St Jamess

St lames's is where the aristocrats are entertained in exclusive gentlemen's clubs (the Army and Navy sort as opposed to lap-dancing), and whose refined tastes are catered to in the many galleries, historic shops and elegant buildings. Despite much commercial development, its matter-of-fact elitism remains intact, and as you enter the seat of royal London along the grand, processional Mall that sweeps alongside the gorgeous St lames's Park, up to Buckingham Palace and the Queen's driveway, you'll see why.

INFORMATION

Marie Stopes International 1 A3

University College Hospital 2 B3

SIGHTS (pp89-93)

British Museum 3 D5

Building Centre 4 B5

Dickens House Museum 5 F3

New London Architecture (see 4)

Perclval David Foundation of Chinese Art 6 C3

Petrle Museum of Egyptian

Archaeology 7 B3

Pollock's Toy Museum 8 B4

St George's Bloomsbury 9 D5

Habitat 10 B4

Sterns Music 11 A3

EATING HI (pp235-75)

Abeno 12 D6

Hummus Bros 13 E5

North Sea Fish Restaurant 14 D2

Shiok 15 E4

DRINKING QQ (pp277-96)

King's Bar 16 D3

Lamb 17 F3

Lord John Russell 18 D2

Museum Tavern 19 D5

Perseverance 20 F3

Queen's Larder 21 E4

ARTS 0 (pp311-21)

Place 22 C1

Renoir 23 D3

GAY & LESBIAN (pp331-37)

Cay's the Word 24 D2

Academy Hotel 25 C4

Ambassadors Bloomsbury 26 C1

Arosfa 27 B4

Arran House Hotel 28 B4

Crescent Hotel 29 C2

Generator 30 D2

Grange Blooms Hotel 31 D4

Harllngford Hotel 32 D2

Hotel Cavendish (see 28)

Jenkins Hotel 33 C2

Jesmond Hotel 34 B4

Morgan

Hotel 35 C5

Rldgemount

Hotel (see 34)

The district took shape when Charles II moved his court to St James's Palace in the 17th century, and the toffs followed. The great Georgian squares - Berkeley, Hanover and Grosvenor - were built in the next century, by which time St James's was largely filled. By 1900 it was the most fashionable part of London, teeming with theatres, restaurants and boutiques. Savile Row is still where gentlemen go for tailoring, Bond Sts (old and new) are where ladies go for jewellery, and Cork St is where they go together for expensive art. Some residents couldn't keep up with the Joneses of St James's and moved out, to be replaced by businesses, offices and embassies. Grosvenor Sq is dominated by the US embassy.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE Map pp96-7

@ 7766 7300, for disabled access 7766 7324; www .royalcollection.org.uk; Buckingham Palace Rd SW1; adult/child/concession/family £15/8.50/13.50/38.50; S 9.30am-4,30pm 28 Jul-25 Sep, timed ticket with admission every 15min; -6- St James's Park, Victoria or Green Park; ®

Built in 1705 as Buckingham House for the duke of the same name, this palace has provided the royal family's London lodgings since 1837, when St James's Palace was judged too old-fashioned and insufficiently impressive. It is dominated by the 25m-high Queen Victoria Memorial at the end of the Mall. Tickets for the palace are on sale from a kiosk in Green Park.

After a series of crises and embarrassing revelations in the early 1990s, the royal spin doctors cranked things up a gear to try and rally public support behind the royals once again, and it was decided to swing open the royal doors of Buck House to the public for the first time. Well, to 19 of the 661 rooms, at least. And only during August and September, when HRH is holidaying in Scotland. And for a veritable king's ransom, but still, we mustn't quibble - no price is too great for an opportunity to see the Windsors' Polaroids plastered all over the fridge door.

The 'working rooms' are stripped down each summer for the arrival of the commoners, and the usual carpet is replaced with industrial-strength rugs, so the rooms don't look all that lavish. The tour starts in the Guard Room, too small for the Ceremonial Guard who are deployed in adjoining quarters; allows a peek inside the State Dining Room (all red damask and Regency furnishings); then moves on to the Blue Drawing Room, with a gorgeous fluted ceiling by John Nash; to the White Drawing Room, where foreign ambassadors are received; and to the Ballroom, where official receptions and state banquets are held. The Throne Room is pretty hilarious with kitschy his-and-hers pink chairs initialled 'ER' and 'P', sitting smugly under what looks like a theatre arch.

The most interesting part of the tour (for all but the royal sycophants) is the 76.5m-long Picture Gallery, featuring splendid works from the likes of Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Poussin, Canova and Vermeer, although the likes of these and much more are yours for free at the National Gallery. Wandering the gardens is another highlight here - it's bound to give you a real royal feeling.

