Hyde Park - A Royal Park (Part 1)

Posted by @NEILMUIR1 on
Hyde Park is the largest green space in central London at just over 350 acres. It is now famous for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, and other things associated with Princess Diana. However its history is immense as it is known to go back before the Norman invasion in 1066. King Henry VIII then got the land off the canons of Westminster Abbey in 1536 and kept it as a deer park and hunting ground for himself. King Charles I in 1637 finally opened it to the public. It also hosted the Great Exhibition in 1851 in the infamous Crystal Palace. This was then moved to Sydenham Hill in southeast London; and the area became known as Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace burnt down on November 30th, 1936 Please come with me on a walk around one of London's Great Royal Parks.

Hyde Park is a magnificent open space in the middle of London. There is something for everyone in this magical place, from those who love gardening, to those who love boating, music concerts, horse riding, architecture, or history. It also has lovely enclaves for those who wish a bit of peace or something to eat whilst watching the world go by. Not only are the plants a dream but also the wildlife has to be seen to be believed in this haven that provides safety for them. Here is Constitution or Wellington Arch that was the north gate for Buckingham Palace gardens. Originally it had a statue of The Duke of Wellington on top, but this was replaced by the 'Angel Of Peace' descending on the quadriga of victory in 1912. There is now a seperate statue to the Duke of Wellington nearby. The Arch is on a roundabout just across the road from the Grand Entrance to the Park.

To enlarge a picture please click on it. Some of these pictures were taken with a wide angle lens since the park is so vast.


Here is the Grand Entrance behind the two Lady Police Officers on Horseback. As you enter the park the sight of daffodils and bluebells hits you with their spring glory.

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I went into the Rose garden first as it was added in 1994 and I had not seen it. Although there were no Roses out, there were some interesting things. Here is the statue in the Rose garden, the yew hedges, then Crown Imperials or Fritillaria imperialis.

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Here's a closer view of the beautiful Crown Imperials and some purple Heuchera amonst the bluebells. The Rose Garden has everything from Roses to shrubs and herbaceous and spring bulbs.

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In the Rose Garden with all sorts of beauty.

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The lovely and classic yew hedge around one bit of the Rose Garden and then this wonderful tree in blossom from the other side.

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 Some classic bedding in the shape of the sepentine lake that the Park is famous for. Please note on the left picture the high pleached Hornbeam or Carpinus betulus pleached Hedge. In the right picture are orange Crown Imperials.

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The bedding has suffered a bit this year due to the bad winter, the a warm break. This was followed by more cold and then a warm dry spell. At last it did rain which in some cases flattened the bedding a bit.

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Some beautiful Red and Pink Camellias in the Rose Garden. It is strange to think that this stunning plant is of the same family of plants that your daily cup of tea comes from.

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This corner before the tunnel on the right has a pleached Hornbeam Hedge. Pleaching is a very old method of making fantastic and formal windbreaks. It is highly labour intensive as the branches are intertwined so they rub against each other and join together. As Hornbeam is very much like Beech or Fagus sylvatica it does keep its leaves although dead over some of the winter. It may look strange but it does work. In the earlier picture above there is a whole line of pleached Hornbeam Hedge, this is very effective against the wind. The next photo is through one of the many arches or tunnels as I call them. All sorts are growing over this from Roses to clematis and many more.

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I love this Campanula latifolia 'White Ladies', what a lovely bit of ground cover. Then on the next picture there is Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' in the foreground, Bergenia cordifolia on the right and at the back is an unusual use of Rue or Ruta graveolens.

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Then I dipped down to one of my favorite bits of the Park. This place in the middle of London is amazing as it is quiet and tranquil, but the peace and beauty is outstanding everywhere. People just sit listening to the burbling water or reading a book. No mobile phones or computers in sight, just wildlife and stunning plants. What more could anyone wish for on a sunny day? Notice the Magnolia shedding its flowers and the Japanese maple in the background.

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The end of the Rock Garden and a stunning Magnolia.

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Some Rheum palmatum 'Tanguticum' and then another view across the stream.

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The waterfall goes down here with tree ferns or Dicksonia antarctica at the bottom. Then there is Rheum palmatum  'Tanguticum'  just starting to grow at the bottom of this wonderful tree.

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Over the Bridge is a bank of Japanese maples of all sorts. In the right photo a squirrel is also involved!

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More Japanese maples, from red to green there are lots of them everywhere.

