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Hyde Park
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Hyde Park

Hyde Park is the largest and the most popular of the eight Royal Parks. Attracting millions of visitors in London every year, facilitates a wide range of recreational activities and events besides being a hunting ground. Covering 350 acres of land, the space available is overwhelming for any visitor, and among the largest park landscape in the world. The theme park hosts such landmark features as the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, the Serpentine Lake, costumed meadow and the Speakers’ Corner, alongside numerous other popular spots.

Standing tall in Central London, the theme park is divided into two dominant sections namely the Long Water and the Serpentine areas. Established in 1536 after Henry VIII reclaimed the land previously owned by Westminster Abbey, the Hyde Park was initially purposed for hunting grounds. He loved deer hunting. The private hunting ground would remain even when James I assumed the throne under a royal keeper. Charles I however would eventually open the park to the public in 1637. Much of modern improvements have been extensions of the work commissioned and funded by Queen Caroline in the 18th century. The Serpentine Lake was created in 1730 to cover 11.34 hectares of the park. In 1930, George Lansbury commissioned The Lido as the pioneer Commissioner of Works in Britain, and it is now popular for swimming and sunbathing.

A unique feature of the theme park is hosting public demonstrations in the center of London, which explains the popularity and esteem of the Speakers’ Corner section. When the park was officially opened to the public at the onset of the 17th century, it soon became the home of May Day Parades. Throughout the 19th century, the park would host thousands of demonstrations and free speech protests. Indeed, beginning in 1872, the Speakers’ Corner was an affirmation of the right for free speech, and later public debate. The most famous public protests, debates and demonstrations at the Speakers’ Corner have included the Stop the War Coalition, the suffragettes, the Reform League and the the Chartists.

Besides the protests and demonstrations however, the park has over hosted numerous famous celebrations. The 1851 Great Exhibition was hosted by the park, during which Joseph Paxton designed the Crystal Palace that was subsequently erected at the park. The 20th century saw the park become the home of numerous rock music concerts on the grand scale, courtesy of some of the legendary artists including the Rolling Stones, Queen and the Pink Floyd. The park still hosts numerous commercial music concerts, as exemplified by the Live 8 concert in 2005. Further, numerous national celebrations as 1814’s celebration of surviving Napoleonic Wars by Prince Regent, and 1851’s during Queen Victoria’s Great Exhibition, and 1977’s Silver Jubilee Exhibition for Queen Elizabeth II, were all hosted at the park.

Popular events and activities today include the Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour events. Today, the most popular recreational activities at the park include horse riding, cycling, outdoor swimming, tennis and boating, for both local and foreign visitors. Hyde Park is without question a high-end feature of modern London. With the calm breeze of an outdoor masterpiece, perhaps courtesy of over 4,000 trees, the enormous lake or the ornamental flower gardens, Hyde Park is a destination you should not miss when visiting the city.

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