St James’s Square in St James, London SW1Y

London is home to a wealth of historic squares and buildings, which have played an influential role in shaping and defining Britain’s rich cultural heritage. St James’s Square, dating back to 1660 is no exception.  Henry Jermyn, Duke of St Albans was to build what is arguably London’s finest square.  His brief - to build a garden square designed to house London’s wealthiest families. 

The central area was originally conceived as a piazza and was to be paved. Although this did not happen and the square became scruffy and overgrown.  The nearby residents had had enough and asked Parliament if they could have enough funds to ‘cleanse, adorn, and beautify’.

In 1726 the landscape gardener designed a water basin for the centre of the square. It eventually was filled in when it became too shaded by the beautiful, overhanging lime trees.

By 1666 St James’s Square had its first resident - Sir William Stanley, who was living on the north side of the square. 

Offering a unique insight into the capital’s history, St James’s Square is one of London’s most poignant reminders of its past.  In 1817-18 a larger garden area was enclosed, to a plan by John Nash, and planted with shrubs. In the centre of the square, on a pedestal, stands the statue of William II on horseback. In 1822 John Macadam designed a macadamised road for the square, replacing the stone paving.  

Nestled deep in the heart of St James, St James’s Square stands alone as the only square in the area, and, as a result, is often busy with city workers and tourists seeking green space and solace, away from the busy-ness of surrounding streets.

Benches are placed along the paths, perfect for pausing to people watch or to provide comfort for those who wish to lunch or picnic here.

St James itself attracts affluent professionals, drawn to the area’s desirable location and distinctive Georgian architecture, accessible amenities, exclusive boutiques, and fine dining. There are also a number of prestigious gentleman clubs occupying the area.

Reinforcing the areas somewhat corporate feel, notable and significant buildings located close to St James’ Square include the BP headquarters as well as the Rio Tinto Group.

The square now belongs to the St James's Square Trust and is open to public Mon-Fri 10am-4.30pm

For information on property for sale or to rent around St James’s Square in St James, please contact CityWest Residential, leading estate agents in Westminster.

Photo by 



Senior Lettings Negotiator
Zilvinas Bareikis