The most famous palace in the world is just one of a string of sumptuous palaces and luscious parklands against which the drama of royal and urban theatre unfolds
The red tarmac applied to the Mall is a big clue towards the crucial ceremonial responsibilities that this part of London holds and there is no other location in the city where the principles of architecture and performance are more intrinsically entwined. Every single architectural and natural feature here, from flagpoles to lampposts, balconies to archways, trees to fountains, is recruited for the ultimate role they will play when the streets come alive for the pomp and pageantry of royal events. But even when the streets are silent, the spectacular buildings that form the props in this stirring stage-set still quiver with architectural drama and excitement.
As a relatively rare London example of the kind of axial town-planning more common in European cities, this district of the capital reveals the city at its most formal and dramatic with plunging vistas and symmetrical positioning brimming from every corner. Additionally, as several of the buildings and monuments are dressed in the most exuberant brand of Edwardian Barqoue, they drip luxuriantly with statuary and ornamentation with surfaces that come alive with movement, animation and depth. And even in this most formal of settings, the constant natural presence of the surrounding trees and parklands ensures a rich, organic and typically London subtext to the most powerful piece of urban theatre the capital has to offer.
St. James's Palace
WALK START LOCATION: Charing Cross tube station (Trafalgar Square Exit) / Map
WALK ENDS: Near Green Park station