Hyde Park is a Grade-I major park in Central London. It is the largest of the four Royal Parks that travel from the entrance of Kensington Palace down through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens form the largest open space in London and both have a rich and exciting history.
Originally part of Westminster Abbey, Henry VIII took the land in 1536 where he established the land as a park to use as a hunting ground. Opening to the public in 1637, it didn’t take long for the park to gain popularity as it became the prime site for May Day parades. In the early 18th century, Hyde Park was a key location for duels under the reign of Queen Caroline. In 1851, The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park to host The Great Exhibition, a notorious event which has gone down in London’s history as a symbol of imperialism, culture and industry.
Covering 350 acres, including the Serpentine lake, Hyde Park is a grand open space full of wonderful greenery and wildlife. Built in 1828, The Grand Entrance to the park consists of a decorated triple archway to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. North of the Serpentine lake is a bird sanctuary with Jacob Epstein’s figure of ‘Rima’, the child goddess of nature, to pay homage to William Hudson’s novel ‘Green Mansions’. Near the main gate there is an 18ft bronze statue of Achilles which was installed under the reign of King George III and unveiled to the public in 1822. There are many other striking memorials, fountains and statues dotted around the park, including the Diana Memorial Fountain, the Serenity sculpture and The Reformers’ Tree.
Located in the northeast corner of Hyde Park is Speakers Corner, a famous forum for free speech. Situated opposite Marble Arch, you will always find someone actively demonstrating, performing or talking to an audience, with the site being particularly busy on Saturday afternoons. Established as a point for debate since 1872, the suffragettes, Reform League and Chartists have all held protests at this site. Key historical figures are known to have spoken here, such as Karl Marx and George Orwell.
Once known as ‘Number I London’, Apsley House is located at Hyde Park Corner as the famous townhouse of the first Duke of Wellington. This Georgian building, with shimmering gold interiors, remains very similar to when it was first built to commemorate the victory at Waterloo in 1815. Marvel at one of the most stunning art collections in London, with almost 3000 paintings, sculptures and gifts from great emperors, tsars and kings.
Built originally as an entrance to Buckingham Palace, the iconic Wellington Arch moved to reside in front of Apsley House,signifying Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. A powerful bronze sculpture of the Angel of Peace rising over the four-horsed chariot of war crowns the arch with beautiful detail. There is also a gallery in the arch and a viewing platform which offers fantastic unique views of London and especially Hyde Park.
Aubaine, Notting Hill is on the corner of Hyde Park and we would love to see you visit to taste our delicious French food.
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