Spring is upon us as the streets and squares of St James's shake off their winter slumber and burst into life. Which means it’s now time to head outside in the warmer weather to indulge in sun-kissed alfresco meals, see vibrant art exhibitions, or explore the many independent stores selling beautifully crafted goods in the area. Below we pick our tips of things to do this spring in St James’s.
Art around every corner
Thirsty for culture? Start your spring art tour by admiring a true one of a kind: American artist David Salle, whose vast, colourful canvases fill the Skarstedt gallery (until 26th April). Salle’s work wittily uses cartoons and commercial techniques to unleash an energy that bounces out at the viewer.
From Bennet Street it's just a hop, skip and a jump to explore other galleries. Directly over the road is the two-floor Portland Gallery, currently exhibiting works by watercolour specialist Roland Collins (until 3rd May), who – incredibly enough – only enjoyed success in his early nineties. And in nearby Mason’s Yard at the iconic White Cube is world-class artist Christian Marclay, fresh from the success of The Clock at Tate Modern, with two spell-binding video installations (until 15th May).
From here it’s a short stroll to the Mall Galleries which, for 50 years, has been located opposite St James’s Park. A must-see is its annual exhibition, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (until 21st April), a survey of how contemporary artists rethink the age-old medium. Shows here change regularly, too, so there’s always something worth seeing.
Explore one off collaborations, collections and pop-ups
Italian brand Paul & Shark’s new spring/summer collaboration is a different step for the label founded back in 1975. The Regent Street St James’s store, with its signature deep-sea video wall, has launched a new one-off line with US street-style maverick Nick Wooster – a bold capsule collection of canary yellows, shocking pinks, eye-catching prints and fluorescent details. You really won’t see it anywhere else.
Over on Jermyn Street is the new spring collection at the area’s only family-owned shirtmakers Harvie & Hudson. Colourways this season are heavy on pastels, with fetching pink, red, polka dot and floral designs aplenty.
Seasonal menus and secret spots
Looking for inspiration for the best food to eat this spring? London’s second oldest restaurant established in 1742, Wilton’s, has just launched a new seasonal menu. Look out for the blue plaque celebrating its heritage as purveyors of oysters to the Royal Household. We highly recommend you book one of the snug velvet banquette booths at the back to sample head Chef Daniel Kent’s six course spring menu – including the likes of English asparagus, poached sea trout and saddle of Rhug Estate lamb. Don’t forget to take the carefully curated wine flight, too.
Now, how about a spot of afternoon tea? Occupying a corner of Jermyn Street is The Cavendish (spot the blue plaque commemorating Rosa Lewis, the ‘chef de cuisine’ behind the original hotel). Head up to the airy first floor’s comfortably-furnished dining room The Petrichor, for a smorgasbord of pastries, scones, clotted cream, sandwiches and loose-leaf tea. Just one of the many off-the-beaten-track delights in our always surprising area.
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