London is evolving. Everywhere I look there’s a crane or three putting up a new building or renovating an existing one. And one of the London neighborhoods that has undergone big changes recently is St James’s. Right in the heart of the city, the area has some of London’s longest-lived shops as well as its newest restaurants. If you want to see what’s tried and true or new and noteworthy, today I bring you my quick guide to St James’s, London.

St James's, London

St James’s, London

Bounded on two sides by parks and two by thoroughfares, St James’s sits in a busy location. But despite its proximity to Piccadilly Circus and Buckingham Palace the neighborhood has its share of quiet lanes, secret courtyards, and oh-so-British atmosphere.

Car in St James's, London

Streets in St James’s

One of my favorite things to do is get lost in the streets. I love walking down Jermyn Street, which is known for its traditional men’s shops, and ducking down skinny alleys like Crown Passage and Pickering Place.

Pickering Place, London

That’s to say nothing of the shopping arcades, which are fun to browse at any time but really come alive at Christmas. From Princes Arcade off Piccadilly to Royal Opera Arcade off Pall Mall, they offer glimpses into London’s retail history.

Royal Opera Arcade, London

Waterloo Place and Pall Mall are also windows into London’s past. The former is used for filming seemingly every period drama set in the city, and the latter is brimming with members’ clubs that date back centuries.

Double Decker Bus in St James's, London

But it’s not just old streets that appeal. There are modern passages in St James’s, too (or at least ones that look it). St James’s Market and Norris Street are full of newly opened restaurants and cafes like Ole And Steen, as well as art installations and funky benches.

Ole and Steen, London

Things to Do in St James’s

The same goes for art. while there are plenty of art galleries in St James’s selling Old Masters, the White Cube keeps things contemporary.

St James's, London

And it’s not just buildings and their interiors that keep me entertained while I’m in the neighborhood. I love soaking up the greenery in St James’s Square Garden and taking in the brickwork at St James’s Palace.

St James's Palace

If I’m in a shopping mood, Fortnum & Mason always has something delicious and Hatchards is my inner book lover’s dream.

Hatchards Bookshop

Bars and Restaurants in St James’s

Down the road I have a weakness for breakfast at the Wolseley and afternoon tea at The Ritz, and around the corner I’m always up for pasta at Franco’s or curry at Chutney Mary.

Chutney Mary, London

If it’s after dinner, Dukes Bar serves some of the world’s most famous (and lethal) martinis, and the American Bar at the Stafford is a local fixture.

The Stafford, London

Given how much the area is changing, there may be more London institutions being born in St James’s as I write. And that’s why I love the area so much. It’s one of the most traditional in the city, but like the rest of London it’s still evolving. I can’t wait to see what it comes up with next.

How about you? What are your favorite places in St James’s, London?

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St James's, London

9 Comments on Lady’s Quick Guide to St James’s, London

  1. We discovered the Wolseley on our last trip to London. Absolutely loved it!

    What is the name of the outdoor restaurant in the last picture? It is adorable!

  2. hello.. im planning to visit UK since i have a brother there with his family.. i am very inspired with your blog, it is so beautiful there.. i also love taking pictures.. hehehe..

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