Saturday, October 22, 2011

Autumn in Hyde Park

One of the largest parks in London and one of the Royal Parks, Hyde Park is a great place to spend a sunny autumn afternoon on foot, bike, or even horseback. Take in the changing leaves: bright yellows, blazing oranges, and fiery reds. Bring some peanuts to feed the friendly squirrels; they will practically come take the peanuts from your hand!

Aside from the wonderful autumn colors, there are some other sights to see in Hyde Park.

Begin your walk at the Marble Arch, which was the chief entrance to Buckingham Palace until 1851 when it was moved to Hyde Park.  By tradition, only senior members of the royal family, the King’s Troop and the Royal Horse Artillery are allowed to ride or drive through the Arch. 

Stroll along to the Queen Elizabeth Gate. This gate was opened on July 6, 1993 by the Queen to honor the Queen Mother's 93rd birthday. The six gates, railings and lamps are made from forged stainless steel and bronze and the design of the gates is meant to span the styles of the 20th Century. 
Also at Hyde Park corner is the biggest monument: the Wellington Monument from 1822. It consists of a nude Achilles, with cloak draped over his arm, his armor beside him. He carries a leaf-shaped short sword, and holds aloft a shield.

My favorite sculpture in the park is much less elaborate. There is a humble fountain on the west side with two embracing bears. It dates from 1939 and is due to the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association celebrating their 80th anniversary. 

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