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This is not a guided tour as I go where I see things, like this wonderful Hawthorn or Cratageus monogyna, although they are known as May trees here. Then this memorial, as there are memorials all over London and especially in Parks. This one is to the Cavalry in the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 world wars. Although at first glance it did look like a bit of old fashioned tree pruning!

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Of course every Park must have a Bandstand. These wonderful Birches looked like white Ghosts against the grass.

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I have no idea what the stone bit is, I just liked the blossom. This is not one Magnolia, as on the right is another one, even with a wide angle lens I could not get them both in.

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The waterfall on one side of the bridge with the tree ferns clearly showing. Then on the other side is the famous serpentine lake. The serpentine was built for Queen Caroline by King Gerge II in 1730. By blocking off the Westbourne river and using some exsisting small ponds it was made into a 28 acre lake. This is just one bit of it as it is vast! The wildfowl and fish in this lake are stunning. It is used for boating and in some places fishing. Then on New Years Day (click to see this), when it is normally frozen over the ice is broken in one area of it, and people jump in for a swim! Although they do have the Peter Pan swimming cup race on Christmas Day as well!

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Some more pictures of the serpentine.

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It is a long walk from this bridge to the next one in the distance, so I was glad of some company on the way. Some mute Swans and in the next photo some Mandarin Ducks.

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I also like this private cottage and the Boathouse!

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Finally you get near the bridge you have to cross to get to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Then looking back over the bridge you can see the Princess Diana Memorial. It is the big ring of Cornish granite on the right.

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This is the other side of the bridge which is Kensington Gardens, this is also a Royal Park. This is not the serpentine as it is called the Long Water. It was used for the Royal yachts to go up and down.

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However when King William III made Kensington Palace his home in 1689 he had a road built called the Kings Road which goes from Hyde Park corner westwards all the way to Kensington Palace. This road was made from gravel and was for carriages and Horses and is still there. Now it is called 'Rotten Row' a corruption of the word rotteran which means to muster.  Here it is one way and then the other. You cannot get all of it in pictures as it is too long. It was also the first road to have artifical lighting with 300 oil lamps in 1690.

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These people seemed to be having some fun riding on it.

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This is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. It is made out of Cornish granite and the water runs both ways from the top in a circle. The water is constantly changed by London's underground clean water. Pity the people who visit it (one million a year), are not so clean. They have had to put signs up as people were taking Glass Bottles in there, where people and especially children paddle! It was made in the traditional manner, out of 545 pieces of cut granite. It has always been controversial as Princess Diana wanted a place for contemplation. Yet three people had to be taken to Hospital after they slipped on the granite in the first months it was opened. Problems with the grass then emerged due to the numbers of people who wanted to see it, so it was closed until it was sorted out. Now children can safely paddle in it. If only people did not drop their rubbish in it, it may look a bit better. I was in Hyde Park which has Speakers Corner where you are allowed to say anything you so wish. Do I think this is a Memorial to our beloved Princess Diana, sadly no I do not! Does this ring of granite really resemble the life of our fairy tale Princess? I will leave that decision up to you!

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This is Isis the Egyptian God of motherhood who could turn herself into a bird. It was set up to raise money for the Royal Parks Foundation to build a new Hi Tech children's centre for children visiting the park. You can donate money in the box or have a plaque around the base. I like this as it is close to the Princess Diana Memorial, for she did a lot of charity work and loved children. At the top of the steep rise behind this is a lovely Cedar, what a sight against the blue sky.

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I will leave you with this as I have to go across the bridge to Kenisington Gardens and the Peter Pans statue, amongst many other things. So I hope to see you in the next part of my trip.


I do hope you have enjoyed a little of what I have shown you, for there is a lot more to see, as I double back after Kensington Gardens and go on the south side of the serpentine.




Part 2.

Royal Parks Official Site.

Hyde Park Corner.

Hyde Park Places To Visit With Video.

I will add more links on in Part 2.


For Nancy.

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Speakers Corner by tropicbreeze Apr 15, 2011 11:24 PM 3
Hyde Park by murielw1 Apr 14, 2011 10:36 AM 6
How beautiful by Happy_1 Apr 14, 2011 10:05 AM 5
Exquisite Beauty! by nap Apr 14, 2011 12:41 AM 21
This one is for you by pajonica Apr 13, 2011 3:38 AM 1
wow! by Ridesredmule Apr 12, 2011 9:51 PM 13
The Beauty of Hyde Park by magga Apr 12, 2011 6:31 PM 3
Wonderful Walk by CajuninKy Apr 12, 2011 12:21 PM 4

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