London Parks

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Hyde Park London is the largest of the parks in London that make up the "green lung" system of London city parks. Hyde Park London covers an area of 608 acres, and over the years has hosted everyone from the boisterous hunting parties of King Henry VIII in the 16th century, to the raucous Rolling Stones in 1969. Although Hyde Park London has a myriad of things to see and do, tourists will be delighted to find that most of the beauty of the park can be enjoyed completely free of charge. Concerts and other scheduled events will come with fees, however.

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

As one of the most famous parks in London, Hyde Park has an interesting history and has seen many forms of British life over the years. Initially acquired by King Henry VIII in 1536 from the monks of Westminster Abbey, the park has long been a favorite for British citizens among the parks in London. The present day layout of Hyde Park was designed by Decimus Burton in the 1820"s. The landscape of the park provides endless diversity, and when viewed from above the Masonic symbols of a compass and square can still be seen.

Apart from the lovely landscaping, Hyde Park also features a number of activities for patrons to enjoy. The Grand Entrance is itself a site to see, stretching 107 feet along the central entrance with columns and intricate stone work, creating a majestic entrance to the park itself. Speaker"s Corner is another draw to Hyde Park. Located in the Northeastern corner of the park, Speaker"s Corner is a place for anyone and everyone to shout about the issues on their mind. Political, social, and religious issues are often addressed in Speaker"s Corner, with hecklers being welcomed as part of the discussion. Though many great thinkers throughout the ages have made their case to the crowds of London at the Speaker"s Corner, possibly the most memorable event occurred in the 16th century, when the corpse of Oliver Cromwell was displayed in a cage as a warning to British citizens who might consider joining Cromwell"s cause to overthrow the monarchy.

The Serpentine Lake is another Hyde Park tourist attraction. Rowboats can be rented from the boathouse between March and October during the day. Nearby Rotten Row draws equal numbers of excited visitors; the 1 ½ mile sand riding track is perfect for an equestrian adventure.

Although nearby Kensington Gardens is sometimes thought to be part of Hyde Park, it technically its own separate park. Kensington Gardens is one of the most well maintained London Gardens, with gorgeous flora and fauna occupying most of the area. Kensington Gardens is also home to the famous bronze statue of Peter Pan (a favorite among children) and the opulent Albert Memorial commissioned by Queen Victoria of Windsor Castle.

The London gardens and parks located in the heart of the city make up one of the largest park systems of any city in the world. For any guests planning to spend time in London, a trip to a London garden for a stroll, a concert, or a whole day of play is well worth the trip. Many tourists will enjoy packing a picnic or an afternoon tea and whiling away an afternoon surrounded by the beauty of nature and the intrigue of history.

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