Book in advance for disabled access.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

g§ 7766 7300; Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Rd SW1; 1.30am daily Apr-Jul & alternate days, weather permitting Aug-Mar; -e- St James's Park or Victoria

This is a London 'must see' - if you actually get to see anything from the crowds. The old guard (Foot Guards of the Household Regiment) comes off duty to be replaced by the new guard on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, and tourists get to gape - sometimes from behind as many as 10 people - at the bright red uniforms and bearskin hats of shouting and marching soldiers for just over half an hour. The official name for the ceremony is Guard Mounting, which, we dare say, sounds more interesting.

QUEEN'S GALLERY Map pp96-7

@ 7766 7300; www.the-royal-collection.com; southern wing, Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Rd SW1; adult/child/concession £8/4/7; S 10am-5.30pm; -e-St James's Park or Victoria; ®

Paintings, sculpture, ceramics, furniture and jewellery are among the items displayed in the collection of art amassed by the royals over 500 years. The splendid gallery was originally designed by John Nash as a conservatory. It was converted into a chapel for Victoria in 1843, destroyed in a 1940 air raid and reopened as a gallery in 1962. A £20 million renovation for the Golden Jubilee in 2002 enlarged the entrance and added a Greek Doric portico, a multimedia centre and three times as much display space. Entrance to the gallery is through Buckingham Gate.

ROYAL MEWS Map pp96-7

@ 7766 7302; www.the-royal-collection.com; Buckingham Palace Rd SW1; adult/child/concession £7/4.50/6; S 11am-4pm Mar-Jul, 10am-5pm Aug & Sep; -e Victoria; ®

South of the palace, the Royal Mews started life as a falconry but is now a working stable looking after the royals' immaculately groomed horses, along with the opulent vehicles the monarchy uses for getting from A to B. Highlights include the stunning gold coach of 1762, which has been used for every coronation since that of George III, and the Glass Coach of 1910, used for royal weddings. The Mews is closed in June during the four-day racing carnival of Royal Ascot, when the royal heads try to win some money on the horses.

ST JAMES'S PARK Map pp96-7

@ 7930 1793; The Mall SW1; S 5am-dusk; ■e St James's Park

This is one of the smallest but most gorgeous of London's parks. It has brilliant views of the London Eye, Westminster, St James's Palace, Carlton Terrace and Horse Guards Parade, and the view of Buckingham Palace from the footbridge spanning St James's Park Lake is the best you'll find (get those cameras out). The central lake is full of different types of ducks, geese, swans and general fowl, and its southern side's rocks serve as a rest stop for pelicans (fed at 3pm daily). Some of the technicol-our flowerbeds were modelled on John Nash's original 'floriferous' beds of mixed shrubs, flowers and trees, and old-age squirrel feeders congregate under the trees daily, with bags of nuts and bread. Spring and summer days see Londoners and tourists alike sunbathing, picnicking and generally enjoying the sunshine, though sometimes in annoyingly large numbers. Nearby the popular café and restaurant Inn the Park (p245) stands the National Police Memorial, one column of marble and another of glass. Conceived by film director Michael (Death Wish) Winner and designed by architect Norman Foster and artist Per Arnoldi, it pays tribute to 1600 'bobbies' who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

ST JAMES'S PALACE Map pp96-7

Cleveland Row SW1; closed to the public; ■©■ Green Park

The striking Tudor gatehouse of St James's Palace, the only surviving part of a building initiated by the palace-mad Henry VIII in 1530, is best approached from St James's St to the north of the park. This was the official residence of kings and queens for more than three centuries and foreign ambassadors are still formally accredited to the Court of St James, although the tea and biscuits are actually served at Buckingham Palace. Princess Diana, who hated this place, lived here up until her divorce from Charles in 1996, when she moved to Kensington Palace. Prince Charles and his sons stayed on at St James's until 2004, before decamping next door to Clarence House, leaving St James's Palace to a brace of

THE WEST END: ST JAMES'S, WESTMINSTER & WHITEHALL

THE WEST END: ST JAMES'S, WESTMINSTER & WHITEHALL

Clarence House James Palace

SIGHTS (pp93-105)

Banqueting House 1 H1

Big Ben 2 H3

Buckingham Palace 3 C3

Buckingham Palace Ticket Office

(Summer Only) 4 D2

Cenotaph 5 G2

Churchill Museum & Cabinet

War Rooms 6 02

Clarence House 7 D2

Duke of York Column 8 F1

Green Park 9 C1

Guards Museum 10 D3

Horse Guards Parade 11 G1

Houses of Parliament 12 H3

Institute of Contemporary Arts...13 F1

National Police Memorial 14 F1

No 10 Downing Street 15 G2

Queen Victoria Memorial 16 D2

Queen's Chapel 17 E1

Queen's Gallery 18 C3

Royal Mews 19 C4

St James's Palace 20 D1

St John's, Smith Square 21 G5

St Stephen's Entrance 22 H3

Spencer House 23 D1

Tate Britain 24 G6

Westminister Abbey 25 G3

ARTS 03 (pp311-21)

Institute of Contemporary Arts .(see 13)

City Inn 29 G6

Metropolitan 30 A1

Sanctuary House Hotel 31 F3

minor royals including Charles's famously tetchy sister, Princess Anne. Don't get too close in case she sends out a footman to tell you to naff off.

