STEP BACK THROUGH TIME
• Take a stroll along Westminster’s doorstep
• See local markets, historic buildings, and royal parks, all within blocks of the hotel
London is, hands down, the greatest walking city on the planet. For Conrad guests, the most common request is “I’d love to get out and explore—can you suggest a great walking route?” Indeed we can. The blocks around Conrad London St. James, which our chief concierge John White likes to call “Westminster’s Doorstep,” combine leafy parks with grand facades, sweeping vistas with intimate lanes, historic sights with contemporary scenes. You can walk this loop in under an hour, but if you’re inclined to linger, there are markets and coffee shops, celebrated restaurants, and must-see landmarks along the way.
1. Leaving the hotel, turn left onto Broadway and walk past New Scotland Yard (the erstwhile Metropolitan Police headquarters).
2. Cross Victoria Street onto cobblestoned Strutton Ground, which closes to traffic from 10am to 4pm on weekdays for a lively food market, where vendors sell paella, spicy lamb wraps, and fantastic rotisserie chicken. The retro shop signage is straight out of the 1950s to 1970s.
3. Strutton Ground becomes Horseferry Road, where low-rise buildings of coal-smudged brick harken to a bygone London. A few blocks south is Joe’s Espresso Café Bar, an indie coffeehouse; farther along is the Barley Mow pub, if you’re in the mood for a cask ale.
4. Follow the curve of Horseferry Road and turn left on Marsham Street. Check out the supermodern headquarters of the U.K.’s Home Office (designed by Terry Farrell and completed in 2005), with its colored-glass canopy and Mondrianesque façade.
5. Continue north on Marsham Street past the 1928 brick edifice of the Emmanuel Centre.
6. Marsham Street becomes Great Smith Street, lined with stately government buildings. The old Westminster Library (1893) now houses one of London’s best Indian restaurants, the Cinnamon Club, open for weekday breakfast and daily lunch and dinner.
7. Turn right onto busy Victoria Street and you’ll be face to face with Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament, with the London Eye rising beyond—perfectly framed for Instagram.
8. Cross Victoria Street and turn left onto Storey’s Gate, passing the grand Methodist Central Hall on your left. The 1911 landmark is now used as a conference center.
9. Turn left at Great George Street, then right onto Horse Guards Road. (That’s St. James Park on your left.) Walking north, you’ll pass the Churchill War Rooms (a must-visit for WW2 buffs), Downing Street (the prime minister’s residence, #10, is one block east), and the gravel-lain Horse Guards Parade (famously used as the beach volleyball arena at the 2012 Olympics).
10. Across from the parade grounds is the Guards Memorial, where you’ll enter St. James Park and proceed west.
11. Bear left at Inn the Park restaurant, then follow the path along the water. Cross the Blue Bridge and take in the stunning views: Buckingham Palace to the west, the London Eye and Big Ben to the east, and the park’s 15 species of waterfowl, including the beloved resident pelicans.
12. Cross the lake and continue south (there’s an ice cream stand along the path in summer), then exit the park onto Birdcage Walk. Directly aross the road is the narrow opening to Queen Anne’s Gate; walk south for two blocks and turn left onto Broadway.
13. Follow Broadway as it curves right; across from the St. James Park tube station you’ll see the entrance to the Conrad. Welcome back! Now how about a pint at the Blue Boar pub?
The Rotisserie Company
Strutton Ground Market, London SW1P
Tuesday to Friday, lunch only
Joe’s Espresso Café Bar
120-122 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2EF
+44 20 7799 2766
The Barley Mow
104 Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 2EE, United Kingdom
+44 20 7222 2330
Home Office Headquarters
2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF, United Kingdom
The Cinnamon Club
Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BU
+44 20 7222 2555
Churchill War Rooms
Clive Steps, King Charles St, London SW1A 2AQ, United Kingdom
+44 20 7930 6961
Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Road, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX