London has some of the largest green open spaces and parks in the world. Its royal parks are popular with both visitors and locals alike and attract large volumes of people every year. There are a lot of attractions and events held at them besides being home to a variety of landmarks and attractions of their own.
If you plan a trip to London the most suitable places to stay are at any of the hotels on Bayswater road London near Hyde Park. Being situated in central London it makes it easy to commute to other parts of the city including its business and shopping districts.
Step out of the Grand Royale Hotel Hyde Park London and you are a stone’s throw away from probably the most popular of royal parks, Hyde Park.
Hyde Park in London is known to be out of the best city parks in the country. It is spread over 350 acres and has a large lake, more than 4,000 trees, beautiful floral gardens and a large meadow, which is very surprising for most considering it is in the very heart of the city. The Park offers a range of activities ranging from swimming, skating, cycling and boating. There are fantastic pitches for games like cricket, football, tennis courts, a track for horse riding and a massive playground for kids.
It also houses two restaurants which serve a wide variety of dishes from a cup of coffee to a full three-course meal. The park also is the venue for a number of interesting monuments and landmarks like the Diana Memorial Fountain, The Achilles Statue, The Joy of Life Fountain and The Serpentine Bridge among many others. Some interesting not-to-miss attractions in Hyde Park are:
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
Built from 545 pieces of the finest Cornish granite it was constructed using the best of technology and talent. Each piece of granite was shaped by computer guided machinery and then assembled together manually using traditional methods. It has been designed in a manner to reflect the late Princesses’ life, with water flowing from its summit in 2 directions from where it swirls and cascades down to a placid pool at the end. The source of the water is a water table below and it is frequently refreshed. It is symbolic of Lady Diana’s open nature and her frankness. Three bridges have been constructed by which visitors can cross the water flowing below and move to the centre of the fountain.
Statue of Achilles
The impressive Statute of Achilles is 18ft in height and is built to honour the memory of the First Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley, who was a soldier and a politician. It was built on the order of King George III and opened to the public on 18 June 1822. It is situated close to the Queen Elizabeth Gate at Hyde Park Corner. The statue of Achilles is that of the Trojan War legend and was the first statue to be installed in Hyde Park. It was commissioned by a group of upper class ladies who were known as Ladies of England.
It was designed by Sir Richard Westmacott, who used 33 tonnes of bronze to build it. The metal was collected from the many canons that were captured by the Duke in his military campaigns in France. The head of the statue is modelled on the Duke and its body draws inspiration from a Roman statue found in Monte Cavallo, Italy. When first created it was completely nude which understandably courted a lot of controversy in that conservative period. To quell the public outcry a small fig leaf was later placed strategically on it.
The Joy of Life fountain
Visitors will find the fountain situated near Aldford Street North Gate close to Park lane. Its design was done by T.B. Huxley Jones in 1963. It replaced the Boy and Fountain statue which stood here until it was shifted to another area in the park. The Joy of Life Fountain was built from the Constance Fund and features two bronze figures with held hands, who dance above the water while four small bronze kids appear to emerge from the pool. The fountain stands on a spot that was formerly a very popular Victorian sunken garden built in the 1860s. On its 60th anniversary in 2008, The Marie Curie Cancer Care charity planted 60,000 daffodil bulbs all around the fountain.
The Huntress Fountain
The Huntress Fountain was installed in Hyde Park in 1906 and was the creation of Countess Feodora Gleichen. She has the distinction of being the first female member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. It was paid for with a donation from Sir Walter and Lady Palmer. It can be seen in the Rose Garden, and depicts Diana, the Roman Goddess of Hunting, shooting an arrow.
The Reformers’ Tree
It is an old oak tree that became the focal point of protests by the Reform League in 1866. They campaigned for the right to vote for all adult men in the country. During one such protest event the tree was set on fire with its charred stump serving as a rallying point and as a symbol of the freedom to assemble. Finally in 1872, the government consented with an act of parliament being passed, which granted the public the right to speak in the north east corner of the park. It became famous ever since as Speaker’s Corner. To commemorate the Reformer’s Tree that once stood there a circular black and white Mosaic was built in its place. In 2000, it was dedicated to the public by Tony Benn a member of parliament.