The Park’s History
In the seventeenth century Charles II had the park laid out in a formal French style, mimicking the gardens ofVersailles he had seen during his exile in France. It was then that the long narrow lake was created out of a marsh. Charles II was also the first to open the park to the public.
The park’s current appearance is a result of a redesign in 1828, when architect John Nash carried out a modernization project. He made the park more romantic in style and revitalized the trees, lawns, and gardens.
The Park Today
Most visitors simply enjoy strolling through the park, watching the wildlife. The park provides habitats for a variety of fauna, in particular birds. The lake is home to fifteen different species of waterfowl, including pelicans, which were introduced to the park in the mid 1600s when the Russian ambassador gave a couple of these long-beaked birds as a present to Charles II.
from the bridge
The park welcomes more than five million visitors per year and has become quite popular with the movie industry. The bridge across the lake is particularly popular and has featured in many movies. The bridge was built in the 1950s as a replacement for the less-practical Chinese-style bridge that was built as part of Nash’s redesign. There was also a Chinese pagoda from the same era, but unfortunately it burned down due to fireworks.
It is not the only palace around St. James’s Park: to the northeast, across the Mall, is the namesake St. James’s Palace.
The park is located in the heart of London’s political center and there are many important sights and landmarks in the vicinity. From the park you can see the many towers from Whitehall and theHorse Guards Parade, and famous sights like Trafalgar Square,Westminster Abbey and the former Palace of Westminster are all nearby. So is the Victoria Memorial, a large monument in front ofBuckingham Palace.
the soldiers of the Guards regiments who lost their lives during the World Wars. The memorial appropriately overlooks theHorse Guards parade ground.
On the northern edge of St. James’s Park, near the Mall, is the Royal Artillery South Africa Memorial, with a large statue of an allegorical figure of Peace controlling a winged horse, representing War. The memorial commemorates the Royal artillery soldiers who died during the Boer Wars.