Put your best foot forward this autumn
With the nights drawing in, evenings are for cosying up but late autumn sunshine is perfect for blowing the cobwebs away with a healthy, bracing walk. Here at The Cavendish, we are perfectly situated to provide both options. A cosy night in, with great food and drink, and a comfortable room can be combined with the option of being able to walk to many of the capital's must-see attractions, as well as the open spaces of nearby St James’ and Green parks.
With the current situation, London is quieter than normal and late autumn is a wonderful time to explore and reimagine the capital on foot. Although most attractions do require advance bookings due to current Covid restrictions, our concierge will be happy to help with this, whilst the wide outdoor spaces of London’s famous parks are free to all – no booking or masks required!
Whether you’re enjoying a short break as a family, or a couple’s weekend away, wrap up warm, get your comfortable footwear on and go out and about where you don’t have to worry about wearing a mask or too many crowds. Getting some good old fashioned fresh air and exercise is always great for raising the spirits and relieving everyday stress.
Within a 15 minute walk of the hotel, St James’ Park boasts 57 acres of greenery, trees and along lake down its centre – so don’t forget some bread from breakfast to feed the ducks! The Blue Bridge, which spans the lake, is a particularly good spot from which to do this and view the array of waterfowl that inhabit the park. The squirrels in the royal parks are also particularly tame and will happily join you on a bench especially if you have a treat for them, or simply enjoy watching them bury their winter stash of nuts – how on earth they find them again is a mystery to peruse as you continue your walk!
Flanked by the Mall on the north side of the park, enjoy fabulous views of Buckingham Palace at the west end and then stroll towards Admiralty Arch and Horse Guards at the northeast end of the park where the Trooping the Colour takes place each year in June to mark the Queen’s official birthday. The Imperial War Museum’s ‘Churchill’s War Rooms’ are also a couple of minutes’ walk along from Horse Guards and are well worth a visit, although booking is necessary. By walking through Admiralty Arch, you will also find yourself at Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s column and the National Gallery. The gallery is open and free to enter but you must book your ticket in advance.
Another of the 8 royal parks within an easy stroll of the hotel is Green Park. Slightly smaller than St James’ park it borders Buckingham Palace and is home to a range of fountains and memorials including the RAF Bomber Command memorial and the Canada memorial opened in 1994 to remember the one million Canadians who served with British forces during the two world wars. To the north edge of the park is Piccadilly, meaning it’s an easy amble back along this famous road to the hotel.
At her Majesty’s Pleasure
Nestling between St James’ and Green Parks you will find St James’ Palace. This Tudor palace dates back to 1531 and is still the London home of Prince of Wales, Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra. Clarence House and numerous royal apartments and offices make up this working royal residence. Although this busy palace isn't open to the public, you can visit the Queen's Chapel and Chapel Royal – where Prince George was christened in 2013 – when services are taking place, typically on Sundays.
St James’ Palace is also an excellent spot from which to see the beginning of the Changing of the Guard as it tends to be far less busy than the typical tourist spot outside the gates of Buckingham Palace. To be in with a good chance of experiencing this daily ceremony, ensure you’re in the vicinity of the palace by 10.25am. The guards set off down the Mall at 10.43am for the ceremony at Buckingham Palace which takes place at 11am each day. If you want to catch the reverse with the Household cavalry riding back up the Mall to Wellington Barracks, then this takes place from 11.37am.
Only a hop, skip and jump away
When you’re feet are tired or the weather isn’t being kind, there are also numerous attractions on the doorstep of The Cavendish.
Visit the world-famous food hall in Fortnum and Mason – literally opposite the door of the hotel – and pick out some delicious foodie treats or simply walk across the road to the Royal Academy of Arts for your culture fix. The Academy is open to the public but does still require booking in advance.
If books are your thing, a visit to Hatchards bookshop on Piccadilly, which is only a five-minute hop from the hotel and a three-minute walk from the Royal Academy, is a must. Since 1797 the shop has supplied the royal family and countless bibliophiles with everything from first editions to the latest best sellers.
And if shopping is on the cards, a leisurely stroll to the famous names on Regents Street and Oxford Street takes only a matter of minutes. Jermyn Street and its array of gentlemen’s outfitters is even closer with the joys of the Burlington Arcade perfect, even if it’s just for a spot of window shopping.
Footsore but happy
When your feet are sore and you’re ready for that cosy night in, return to the warmth of The Cavendish where you can enjoy a delicious dinner in the hotel’s Petrichor restaurant or enjoy room service. Tuck yourself up with a good book (from Hatchards of course!) or snuggle down to enjoy a film or TV series in the comfort of your room – simply bliss.