St. James Arts, Culture and Shopping
Set in the British tradition, London’s St. James neighbourhood offeres a terrific stroll for the artrs, culture, and shopping enthusiast!
Exit the tube at Charing Cross Station. Walk west along The Strand to Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square is the site where many marches and rallies take place. 50,000 people can amass around the column at a time. It is also the location where many meet to ring in the New Year. The 43.5m-high Nelson’s Column commemorates Admiral Nelson’s 1805 victory over Napoleon off Cape Trafalgar in Spain.
If you have the time, begin your adventure with a visit to The National Gallery. Admission is free to the galleries which is home to the national collection of paintings in the European Western tradition created between the 13th and 17th centuries. The Gallery contains one of the world’s top art collections. More than 2,300 pieces are on exhibit, including work by Picasso, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Turner, Leonardo, and Monet.
The adjacent National Portrait Gallery was established in 1856 to promote and make available the portraits of people who have been responsible for history and culture in Britian. The gallery includes portraits of the famous and infamous from the Middle Ages to the current day. This massive collection numbers more than 9000 pieces over five floors. While there is no admission fee to the building, certain exhibits may requite the purchase of tickets.
The next stop on your walk will bring you to the cutting-edge Institute of Contemporary Arts. To get there, cross south through the Square and head west, pass under Admiralty Arch to reach the Mall where the Institute is located. The multimedia gallery is famous for its collection of contemporary exhibits. The institute prides itself on supporting radical arts and culture. This is certainly the place in London to enjoy obscure films, dance, art. theatre, music, photography, lectures and book readings.
Within the complex is a gallery, cinema, theatre, bar and licensed cafe. Open Monday through Saturday from noon to 1am, and on Sunday to 10:30pm.
Don’t Stop – London Institute for Contemporary Art
Once you have your fill of the new and eclectic it is time to move on. Follow the steps behind the Institute and then turn left on Pall Mall, turn right onto St. James Square and exit on Duke of York at the end. Turn left on Jermyn Street and you will find yourself among some of the finest shops for gentlemen. Many have been here for years, others for centuries!
Jermyn Street Walking Tour
Once you have finished browsing and shopping turn right on St. James Street, then left on Picadilly, continuing until you reach the end of the walk at Green Park tube station.
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Covent Garden Market – This interesting walk will guide you through historical sights in the heart of the city.
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