Set between the grounds of St James’s Palace and the iconic abode to the Queen of England, Buckingham Palace; few picnic spots are as breathtakingly regal as St James’s Park, a 58-acre (23-hectare) stretch, located a short stroll from many of central London’s key tourist attractions.
As well as offering a pocket of greenery amidst the urban sprawl of Central London, the Park’s proximity to Buckingham Palace makes it a popular spot to watch the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony, where the uniformed palace guards change over in an elaborate march and band performance. In addition, the park’s Horse Guards Parade hosts the annual Trooping the Colour military parade to mark the Queen's official birthday, along with the Beating Retreat, a floodlit spectacular featuring marching bands from the Cavalry and Foot Guard regiments, held each June.
A number of attractions grace the park’s interior, most notable of which is the Queen Victoria Memorial, commemorating the legendary ruler’s 1901 death. The 25 meter-high monument, carved from white Carrara marble, stands at the heart of the Memorial gardens, a series of formal flowerbeds and protected landmarks designed by Sir Aston Webb. More recently, the park has become a key part of the seven-mile Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, passing through locations significant to the beloved people’s princess and in 2012, the Diamond Jubilee Floral Crown was unveiled - a floral recreation of the crown used in the Queen’s coronation ceremony, set on the north side of the lake.
Open to walkers, cyclists and dogs, the park features a restaurant, summer deck chairs and a number of refreshment stalls dotted around its many walkways.