St James's Palace and gardens were built for Henry VIII between 1531 and 1536. Its name came from former leper hospital (named after Saint James the Less). Like Henry VIII's other London Palaces (Whitehall Palace and Hampton Court) it was built in red-brick and a renaissance courtyard style. The internal paved court was always a service yard (base court) and is now used as a car park. The renaissance garden compartments, shown in the c1700 drawings, survive as gardens but have been converted to a gardenesque style. The palace is still occupied by members of the royal family. It is not open to the public but it is interesting to walk the perimeter and glimples of the internal courtyard can be obtained. You can see behind its Tudor walls by examining the aerial view (click tab for Large Map and Directions). The tree-lined baroque avenue in front of the palace was used for croquet (then called Pelle Mel). It is now The Mall and functions as a processional route from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace (neither of which existed when St James's Palace was built).
The Mall, London, Greater London, England
Not open to the public