St James’s Park is one of the smallest parks in central London, but it’s also one of my favourite. First, standing from the bridge over the lake, there’s a splendid view on both Buckingham Palace on the one side and on the facades of Horse Guard’s Parade and the London Eye on the other.
Second, there’s a great selection of birds. The boards next to the lake remind you that you’re not allowed to feed them, but you can feed the squirrels instead – they come to eat right into your hand.
Face it: the changing of the guard is one of London’s most famous institutions and you won’t escape it. That leaves you with the exciting choice of either Buckingham Palace or Horse Guard Parade. I’d advise Horse Guard Parade, because 1) it takes place every day (at 11.00), so you can be sure that you won’t come for nothing, and 2) it’s less crowded, so you will actually get to see something.
If you don’t like horses, you can come back in 2012: the Olympic games beach volleyball matches will take place there.