When it comes to Hyde Park I’m reminded of all of those old Hollywood movies. I’m pretty sure that a werewolf or two once ran through Hyde Park and it was definitely mentioned in some Sherlock Holmes movies. I also believe that Hyde Park is one of the most popular parks in London, England. It is a part of the Royal Parks of London.
Hyde Park is one of the greatest city parks in the world and has over 4,000 trees as well as a large lake, a meadow and there are wonderful ornamental flower gardens. It has something for everyone to enjoy. In the park, people can swim, go boating, cycling and skating. There are places for playing team games, tennis courts, horse riding paths, and a children’s playground.
Within the park are also two lakeside restaurants. People strolling through Hyde Park can enjoy many fascinating buildings and monuments. Among the monuments found in the park are The Serpentine Bridge, the Joy of Life Fountain, and the famous Achilles statue. Here you can also find the Diana Memorial Fountain and there are open-air events presented all year round.
It was back in 1536 that King Henry VIII took Hyde Park away from the monks at Westminster Abbey. At that time it was mostly used for hunting. Finally, in 1637 King Charles I had the park opened to the public.
Among Hyde Park’s special features are:
The large artificial lake which is known as the Serpentine, located at the south end of the park. This lake extends onward toward the north and goes into Kensington Gardens where its name changes to Long Water. The lake is very popular for swimming and boating.
To the southwest is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain which looks more like an artificial stream. It is a circular fountain which is made up of 545 pieces of Cornish granite. Water from it flows on two sides at the top and winds up in a small pool at the bottom.
Odd as it may sound there is Rotten Row. No nothing to do with anything rotten. It is located at the south end of Hyde Park and is a famous bridle path. Rotten Row is about 4 miles long and is used for horse riding and also for jogging. William III used this road quite often in the 17th century. Since the king thought that the walk from Kensington Palace to St. James’s Palace was most dangerous he had the very first lit public road created by having oil lamps installed along it. Why Rotten Row? Because it’s derived from the French”route du roi” or King’s Road.
There is also Speaker’s Corner which back in the 19th century became a popular place to hold meetings. Now on Sundays people come here to stand on a soapbox and let others know their views on religious, political, and other subjects.
In the north-east corner of Hyde Park, one can find the Marble Arch. Originally this was built as a gateway to Buckingham Palace in 1827 and finally, it was moved to the park in 1851.
Just east of the Marble Arch is a series of fountains which were installed in 1961. In between the arch and the fountains you can find two very large statues. One is known as Still Water which is the huge head of a horse over ten meters tall. Created by British sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green.
Next to it is an equestrian statue created in honor of Genghis Khan who was a legendary Mongolian warrior. Created by Russian sculptor Dashi Namdakov.
The largest statue in Hyde Park is known as Achilles Statue and it has been standing there since 1822 in honor of the Duke of Wellington who was the victor over Napoleon’s army at Waterloo. This bronze statue was actually cast from bronze which came from cannons that were captured from the French. Its creator is Richard Westmacott. Because of modesty, this statue was added a fig leaf.
These are just some of the things which you can see at Hyde Park. There are many more delightful things to see including more statues and monuments. So when in London make sure you take a look at this great park.