A shot of the historic wine merchants in the t James region of the West End of London. Berry Brothers and Rudd are one of Britain's oldest family-run businesses.

A stroll around St. James’s, London, England

In Cities, Days Out, London, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Rubbing shoulders with the Royals 

The district of St James’s in London’s West End is actually quite small, but, having said that it has to be one of the wealthiest too. 

The world-famous Ritz Hotel in London has featured in many films. This grand building on Piccadilly oozes style & sophistication.
The Ritz Hotel

Which isn’t surprising if you’ve got Buckingham Palace on your doorstep.

Just within a stone’s throw of each other, you have St James’s Palace, exclusive membership clubs and charming shops you’d expect to see in a Charles Dickens tale.

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St James’s runs from Piccadilly in the north to Haymarket in the east, which then skirts around by Trafalgar Square. It runs along The Mall and St. James’s Park in the south and then up by Green Park in the west. So, it’s petite and perfectly formed.
A traditional Routemaster London Red bus on and afternoon tea bus tour heading through the streets of St James' in London
The Afternoon Tea Bus Tour heading along St James's street

Want to discover more than about London?

We have a little book on our shelves that we sometimes delve into when we're about to hit an area of London.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different regions of London, it's a great resource to help you see what's hidden in plain sight.

Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves London.

I never knew that about London Cover

St. James’s Palace

St James’s Palace is still used today as a Royal residence for a few of the Royal family, one of which is Princess Royal.
The gatehouse entrance to St James' palace in London, with its large clock face between two brick built towers
St James’s Palace entrance

Within the grounds of St. James’s Palace is also Clarence House, which is home to Britain’s future King, the Prince of Wales and Charles’s wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

So, quite prestigious neighbours.

Discover more of London

We love exploring little bites of London, and we have a collection of posts you may enjoy - why not check one out?

Did you know?

One of the courtyards in St James’s Palace is Friary Court. It is from the Proclamation Gallery, which overlooks the yard that the announcement is made of the new Sovereign by the Garter King of Arms, following the death of the current monarch.
The empty open space of Friary Court surrounded on 3 sides by wings of St James’s Palace
Friary Court
I didn’t know this; you find out something new every day.

Halt, who goes there?

Just to let you know that not all the streets around St James’s Palace are accessible to the public, you may get stopped by a friendly armed policeman!

Queen’s Chapel

Just across Marlborough Road from Friary Court is the Queen’s Chapel, designed by Inigo Jones in 1623. It was completed in 1627 for Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I.
The 17th-century, Inigo Jones designed Queen’s Chapel, opposite St James' palace
The Queen’s Chapel
The chapel was used to lay the body of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, prior to her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.  You can’t peek in as the chapel isn’t open to the public.

A helpful guide

If you've yet to discover London and its ancient history, then let's start planning. I find these DK Eyewitness Travel Guides invaluable. They're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those fascinating sites.

You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.

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Pall Mall

During the 19th-century the area of St. James’s and particularly along Pall Mall was synonymous with Gentlemen’s Clubs, and became known as “Clubland”. Many of these clubs still exist and are frequented by the higher societies in life. 
The start of Pall Mall outside St James' palace in London
Pall Mall
A fairly hefty membership fee is a pre-requisite along with specific credentials and referrals. The buildings that some of these clubs are within are kept immaculately and a credit to their surroundings. 
The exterior of the Oxford & Cambridge Club on Pall Mall, in the City of Westminster, London
The Oxford & Cambridge Club

A few that we spotted were the Oxford & Cambridge Club at 71-76 Pall Mall, established in 1821.

The Royal Automobile Club at 89-91 Pall Mall which opened in 1897 and at 107 Pall Mall was 'The Athenaeum Club' dating from 1824.

The exterior of the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall, in the City of Westminster, London
The Royal Automobile Club
When we reached the Athenaeum Club filming was taking place on a period drama, signs were put on the club naming it the “Princess Theatre”. We’ll have to look out for this on the “silver screen”.
The Athenaeum Club, in London's St James' district, converted to the Princess Theatre for a movie production.
The Athenaeum Club in disguise

Tale of two cities

Did you know that London contains two cities, the City of Westminster which St. James’s is in, and to the east is the City of London, the financial district?  Then there' the rest of London.

Coffee is calling

There are some pretty unique and exclusive shops around here, along Jermyn Street you’ll find some quirky boutiques.
The stylish and historic Italian Franco’s Café on Jermyn Street, London
Franco’s Café

Also, a wonderful Italian café named Franco’s, it is believed that Franco’s was one of the first Italian restaurants in London.

