We decided to take the dogs to London for the morning. What, are you crazy?! I hear you. But did you know Hyde Park is the biggest park in London? In parts you really do feel like you are strolling along country paths. Besides there are numerous Hyde Park sights to aim for, we’ll give you a guide and a bit of history to-boot.
Parking was relatively easy. We found a space quickly in the car park nearest Diana’s Memorial Fountain.
Poppy is very happy to be seeing some of the Hyde Park sights!
Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain was quiet this time in the morning. It felt serene and beautiful, a bit like her.
This is the Isis charity Statue. It depicts the Egyptian Goddess of Nature and is the figurehead of an appeal to raise money for the Isis Education Centre.
Rosie pug is now showing you the plaques dedicated to those who have helped raise funds. Nicely done Rosie.
A bit of history
- The park belonged to the monks of Westminster Abbey until Henry VIII ‘acquired it’ for deer hunting. It remained that way until James I permitted access. It was Charles I, however, who opened it up as a park for the public.
- Henry VIII acquired Hyde Park from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536; he and his court were often to be seen on thundering steeds in the hunt for deer. It remained a private hunting ground until James I came to the throne and permitted limited access.
Today good pathways criss cross everywhere.
Birds flying over head, man swimming below. The Lido was opened in 1930 to allow for swimming and sunbathing in good weather. My great grandad lived nearby and used to swim here often!
By the Lido is a neat little cafe. It’s a useful place to eat or stop for a drink when you have dogs with you.
Some people are already getting fit for the next ski season.
The pathways are nice and wide for walking, ‘skiing’, jogging or dancing your way round.
Wide open spaces for running in circles too! You’d hardly believe you were in the centre of London!
And it’s a good way to distract Ferris our Labrador from chasing those fat looking geese!
Time for a rest on a deck chair. Look who’s behind you!
Or you can rest on a tree stump.
In the distance you can see the little pedal boats. Later on in our walk the Serpentine lake was dotted with them.
Some areas are a little more formal with smart flower beds.
Another bit of history
- National celebrations began to take place in Hyde Park.
- At the end of the Napoleonic Wars the Prince Regent organised fireworks here.
- Queen Victoria allowed the Great Exhibition to be held here.
- More recently, Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee Exhibition was held here.
This Statue commemorates the Cavalry Regiments killed during WW1. It represents St George on horseback stepping over a defeated dragon.
(You’ll find the loos near here – just make sure you have a 20p piece each!)
Cute van to buy some bottled water or an ice-cream.
There are benches dotted along these paths. I wish public things were made as beautifully now.
The Hyde Park website states ‘Much of the wildlife in the park goes unnoticed by the majority of visitors‘. You really do need to take your time to notice the world of feather, fur and mini beasts beyond the paths.
This is the Serpentine bar and restaurant. It serves the usual hot and cold food and cakes you’d expect. The view is straight on the water and has an English country living style.
Hyde Park’s Rose garden. We were just a few weeks late to see it at it’s best.
The marble Boy and Dolphin Fountain was made in by a friend of the Alice in Wonderland author. That explains it some what…
At this point we met up with our son James, who lives in London. He was heading off to Wales for a friends party, but made time to meet us for a walk and a spot of lunch.
Rosie goes crazy and insists on kissing James face.
There are many statues in Hyde Park but the huge and macho bronze Statue of Achilles was the first statue installed here. It commemorates the 1st Duke of Wellington.
It was made using 33 tonnes of bronze from canons captured in Wellington’s campaigns in France (see, very macho!).
The head is based on the Duke of Wellington himself, however, the statue was originally completely nude and caused outrage (this is England my lovelies) so a small fig leaf had to be added soon after it was in place.
Time for a coffee stop.
Happy we are all together, the doggies trot on with big smiles.
Look Rosie pug it’s a tree house, sort of! I think she likes it!
Regular water stops were needed. Our three furry guzzlers drunk a bottle of water each time!
This is the Reformers tree mosaic. It commemorates the oak tree which became the focus of protests by the Reform League, a group campaigning to give all adult men the right to vote.
During one protest the Reformers’ Tree was set alight and the charred stump of the tree then became a notice board. It was used as a rallying point for meetings and a symbol of the right of the people to assemble.
As we walk towards the North east corner we chat about what a big deal this is, that finally an act of parliament allowed public speaking where people could talk about anything (as long as they didn’t use indecent or obscene language).
The area became famous all over the world as Speakers’ Corner.
We then walk through The Meadow. This is how Hyde Park would have once looked back in time and as soon as we get to the long grass we hear a chorus of crickets.
Biodiversity is very important aspect of the management of the park. Habitats are encouraged that bring in unique species into this London area.
Gazing up at the trees I wonder what changes these giants must have seen.
Despite another drink Rosie pug was still hot and tired. James decided to scoop her up for a while.
These horses must be warm too as their hooves stir up the dry ground. Children horse riding lessons seem very popular and sandy horse tracks are laid at some parts of the park.
I really recommend spending a relaxing day strolling round the Hyde Park sights. A map of the park is here for you.
I really wanted to see the Animals in War Memorial, but it’s placed just outside the park near Brook Gate. It was too busy with cars for the dogs, but if you can it is worth it.
I also went to see the Pet Cemetery which is in Victoria Gate Lodge’s garden on Bayswater Road. It is an enchanting world of miniature grave stones (about 300). The first pet buried there was Cherry the Maltese Terrier. Buried as a favour in the Gate Lodges garden by the lodge keeper. It gradually became an unofficial pet cemetery for the locals. Like a true secret garden all you can do is peek through the fortifying iron gates through the bushes.
We took a few minutes walk outside the park for a lunch with the dogs at a brilliant London pub The Victoria. Try the fish and chips and brownie with mint ice-cream for dessert (scrumptious)!