Located in the heart of the city, Hyde Park is one of the Royal Parks of London. Either by practicing some sports, or just by enjoying a café in one of its restaurants, the 142 hectares (350 acres) of the park offer the perfect place to relax and disconnect from the city’s stress.
The Hyde Park was originally acquired by Henry VIII as a hunting ground, but its nature changed completely in 1637 when it was opened to the general public. Today, with its meadow and beautiful lake, it provides a unique habitat for a diverse variety of flora and fauna. Wildflowers, more than 4000 trees, butterflies, different species of birds, swans, and also bats can be seen at this magical natural environment.
Besides enjoying its natural wonders, there is always something to see and do at Hyde Park.
Some of its main sites of interest are:
• Diana Princess of Wales Memorial
• London’s Holocaust Memorial
• The Speakers Corner – After years of several demonstrations in Hyde Park, vocal orators have been allowed to use this corner in order to express their opinions. It was formerly visited by Marx, Lenin and George Orwell among others.
• 7 July Memorial – 52 steel pillars, representing each one of the victims of the 7 July 2005 terrorist attack.
• The Weeping Beech – A botanical curiosity known as the “upside down tree”.
Different sports activities could be practiced at Hyde Park. From informal running, cycling and games of frisbee to regular tennis and bowling tournaments organized by the park’s sport center. The extensive areas of short well kept grass, motivates to practice the most popular sport of the country, football. The pool remains open through all the summer season, and boating at the lake is a very enjoyable activity for many Londoners.
Hyde Park has always been a place for special cultural and popular activities. The “Royal Gun Salutes” are fired in the park on Accession Day, Coronation Day and on the birthdays of both The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The park also hosts “The Live 8” and other rock concerts attracting millions of people to London. It is planned that for the London Olympics 2012, Hyde Park will host triathlon and open water swimming games.
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