I love London! ❤
London is a great city, with so much charm, history and character. As a tourist, with limited time, it is easy to remain blinkered and see the obvious sites… which are all brilliant and great. One should of course see the great sites, do the tours and visit the museums. However, to truly travel and explore, you need to get yourself off the typical tourist beaten track, and meander at leisure through London’s labyrinth. I always find that this is the best way to explore. Forget about the map, walk where your feet take you, eat where your nose tells you, stop where your camera and soul would like you to, and just blend into your surroundings. Absorb the culture, keep your eyes open, breathe in the surroundings and allow yourself to be inspired and educated. This is how I love to travel, and this is how I try to live my life.
I work in the hospitality industry and have the pleasure of meeting new London visitors every day. Some come prepared, some do not. Some have a lot of time to spend in London, some do not. Either way, I am always asked: “So, if you were to recommend just one thing to see or do in London, what would it be?”. This is a hard question to answer because the choice is endless, and I would not want anyone to miss something amazing, especially if they may not have the opportunity to return to London. There is however, always a valid answer 😉 London is good like that, and inherently caters for so many tastes, interests, pockets and styles.
In this series, I will show you My London and in doing so might help you to plan your trip, create your dreams and fulfil your London aspirations.
Today’s instalment is about one of my favourite parks in the world, and one of my favourite places in the whole of London: Hyde Park.
At 350 acres, Hyde Park is almost 500 acres smaller than Manhattan’s Central Park, but it is still one of the most emulated parks in the world. Urban park designers look to Hyde Park for their inspirational blueprint.
Today, Hyde Park is a tourist attraction in its own right and an oasis of calm for locals. It is not a secret by any means, but it is not an obvious attraction either. The park’s size and location lend itself to a natural host for major events including music concerts and sporting events. Some of the London 2012 Olympic Games events were even hosted within the park. Historically, Hyde Park used to belong to the monks of Westminster Abbey. King Henry VIII eventually acquired the land in 1536 and utilised it as a hunting ground. It is so hard to imagine Hyde Park once being in the middle of nowhere, and a hunting ground no less, that today would only be found many many miles away from Central London! Hyde Park was only opened to the public in 1637 by King Charles I.
Hyde Park is home to the world famous Speakers Corner, The Serpentine, Rotten Row, Diana Fountain, 7 July Memorial, The Peter Pan Statue, The Lido and The Rose Garden.
Did You Know?
– During the Great Plague of 1665, Londoners fled the city to Hyde Park (because it wasn’t even in London back then!) in order to escape the disease and seek refuge.
– England’s first artificially lit highway was in Hyde Park. Today known as Rotten Row, the route was lit by 300 oil lamps.
– Rotten Row is a corrupted take on “Route de Roi” which is French for “King’s Road” 🙂 #hilarious
– The Serpentine lake was created in the 1730s at the request of Queen Caroline (the wife of King George II).
See you soon for Part II 🙂