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St James's Park

Attractions, Sightseeing Westminster
 (Feeding the pelicans © Greywolf, The Royal Parks)
Feeding the pelicans © Greywolf, The Royal Parks
 (© Greywolf, The Royal Parks)
© Greywolf, The Royal Parks
 (© Anne Marie Briscombe)
© Anne Marie Briscombe
 (© Edward Parker)
© Edward Parker
 (Changing of the Guard © Edward Parker)
Changing of the Guard © Edward Parker
 (Buckingham Palace © Greywolf, The Royal Parks)
Buckingham Palace © Greywolf, The Royal Parks
 (Horse Guard's Parade  © Rene Mansi)
Horse Guard's Parade © Rene Mansi
 (Snowdrops © Indusfoto,  Royal Parks)
Snowdrops © Indusfoto, Royal Parks
 (© Jenn Leung)
© Jenn LeungSt James's Park

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St James's Park was founded as a deer park for the royal occupants of St James's Palace, and remodelled by John Nash on the orders of George IV. The central lake is home to numerous species of wildfowl, including pelicans that have been kept here since the 17th century, when the Russian ambassador donated several of the bag-jawed birds to Charles II. The pelicans are fed between 2.30pm and 3pm daily, though they have been known to supplement their diet at other times of the day with the occasional pigeon. The bridge over the lake offers very snappable views of Buckingham Palace (head that way and you'll see Green Park, the beginning of a relaxing stroll that will take you under trees as far as Hyde Park Corner). Along the north side of the park, the Mall connects Buckingham Palace with Trafalgar Square. It looks like a classic processional route, but the Mall was actually laid out as a pitch for Charles II to play 'paille-maille' (an early version of croquet imported from France) after the pitch at Pall Mall became too crowded. On the south side of the St James's Park, Wellington Barracks contains the Guards Museum; to the east, Horse Guards contains the Household Cavalry Museum.

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Address: Horse Guards Parade
Transport: Tube: St James’s Park/ Charing Cross/ Westminster
Price: Free
Opening hours: Daily 5am-midnight
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