52 things to do in St James's

Looking along Waterloo Place on a clear day, with the Guards Crimean War Memorial in the foreground.
Guards Crimean War Memorial at Waterloo Place © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid
Despite being among London’s most historic neighbourhoods, St James’s is still one of the city’s true hidden gems.

Experience St James’s unique mix of shopping and dining. Seek out heritage brands and cutting-edge fashion, try traditional and modern eateries and while away an afternoon at gorgeous galleries in this stylish London area.

Where is St James's?

St James’s sits within the London Borough of the City of Westminster, in central London. It’s close to London’s West End and Mayfair.

Lining its northern boundary, Piccadilly connects Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus, and features some of London’s most famous shops, hotels and attractions; from Fortnum & Mason and The Ritz to the Royal Academy of Arts.

Haymarket and Piccadilly Circus mark its eastern edge and are home to historic theatres, family favourites such as Lillywhites and the famous Piccadilly Circus lights.

Its southern and western borders are two of London’s Royal Parks: St James’s Park to the south and Green Park to the west.

Top St James’s attractions

Piccadilly Circus at dusk, with the statue of Eros in the foreground, and a red London bus and the iconic wall of LED lights in the background.
Piccadilly Circus and the statue of Eros. ©Jon Reid/Visit London.

From the iconic to the quirky, there are plenty of things to see in St James’s.

  1. You can’t fail to snap a selfie in front of the famous display at Piccadilly Circus, made up of more than 11 million LED bulbs.
  2. Or pose with the statue of Anteros (more commonly referred to as Eros) in the centre of the famous junction.
  3. Discover world-class art at the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, which hosts the famous Summer Exhibition each year.
  4. Expand your mind at the Institute of Contemporary Arts with talks, film screenings and innovative exhibitions.
  5. Find a quiet spot in nearby St James’s Park or Green Park to relax with a book.
  6. Seek out quality artworks at small-scale galleries such as Stern Pissarro and 3812 Gallery.
  7. Watch the world go by from leafy St James’s Square on weekdays.
  8. Check out the stunning altar piece at St James’s Church Piccadilly, which has a food or arts market in its yard on most days.
  9. Say hello to the statue of local dandy, Beau Brummell, on Jermyn Street.
  10. Catch a glimpse of St James’s Palace, home to Princess Anne and other members of the royal family. Unlike nearby Buckingham Palace, which opens every summer, this royal residence is not open to the public.

Must-visit St James’s shops

St James’s is one of London’s top shopping destinations, full of high-end fashion, traditional artisans, Royal Warrant holders and foodie hotspots.

Liven up your wardrobe

Exterior view through a window at Dover Street Market sign in London
Window shopping at Dover Street Market. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Find the latest trends in urban and streetwear at concept store Dover Street Market.
  2. Pop between the tiny shops of Piccadilly Arcade and Princes Arcade, which connect Jermyn Street to Piccadilly.
  3. Go on a shopping spree along Jermyn Street, the home of men’s fashion. Check out Emma Willis for unique ties, Charles Tyrwhitt and Harvie & Hudson for shirts, or splash out with New & Lingwood’s elegant slippers and dressing gowns.
  4. Or pick up womenswear and accessories at the likes of Hawes & Curtis or bag specialist Osprey.
  5. Finish your look with shoes from Loake and Barker or find your ideal hat at Lock & Co.
  6. Grab bargains in sportswear and trainers at multi-level Lillywhites.

Best for gifts

  1. Floris on Jermyn Street not only sells high-end fragrances, you can even craft your own signature scent! Don’t miss its tiny museum at the back of the store.
  2. Sparkling accessories await you at the royal jeweller Bentley & Skinner.

Foodie delights

  1. Fortnum & Mason, fondly known as “the Queen’s grocer” due to its Royal Warrant, is a treasure trove of produce, homewares and hampers.
  2. Step into a colourful world of chocolatey treats at Prestat.
  3. Sniff out your favourites at the famous cheesemonger, Paxton & Whitfield.

Treat yourself

  1. Peruse the paperbacks and hardbacks across six floors at Waterstones Piccadilly, the largest bookshop in the UK. Or explore London’s oldest bookshop, Hatchards, a few doors away.
  2. Marvel at the shiny appliances at Smeg's flagship London store. Or even plan your dream kitchen!
  3. Put your wellbeing first at Anatome, suppliers of therapeutic oils and health products.

