address: St James’s Park, London SW1A 2BJ
Opening Hours: 0500 to 0000 all year round
Food & Drink: There are at least two food and drink kiosks in St James’s Park, with one located next to the playground. St James’s Café overlooks the lake and serves fish and chips, burgers and salads. Click to view the St James’s Café location and most up-to-date menu
Closest Tube Stations: St. James’s Park [District and Circle Line]; Westminster [Jubilee, District and Circle Lines]; Green Park [Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee Lines]; Victoria [Victoria, Circle and District, British Rail lines]; Charing Cross Station (Northern, Bakerloo and British Rail lines];
St James’s Park London Map: Click to view the St James’s Park Map on the Royal Parks website
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