St James's Area Guide

St James’s is a long-established area in London, with a history as a residential hotspot for wealthy aristocrats. Today, it is bustling destination famous for its old English shops, chic restaurants, Royal Park and members clubs. The area is quintessentially English and adored by locals and tourists alike.

The Location

St James’s is a relatively small area in Central London in the Borough of the City of Westminster. It is surrounded by Piccadilly to the north, Haymarket to the east, Green Park to the west and St James’s Park to the south.

It is well connected by both the Underground and Overground services and Buckingham Palace is just a few minutes away! This elegant, relatively quiet enclave of London is home to some of the most impressive houses in the capital.

The History of St James's

The area is named after a 12th-century medieval hospital, which was built by King Henry VIII in 1531 and stood on the site of what is now St James’s Palace.

King Henry VIII obtained this plot because he wanted to adorn the newly obtained Whitehall Palace with a park. As the hospital had 185 acres of land, he thought this was the perfect solution. In time, this land became St James’s Park, London’s oldest royal park. Once complete, St James’s Palace became the residence of kings and queens of England for over 300 years and still remains the official residence of the Sovereign.

The proximity to the royal residences influenced the character of the area; elegant homes were constructed along with influential trade stores such as Boodles, Christie’s and Fortnum and Mason.

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, many coffee houses were opened here, particularly in St James’s Street and Pall Mall; which was the meeting place for men who helped develop political discussion. These coffee house meetings evolved into the famous gentlemen’s clubs of the 18th century, such as White’s and Brooks.

Living in St James's

St James’s is a charming area of London, with a fantastic selection of elegant homes and world-renowned shops. The historic streets of St James’s have remained virtually unchanged for centuries and are still home to gentlemen’s clubs and shops with a rich trading history.

The area is home to the iconic British department store Fortnum and Mason, Christie’s Auction House and the tailors of Jermyn Street - one of London’s most elegant thoroughfares and cigar retailers. There are also many arts and antique dealers concentrated around King Street.

Neighbouring the properties of St James’s are numerous art galleries that cover a variety of tastes. There are also lots of restaurants in St James’s like Scully’s and 45 Jermyn St, so if you want to grab a bite to eat or a cocktail, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Pall Mall, one of London’s most famous streets is situated here, connecting St James’s to Trafalgar Square. Adjacent is The Mall which connects to Buckingham Palace – definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. St James’s Park is London’s oldest Royal Park and boasts plenty of green space, a lake and views of the nearby capital.

Buying Property in St James's

Properties in St James’s are some of the most sought after in the world and have some of the highest rents around. Although, residents have the most famous neighbours at Buckingham Palace! It is the perfect location for those looking for a luxury retreat from the urban city centre.

St James’s has a great selection of charming properties with beautiful Georgian architecture and modern spaces, surrounded by world-renowned shops and lots of green space - ideal for purchasers who are searching for a historic London property.

Find out more about buying or renting in St James’s and other luxury areas in London in our Borough guide.