St James's Park and The Green Park, with their royal, political and literary associations, are at the very heart of London and cover 42 hectares (105 acres).
St James's Park, with a lake harbouring ducks, geese, pelicans and other wildlife, is also home to The Mall, the setting for spectacular pageants, events of national celebration or sporting events such as the London Marathon and 2012 London Olympics. Three royal palaces skirt St James's Park. The oldest palace is Westminster (the Houses of Parliament). Followed by St James's Palace and finally Buckingham Palace where the Monarch has lived since 1837.
The Green Park is quite different from its neighbour St James's Park. It is more peaceful, with mature trees and grassland. Bordered by Constitution Hill, Piccadilly and Queen's Walk the Park's primary role is as a peaceful refuge for people living, working or visiting Central London. It is particularly popular for sunbathing and picnics in fine weather. Popular as a healthy walking routes to work for commuters or people on guided walks; paths are also used extensively by joggers and runners or cyclists on the designated routes. The park has gone through a number of major changes and redesigns over its 350 years as a Royal Park and has witnessed duels, firework displays, artillery salutes and promenading grandees.
The Green Park is the smallest of the eight Royal Parks but along with St James's Park are the busiest with over 12 million visits a year.