St James' Exclusive Private Walking Tour
An outdoor tour which follows in the footsteps of the Royals!
Part of the Changing of the Guard ceremony to take place at Horse Guards parade
St James', otherwise known as 'London’s Royal Village', has entertained both Royalty and the gentry for hundreds of years and exploring this historic neighbourhood is a delight. From Henry VIII, the most notorious of the Tudor monarchs, to the Blitz, London's history is evident wherever you look on this tour.
The Changing of the Guard ceremony is Royal pageantry at its very best and we watch this extraordinary event from an angle the crowds rarely discover. It is magical to watch the soldiers marching, often accompanied by their band, in a ceremony that is over 350 years old! But how can you tell one regiment from another? Join me on a Hobnob tour to find out. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is not on every day - it is always a morning event so let me check the schedule before we finalise a date for your tour and fingers crossed it goes ahead - it can get cancelled at the last moment so the ceremony can't be guaranteed!
St James' is home to some of the most exclusive shops in town and the much coveted Royal Warrants, granted by King Charles III, are proudly on display outside many of them. We will walk past where the king buys his shoes; we'll saunter by St James’ Palace, the splendid setting for some of the most important events in Royal history and we'll walk through St James' Park, arguably the most beautiful of the eight Royal parks in and around the capital. Our tour then takes in the historic gentlemen's clubs, some of which still do not admit women as members, before arriving at St James' Square, the centrepiece of Henry Jermyn's housing estate for the aristocracy which became one of the most fashionable residential addresses for over a century.
As we wander along Jermyn Street (yes, it was named after Henry!), we'll wander past shops set up to provide the gentlemen with everything they could possibly want. Some of them began life as market stalls over 300 years ago but how they have changed since then! The wonderful Paxton & Whitfield is a good example; a cheese emporium like no other - with close to 100 artisan cheeses on display, it is a shop not to be missed. And then there's Floris, originally set up as a barbers shop, but now selling the most exquisite perfumes including James Bond's favourite fragrance and a perfume made to celebrate the late Queen's platinum jubilee.
But this is not all! During our tour we will be able to see Clarence House, home to King Charles and Queen Camilla, Buckingham Palace including the world famous balcony, Horse Guards Parade and the smallest square in London where the last duel in London was said to have been fought. As we follow in the footsteps of the royals, the gentlemen and the politicians, you will hear some fun facts about them all from across the centuries.
The meeting place for St James' private walking tours is under the Colonnade of the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly next to Green Park underground station.
If you would like to make this a longer tour, why not book a combined tour of St James' and Mayfair so you can hear how the aristocracy created Mayfair a few decades after the Royals had developed St James'. Alternatively, link it in with Westminster so you can see even more of Royal London. The combined St James'/Westminster tour allows us to enjoy three of the most iconic buildings in London, all with Royal connections: Westminster Abbey, Westminster Hall and the Houses of Parliament; this tour will last about 3 hours.
St James' Palace and park
Great Tours for children to see Changing of the Guard
This is a two and a half to three hour tour.
I guide small groups of up to 5 family or friends meaning that the maximum group size is 6 - 5 guests plus me.
If you would like to book a tour, please click the button below.