If you would like to stroll through King Henry VIII’s private hunting ground, book a room in a discount hotel near St. James Park in London. This park was once a swamp, but Henry had it drained so it could be incorporated into his royal hunting preserve. Years later, King Charles II had it redesigned as a pedestrian park. Today, St. James Park is considered to be the most attractive of all of London’s green spaces. It has a lake at its center, and from a footbridge that spans the lake, there is an uninterrupted view westward of Buckingham Palace. To the east you can see the rear of the classical government offices, as well as the domes and turrets of the National Liberal Club. To the south is Clarence House, formerly the home of the Queen Mother. It is now the home of Prince Charles. Tours are available, but must be pre-booked. Admiralty Arch is at the northern tip of the park.
Birdcage Walk along the park’s southern edge gets its name from an aviary Charles II had installed there. It offers a great view of the rooftops of Whitehall. If you book a room at a budget hotel in London near St. James Park in the summer, you can enjoy concerts at the bandstand. Come to Duck Island Cottage at 3 pm, and watch the pelicans being fed. They are descendants of a pair given to Charles II by a Russian ambassador.