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Blue Posts

‘A pub of this name, on this site, was mentioned by the Restoration dramatist George Etheredge as early as 1667. The poet Lord Byron lived next door in 1813. The “Blue Posts” once stood in the tavern’s forecourt and served as an advertisement for a fleet of sedan chairs which used to ply for hire in Bennet Street.’

6 Bennett Street SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7493 3350

Dukes Hotel

The best Martini in London? Perhaps. Certainly, after two, you’ll think they are - and that you’re drinking them in the best place in London if not the world. And you love the barman and whoever you’re with. Phew! Thank goodness they limit you to two.

35-36 St. James's Place SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7491 4840
Tube: Green Park
www.dukeshotel.com

Berry Bros & Rudd

Set up as a grocers in 1698, the large scales to weigh coffee were also used to measure customers. Its ledgers record the weights of poet Lord Byron, Admiral Horatio Nelson, his mistress Lady Hamilton and Queen Victoria's father - among some 30,000 others.

3 St James's Street SW1
Tel: +44 (0)800 280 2440
www.bbr.com

Wander into an alleyway off St James’s and you’ll see a sign marking the site of the Texas Legation in the 1840s. This is an area of gentlemen’s clubs, where respectable ladies once feared to tread and where most shops still cater to masculine needs.

Tube: Green Park

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

St James’s

St James’s Palace

St James’s Palace was built by Henry VIII as a home for himself and Anne Boleyn, though few red-brick Tudor parts remain. Now offices for various Royals, the palace is closed to visitors, but the Chapel Royal - where Queen Victoria was married - has a Sunday services from October to Good Friday.

St James's Street SW1

Truefit & Hill

The ‘oldest barber in the world’ (see the Guinness Book of Records Certificate on the wall) has only been on this site since 1994. It’s a place to treat yourself to a haircut or shave in the same chair that has sat celebrities or royals who walk up from nearby St James’s Palace.

71 St James's Street SW1
Tel: +44(0)20 7493 2961
www.truefittandhill.co.uk

Texas Embassy

After Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, it sent a Charge d'Affaires to the Court of St James’s. This, the closest embassy to the palace, was in offices rented from Berry Bros. London’s last duel was fought in this hidden alleyway and Nelson’s mistress Emma Hamilton lived at No 5.

Pickering Place SW1

John Lobb

Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Aristotle Onassis and George Bernard Shaw, prime ministers and kings have all had their shoes handmade at Lobb and their lasts are kept in the basement. It’s an expensive, and lengthy process, where quality is never compromised.

9 St James's Street SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7930 3664/5
www.johnlobbltd.co.uk

James Lock

Inventors of the bowler hat (it’s called a Coke here after the man who first ordered it made), this 300-year-old firm has supplied hats to a who’s who of history. They even fitted the Queen for her crown, and Indiana Jones for the fedoras he wore on his first movie adventures.

6 St James's Street SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7930 8874
www.lockhatters.co.uk

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