London Sights to See
Perhaps most famous for the Speaker's Corner, where citizens stand atop
a soapbox and shout their views to the crowd, there's much more on a London sightseeing trip to see
and do in and around London's Hyde Park, thought of by many as be
Park", than listen to political opinions.
The land forming the park was first acquired by Henry VIII from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536. While Henry himself mainly used the park for deer
hunting, the horseback riding done there today is strictly not for sport.
Casual and relaxing places of leisure, the riding trails are abundant but
riders must bring their own horses. Visitors to Hyde Park can often see the Royal Horse Artillery
riding on horseback through the park early in the morning.
First made accessible to the public by King James I in the
early 17th century, the park is split by the Serpentine, a river which has been dammed to make an artificial lake. The idea was originated by the wife of King George II, who was an avid gardener and apparently open to his queen's thoughts on
the subject. Boat rides on the lake remain a popular activity.
Perhaps the oldest park in London,
these 350 acres (140 hectares) offer the london citizen, and visitor,
peaceful walks through gardens and woods, boats for hire,
venues for music concerts, and many nearby excellent pubs and
restaurants. There's even a pet cemetery
and, during the summer, Sunday concerts are held at the Bandstand
in Hyde Park.
In the north east corner, at the end of Oxford Street is the famous Marble Arch. The
structure was built as a gateway to Buckingham Palace
but was moved to the park in 1851.
Several monuments found in the park are worth a look by the London
traveller. The latest tribute is to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, remembered
by many in the UK as the "Peoples' Princess".. The fountain is
surrounded by, and composed of, 545 pieces of Cornish granite
water flows through a complex design into a calm pool. Three
bridges cross the water over the heart of the fountain.
As with many other well-known parks around the world, sports abound in
Hyde Park on the many fields, including tennis (6 courts, with a
changing pavilion and cafe), a six rink flat bowling green, and
spontaneous soccer games. The Magenge
at the end of the Sports
Field offers a children's playground to amuse the younger kids.
Nearby the park is the Four
Seasons Hotel Bar where visitors thirsty
from all their activity; whether sports, sightseeing, or shopping, can
cool off and be refreshed in a wonderful,
upscale environment. The Conservatory
offers a piano bar and great dining.
For those interested in something a little more lively, there's the Met Bar, appropriately found at the Metropolitan Hotel.
Patronized by celebrities from around the world and all forms of fame,
it remains a
popular venue. The Rose & Crown Pub in Mayfair
is probably the rowdiest of the lot, for those who like their
entertainment loud and crowded.
Then, there's the Colony Club for those who like to gamble, and, for those with a
military turn of mind, the Royal Air Force Club isn't far away. For great
dining, the Petrus at The Berkeley Hotel
is unbeatable, having rightfully earned its Michelin Star.
The park lies between Bayswater Road to the north and Knightsbridge
to the south, with Park Lane
to the east and Kensington
Gardens to the west. The park is easily reached by the tube (the London Underground,
the subway system). Exit at the "Hyde Park Corner" station.
Sights to See
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