CLARENCE HOUSE Map pp96-7

@ 7766 7303, for disabled access 7766 7324; Cleveland Row SW1; guided tour adult/concession £7/4; S 9.30am-5pm Aug-Oct; -e Green Park; cK

After his beloved granny the Queen Mum died in 2002, Prince Charles got the tradesmen into her former home of Clarence House and spent £4.6 million of taxpayers' money reshaping the house to his own design. The 'royal residences are held in trust for future generations', but the current generation has to pay to have a look at five official rooms when the Prince, his sons and Camilla are away on their summer hols. The highlight is the former Queen Mum's small art collection, including one painting by playwright Noël Coward and others by WS Sickert and Sir James Gunn. Admission is by tour only, which must be booked (far in advance); book also for disabled access. The house was originally designed by John Nash in the early 19th century, but - as Prince Charles wasn't the first royal to call in the redecorators - has been modified much since.

SPENCER HOUSE Map pp96-7

@ 7499 8620; www.spencerhouse.co.uk; 27 St James's PI SW1; adult/concession £9/7; S 10.30am-5.45pm Sun, last entry 4.45pm, closed Jan & Aug; -e Green Park; ®

Just outside the park, Spencer House was built for the first Earl Spencer, an ancestor of Princess Diana, in the Palladian style between 1756 and 1766. The Spencers moved out in 1927 and their grand family home was used as an office, until Lord Rothschild stepped in and returned it to its former glory in 1987 with an £18 million restoration. Visits to the eight lavishly furnished rooms of the house are by guided tour only.

The gardens, returned to their 18th-century design, are open only between 2pm and 5pm on a couple of Sundays in summer. Tickets cost £3.50 or £11 for combined house and garden entry.

QUEEN'S CHAPEL Map PP96-7

Marlborough RdSW1; S only for Sunday services at 8.30am & 11.15am Apr-Jul; -e St James's Park

The royal sights generally don't leave people breathless, but this one may touch your heartstrings: it's where all the contemporary royals from Princess Diana to the Queen Mother have lain in their coffins in the run-up to their funerals. The church was originally built by Inigo Jones in the Palladian style and was the first post-Reformation church in England built for Roman Catholic worship. It was once part of St James's Palace but was separated after a fire. The simple interior has exquisite 17th-century fittings and is atmospherically illuminated by light streaming in through the large windows above the altar.

GREEN PARK Map pp96-7

Piccadilly W1; S5am-dusk; -e Green Park

Less manicured than the adjoining St James's, this park has wonderful huge oaks and hilly meadows, and it's never as crowded as St James's. It was once a duelling ground and served as a vegetable garden during WWII.

GUARDS MUSEUM Map PP96-7

@ 7976 0850; www.theguardsmuseum.com; Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk SW1; adult/child/ concession £3/free/2; S 10am-4pm Feb-Dec, last entry 3.30pm; -e St James's Park; <K

If you found the crowds at the Changing of the Guards tiresome and didn't see a thing, get here for 10.50am on any day from April to August to see the guards entering formation outside the museum, for their march up to Buckingham Palace. In addition, check out the history of the five regiments of foot guards and their role in military campaigns from Waterloo on, in this little museum established in the 17th century during the reign of Charles II. There are uniforms, oil paintings, medals, curios and memorabilia that belonged to the soldiers. Perhaps the biggest draw here is the huge collection of toy soldiers in the shop.

INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS Map pp96-7

ICA; @ 7930 3647; www.ica.org.uk; The Mall SW1; day membership adult/concession Mon-Fri £2/1.50, Sat, Sun & during exhibitions £3/2; S noon-10.30pm Mon,to 2am Tue-Sat,to 11pm Sun; -e- Charing Cross or Piccadilly Circus; ® Housed in a traditional building along the Mall, the ICA (as it's locally known) is as untraditional as you can possibly get. This was where Picasso and Henry Moore had their first UK shows, and ever since then the institute has sat comfortably on the cutting and controversial edge of the British arts world, with an excellent range of experimental/progressive/radical/obscure films, music and club nights, photography, art, theatre, lectures, multimedia works and book readings. Sure, you may see an exhibition here and come out none the wiser - we often do - and the place has been known to award a £26,000 prestigious sculpture prize for what was essentially a wonky shed, but the institute's programme is generally fantastic. Plus there's the licensed ICA Bar & Restaurant (S to 2am most nights). The complex also includes an excellent bookshop, gallery, cinema and theatre.

The Duke of York Column, up the steps beside the ICA into Waterloo PI, commemorates a son of George III. It was erected in 1834, but never quite caught the public imagination like Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Sq, although it's only 6m shorter.

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