There are many reasons to visit Hyde Park when you’re in London, even if you’re not specifically attending one of the many huge events held there every year. One of the things that keep visitors coming back year after year is the sheer number of historical monuments and memorials that can be found in the park, most of them at Hyde Park Corner.
So, when you’re staying at Grand Royal London Hyde Park, here’s what you need to see:
The Wellington Monument (Achilles)
Erected in 1822 as a tribute to the Duke of Wellington’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars at the behest of King George III, this is an 18ft bronze statue of famous Greek hero Achilles. It was funded by British society women, who may or may not have had a say in the fact that Achilles is portrayed with just a fig leaf covering his modesty. The bronze came from melted-down cannons captured by Wellington.
Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 8 June 2005.
A tribute to the heroism of the cavalrymen lost in World War I by Field Marshal Lord Ypres, you can see this memorial between the Bandstand and the Wellington Memorial. As with that, the bronze for the statue came from captured enemy weapons and it portrays St George on horseback along with the dragon he defeated.
Ian Bruce from Natick, USA [CC BY 2.0]
Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Fountain
A modern-day memorial, this was commissioned after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and was the winning entry from a competition that saw 10,000 entries. It tells the story of her life ‘moving from turbulence to tranquillity’ by having water flowing from the top of the fountain in two directions – one gentle and one rapid – both of which meet in the pool at the bottom. It was unveiled by the Queen in 2004 just west of the Lido restaurant and pool.
www.CGPGrey.com [CC BY 2.0]
The first public memorial in Britain to victims of the Holocaust, this dates back to 1983 and features two large boulders set in gravel, surrounded by silver birch trees with the inscription: “For these I weep. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because of the destruction of my people”.
Iridescenti [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Like every other memorial on this list, the Holocaust Memorial is likely to make visitors emotional. If you’re staying at Hyde Park accommodation, you could always visit these and other sites in Hyde Park over the course of several days.
Norwegian War Memorial
A boulder mounted on three smaller stones, this was donated by the Norwegian navy as thanks for Britain’s support in World War II and can be seen west of Ranger’s Lodge.
Gordon Joly [CC BY-SA 1.0]
Queen Caroline Memorial
Queen Caroline might not be a household name today, but she played a huge part in shaping Hyde Park, including the creation of the Serpentine. A stone urn mounted on a plinth, it was unveiled by the Queen in 1990 overlooking the lake that Queen Caroline created.
Chris McKenna [CC BY-SA 3.0]
The newest monument in Hyde Park, these 52 stainless steel columns represent each of the people killed in the 7/7 terrorist attacks in 2005 and was the winner of a competition to pay tribute to them.
Nick Cooper at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0]