St James's restaurants for memorable meals

The darkly lit interior of The Wolseley.
Step inside The Wolseley for a sumptuous brunch. Image courtesy of The Wolseley.
  1. Spanning modern Michelin-starred hangouts, historic eateries and family favourites, St James’s is a great place for dining, whatever the time.
  2. Treat yourself to a shopping pit stop at The Ritz or Fortnum & Mason: classy spots for sumptuous afternoon teas.
  3. Start the day with brunch at The Wolseley, a lively all-day eatery housed in a former car showroom. Or pick up a Danish pastry at Ole & Steen.
  4. Estiatorio Milos flies in fresh fish from Greece every day! Splash out with shellfish from the raw bar or classics such as octopus and langoustines.
  5. Take your pick of restaurants at dining hub St James’s Market. Boundary-pushing West African flavours at Michelin-starred Ikoyi, Scandi-inspired dishes at Aquavit, and locally-sourced delights at Scully await.
  6. ...or try the famous duck and waffle dish at Duck & Waffle Local.
  7. Grab a spot for people-watching along Jermyn Street at stylish eateries 45 Jermyn Street, Rowleys or Wiltons.
  8. Try creations from some of London’s top chefs, including Angela Hartnett’s Café Murano and Anthony Demetre’s Wild Honey.

St James’s pubs, bars and watering holes

  1. Shaken or stirred? Dukes Bar is the home of James Bond’s famous Vesper martini – get there early to secure a spot.
  2. Or sip on classic cocktails and signature creations beneath hundreds of ties at art-deco-styled The American Bar at The Stafford.
  3. A bar? In a bookshop? Why not! Swans Bar at Maison Assouline mixes cocktails with classics in its intimate bar.
  4. Sprawl out on the terrace, cosy up with a drink or enjoy alcohol-free tipples at gastropub The Beau Brummell.
  5. Catch all the live sporting action at Rileys Sports Bar on Haymarket, with more than 30 screens plus pool, ping pong and darts.

Something for the evening…

The cast of The Phantom of the opera on stage wearing colourful costumes and masks.

Whether you’re catching a musical, play and comedy or are staying out until the early hours, enjoy St James’s nightlife your way.

  1. Book a spot for long-running West End show, The Phantom of the Opera London.
  2. Or see classic plays in the intimate setting of tiny Jermyn Street Theatre.
  3. Party to RnB, house and more every night of the week until 3am at Haymarket nightclub Tiger Tiger.
  4. Stock up on sweet or salty popcorn and settle down for the latest big-screen release at Empire Cinema.

Unmissable events in St James's

Fill up your diary with events at St James's throughout the year.

  1. Welcome in the New Year during the colourful New Year’s Day Parade featuring more than 10,000 people, floats and bands.
  2. The St Patrick’s Day Parade travels through the area each March – line the streets to enjoy lots of Irish-themed fun.
  3. Celebrate London’s LGBT+ community each summer during the Pride in London Parade.
  4. Get in the festive spirit during the Christmas lights switch-on each year, as Jermyn Street becomes pedestrianised for an evening full of warming food and entertainment.
  5. Find lots of one-off St James’s events throughout the area, from London Fashion Week pop-ups to workshops, summer screenings and tours.

Hip and historic hotels in St James's

A view of the Palm Court, including palm trees on either side of marble columns, a marble floor and dining tables with white tablecloths.
Palm Court at The Ritz London. Image courtesy of The Ritz London.

Stay right in the heart of the area at these stylish St James’s hotels.

  1. Enjoy ultimate luxury with a stay at five-star The Ritz London or Sofitel London St James.
  2. Snuggle up in four-star The Cavendish, once owned by “The Duchess of Jermyn Street” Rosa Lewis, who was rumoured to have had an affair with King Edward VII.
  3. Go for a dip at the indoor pool while at family-friendly Le Méridien Piccadilly.
  4. Snap away at the boho interiors of Haymarket Hotel designed by Kit Kemp.
  5. Not only home to James Bond’s favourite bar, Dukes Hotel has plenty of timeless charm in its rooms and suites.
  6. See eye to eye with Admiral Nelson in Trafalgar Square from The Trafalgar St James, home to a trendy rooftop bar.

How to get to St James's

St James’s is handily located within three minutes’ walk of two Tube stations: Green Park (Victoria, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines) to the west and Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines) to the east.

If you’re arriving by train, alight at London Charing Cross, which is also connected to the Tube network on the Bakerloo and Northern lines and is just five minutes away. Train services connect Charing Cross to south-east destinations such as Hastings, Ashford and Medway.

Numerous bus routes skirt St James’s along Piccadilly and Haymarket, while some routes serve Regent Street St James’s, Charles II Street/Waterloo Place and Cockspur Street.

More about St James’s

Find out more about St James’s at stjameslondon.co.uk

Visit more London neighbourhoods

Where to next? Check out other top London areas, including nearby West End, Mayfair and Westminster.