Go treat yourself to a coffee!

A cup of cappuccino stencilled with Franco’s 'F' logo at Franco’s Café in St James's, London
Cappuccino at Franco’s Café

A little bit of shopping

After your well-deserved refreshment at Franco’s or your afternoon tea at The Ritz, head down St James’s Street. Along here are some “fine” establishments and a reminder of the English gentlemen’s prerequisite attire.
The frontage of the Emma Willis shop on Jermyn Street in the St James's region of London
Emma Willis- Jermyn St
Perhaps not where you or I will shop, however, these old businesses are a little piece of our history.

The Bowler Hat

Lock & Co. Hatters at no. 6 were established in 1676 and are the oldest hat shop in the world. They also were the creators of the Coke hat in 1849, now known as the Bowler hat.
The sign for Lock & Co. Hatters, hanging from their shop, on St James's Steet in the City of Westminster, London
Lock & Co. Hatters sign
The frontage of the Lock & Co. Hatters on St James's Steet in the City of Westminster, London
Lock & Co. Hatters
Lock and Co. Hatters like many establishments along here are Royal warrant holders; therefore, they are able to publicise that they supply their goods to the Royal family.

A few more stores

At no. 71 are Trueffit & Hill established in 1805 are a fine traditional gentlemen’s barbers and perfumers.

They are also by Royal Appointment and over two centuries have catered for all men’s grooming needs.

The frontage of the Trueffit & Hill Barbers on St James's Steet in the City of Westminster, London
Trueffit & Hill Barbers

John Lobb at no. 9 is a boot and shoemaker and has supplied footwear globally to the rich and famous, it was established in 1866.

Of course, to the Royal family as it also has Royal Appointment but historically to actors, singers, politicians and maharajahs.

The frontage of the John Lobb shop, boot and shoemaker, on St James's Steet in the City of Westminster, London
John Lobb - boot and shoemaker

Kingsman (Mr Porter) at no. 4 St. James’s is not to be confused with the Huntsman store on Saville Row.

The Huntsman was used as the inspiration for Matthew Vaughn’s blockbuster movie Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The frontage of the Kingman at Mr Porter, on St James's Steet in the City of Westminster, London
Kingsman at Mr Porter
Just next door at no. 3 in a Grade II listed building is Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd. wine and spirit merchants. This family-run business was founded over 300 years ago, in 1698 and is Britain's oldest wine and spirits merchant.
A shot of the historic wine merchants in the t James region of the West End of London. Berry brothers and Rudd are one of britain's oldest family run businesses.
Berry Bros & Rudd
It’s a lovely old shop and has wooden wine crates stacked all around. And yes, you guessed it Berry Bros & Rudd can also display the By Royal Appointment crest.
The courtyard of Berry Bros & Rudd in Pickering Place, St James's, City of Westminster, London
Berry Bros & Rudd in Pickering Place
If you stroll through Pickering Place, the alleyway next to it, you’ll come to a tranquil courtyard beyond.

A little bit of knowledge

Also, along Pickering Place is a brass plaque erected by The Anglo Texan Society, for the Texas Legation.

It was here between 1842 & 1845 that a diplomatic mission was established.

The brass Texas Legation plaque attached to an archway on St James's Street, City of Westminster, London
The Texas Legation plaque

While we were wandering around, we came across various blue and green plaques, that you so often see dotted around the streets of London.

Along St. James’s Place was a green plaque for Sir Winston Churchill, showing where lived during 1880 and 1883

A City of Westminster Green Plaque on the house Winstone Churchill lived as a child in St James's place, London
Childhood London home of Sir Winston Churchill
In the same street was a green plaque to where Sir Francis Chichester KBE, lived during 1944-1972. Sir Francis Chichester was a pioneering British aviator, sailor and author and he single-handedly circumnavigated the globe in 1966-67.
A Green Plaque from the Westminster City Council for Sir Francis Chichester who lived in St James's place from 1944 until his death
Plaque to Sir Francis Chichester KBE
The Blue Plaque to Frederic Chopin in St James's place in the City of Westminster, London
Blue Plaque to Frederic Chopin
Still within the same road was also a blue plaque for the Polish composer Frederic Chopin. On 16th November 1948, Chopin made his last public appearance at London's Guildhall.

Let us know ...

... If you’ve visited any of London’s fascinating districts with so much history, we’d love to hear about them?

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Inspired to visit the St James's district of London?

The nearest underground station to St. James’s is Green Park or Piccadilly Circus.
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