As our neighbour, we love Hyde Park and its beautiful open spaces. It’s a popular tourist attraction and backdrop to many a picture but, how well do you really know it? Test your knowledge by seeing how many of these 9 little known facts you already knew.
1. Hyde Park is a London institution with Royal authority: King Henry VIII, he of the many wives, confiscated the land from monks who were living in Westminster Abbey in order to turn it into a royal hunting ground. Fun-loving King Charles I opened it to the public almost a hundred years later.
2. The Beatles lived near the Park Grand London Hyde Park! They shared a flat there, writing songs and making music, in autumn 1963.
3. The Serpentine isn’t a natural lake. Queen Caroline, the wife of King George II, had it constructed so that the park would have an open pool of water that looked natural but was not. Everyone leapt to copy her idea and now plenty of parks and open spaces all over the country have artificial lakes.
4. There’s a pet cemetery inside the park which isn’t open to the public. From the 1880s and over the next 20 or so years, around 300 beloved pets were laid to rest in the Victoria Lodge garden.
5. There’s a section near the Park Grand London Hyde Park known as Rotten Row, a long, broad space where the horses of the Household Cavalry are exercised today. However, during the Regency period, it was like a film premiere. Rich and important Londoners, from dukes and countesses to rich merchants, would dress in their finest clothes and ride, walk or be driven along the row. It was a place to swap gossip, show off clothing and jewels, pass secret messages and otherwise cause trouble.
6. The Marble Arch, located near Park Grand London Hyde Park, was never meant to be near Hyde Park at all. In fact, it was designed to be an addition to Buckingham Palace. Sadly, it didn’t last long there and was since relocated just outside Hyde Park itself. Traditionally, only members of the Royal Family and certain guards are allowed to pass through the arch.
7. Hyde Park is no stranger to sculpture, but some of the pieces have been a little more unusual; the statue of the giant jelly baby family (by Mauro Perucchetti), the sculpture Still Water by Nic Fiddian-Green which is a giant horse’s head balancing on its tongue, and Vroom Vroom by Lorenzo Quinn, which featured a four-metre tall model of a child’s hand grabbing a vintage Ford car.
8. A tree is crying in Hyde Park. The Weeping Beech is an easy walk from Park Grand London Hyde Park and once you’ll get there you’ll see the incredible tree which looks as if it was grown upside down. The branches hang low, brushing the ground, and even start new roots once they’re there.
9. The Achilles Statue in the southeast corner of the park is made from 33 tonnes of bronze. All the metal was sourced from cannons captured in battle by the Duke of Wellington. Rather than use the cannons in war, he donated them for art instead.