Hyde Park, covering more than 350 acres, is one of the biggest in the city of London, and it’s also considered one of the Royal Parks, so it’s one of the most desirable locations to explore in London. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life to explore nature for a while is definitely necessary every now and then, and Hyde Park offers the beauty and open space necessary to unwind.
What’s the background of Hyde Park? Continue reading to learn more about Hyde Park history, and then be sure to check it out the next time you’re in the area.
It All Started with Henry VIII
Hyde Park was acquired by Henry VIII when he took it from the Westminster Abbey monks in 1536. After they took the park over, Henry VIII and his court could be seen hunting for deer throughout the area, and it remained this type of private hunting area until James I took the throne and decided to allow for limited access to the park. James I even went ahead and appointed a keeper who would take charge of the land.
It wasn’t until Charles I that the nature of Hyde Park changed entirely. He created the Ring and then opened the area to the public in 1637.
An Escape from the Great Plague, and Rotten Row
In 1665, the Great Plague struck, causing a lot of London’s citizens to escape the city and camp throughout Hyde Park as they hoped to escape the disease.
Towards the end of that century, William III decided to move his court over to Kensington Palace, but the walk to St. James was deemed too dangerous, so he installed 300 oil lamps to light the way. This route was later called Rotten Row.
Renovations and Celebrations
The wife of George II, Queen Caroline, decided to have extensive renovations done throughout Hyde Park, and The Serpentine, which is a lake that’s about 11.34 hectares, was created in the 1730s as well.
As a result of these changes, the park eventually became a place for national celebrations. The Prince Regent had fireworks organized in 1814 to celebrate the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The Great Exhibition was held in 1851, and the Silver Jubilee Exhibition was held in 1977 to honour Queen Elizabeth II.
Hyde Park Today
Today, Hyde Park is the place to be for everything from leisurely and sporting activities, to various special events, and even wildlife watching. You can take a self-guided walk, check out the speeches and presentations at Speakers’ Corner, or just check out the natural beauty and the many statues, fountains, and memorials throughout the area.
Now that you know a bit of the history and beauty of Hyde Park, if you’re ready to check it out for yourself in person, book your stay at a place like Carlton Court, where you can be in the lap of luxury whenever you aren’t out and about exploring the many great places to see in London.