Londonist's Back Passage

By M@ Last edited 175 months ago
Londonist's Back Passage

A tribute to the capital’s alleys, ginnels and snickleways.

6. Crown Passage, SW1

Where? There can’t be many shortcuts that lead to a Royal Palace, but, by Jove, here’s one. The aptly named Crown Passage spills out onto Pall Mall, close to the redbrick St James Palace. Its other end reaches King Street.

What? Narrow and crowded with ancient buildings and swinging signs - feels very ye olde worlde. A jumble of sandwich shops (yes, that is a Pret) and one of London’s finest pubs make for a well-trodden byway.

Why use? A visit to the unexpectedly down-to-earth Red Lion is one of the few reasons to go to St James if you are not of noble blood. The pub claims the second oldest licence in the West End. We choose to believe that locals have included the Queen Mum (God rest her soul), given that Clarence House is also nearby. Sadly, aficionados of vagrant piss will be disappointed. This place is way too posh.

Also good for? Harry spotting. The wizarding type might easily mistake this for Diagon Alley, while the oft-inebriated, swastika-sporting Prince lives just a few blocks away.

Last Updated 24 August 2006