St. James’s Park, is the oldest castle garden owned by the British monarchy. The park is located in City of Westminster, Central London with an area of 23 hectares. St. James’s Park is surrounded by three palaces namely Buckingham Palace in the west, St James’s Palace in the north and the Palace of Westminster or now known as the House of Parliament in the south. In the middle of the park there is a lake there are two islands, the West Island and Duck Island.
St. James’s Park in antiquity is a forest with vast expanse of grassland with many swamps. This area was then used as agricultural land and livestock. In the 13th century, established a special hospital for leprosy patients, namely St. James’s Hospital. Since then, the area around the hospital named St. James’s area.
Most areas of St. James’s this form of swamps because it is one place that is often impassable by the flood of the river Tyburn prior to the River Thames. A forest area accompanied by the swamp to make this place as an ideal place for hunting, one of the predilection of the king of England at that time, King Henry VIII. He then bought most of this area and make it as a place to hunt deer. In addition, he also established a castle in the area, known as the St. James’s Palace.
At that time, the official residence of the king was the Palace of Westminster. In the reign of King James I, precisely in 1603, this area, then dried and made into a park. A park with several ponds, lakes and even an island where they’re king put some pet animals such as camels, crocodiles or elephants. The park is known as the St. James’s Park.
At the time of King Charles II seized the throne, he ordered St. James’s Park was redesigned. He uses the services of the French landscaper namely Andre Dr Molet to change the appearance of the park. In the middle of the park created a small river along 2560 feet to the width is 126 feet, with a wide variety of trees planted by its side. In the reign of King Charles II is St. James’s Park opened to the public.
Some changes to the St James’s Park occurred in the 19th century to become a park with a more natural style. Small river in the middle of the park there is then converted into a lake there are two islands. Besides St. James’s Park, some of the surrounding areas were also built like Buckingham Palace, Regent’s Park and Regent’s Street.
The renovation was done under the direction of architect John Nash and the last big change until today. One of the main attractions of St. James’s Park is a lake located in the middle of the park. In the middle of the lake there are two small islands, namely West Island and Duck Island. A duck Island name given because of the many kinds of ducks and birds that live around the island and the lake. One duck species most widely viewed around the lake is Mallard, wild duck with green head, brown body, yellow beak with some sort of white lines on his neck.
In addition, there are also other types of ducks that are Tufted Duck who are migrants from Iceland and Northern Europe in winter. Tufted Duck is smaller than a mallard with most color is black with shades of white on the side. The uniqueness of the Tufted Duck is they have some sort of crest on the back of the head. Other types of British fowls that are around the lake are Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Goldeneye and Black Swan.
But of the many types of fowls, one of the most fowls that becomes an attraction in St. James’s Park is a Pelican bird. The Pelican bird first became residents of the park since 1664 as a gift from the Russian ambassador. Park visitors will be able to see this Pelican bird sunbathing or eating fresh fish in their favorite rock at 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily.
In addition to the lake with various types of poultry, St. James’s Park also has another beauty of the trees of various species of birds and mammals that live in old trees such as squirrels and bats. A flower garden with a semi-circular design with planted a variety of flowers that match the flower garden at Buckingham Palace. The flower garden is named Memorial Gardens, built in 1901 by Sir Aston Webb in memory of Queen Victoria.
In the area of St. James’s Park there are also several pieces of the facilities that can be used by visitors to rest. One of them is the Inn the Park restaurant is open throughout the season and offers a variety of delicious menus. The restaurant is open from 8:00 to 18:00, while on weekends open starting at 9:00. There is also a children’s playground. St. James’s Park is the oldest palace gardens and situated in the central London.