Tuesday, February 16, 2021

London's Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Hyde Park, the largest of London's four royal parks, was established in 1536 and opened to the public in 1637.  The western edge of the park transitions seamlessly into Kensington Gardens and the two parks cover 253 hectares (2.53 square km, 625 acres, almost one square mile).

We enter Hyde Park from the Marble Arch at the northeast corner and first see great fields and paths for pedestrians and horses.

 Fields and paths

There are groups and teams of all ages playing various games and sports in the open areas of the park.

 Sport in the park

Few people are out on the lake (The Serpentine) today, probably waiting for better weather.

 The Serpentine

The floral gardens scattered throughout the park are a joy to view:  vibrant and well maintained.

 Random gardens

We enter the South Flower Walk through a gate and find another separate world of tranquility and beauty.

 South Flower Walk

At Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace, a royal residence since the 17th century, located on the western side of the park, we exit and return later to cross on a more northern route.

Kensington Palace

 Reentering Kensington Gardens

The Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens provide an ornamental water garden and are believed to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria in 1860.  In 2011 the gardens were completely renovated, restoring the stonework, fountains, and plantings, with spectacular results.

 Italian Gardens

Just outside the Italian Gardens is a small house, Buckhill Lodge, reminds us of gingerbread houses (but slightly larger).

Buckhill Lodge

Our last stop in Hyde Park is Speaker's Corner, in the northeast corner of the park, near the Marble Arch, from which we started our journey through the park.  This corner is devoted to open-air speaking, debate, and discussion and a lively interaction is taking place.

Speaker's Corner


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