Saturday, July 5, 2008

London attractions : The Royal Parks - Green patches within London

Right, perhaps 'patches' is an understated word to use. In fact, 40% of London is covered with green space according to LondonNews. I'm not sure how they arrive at that figure though but I'm quite surprised that such a significant area is allocated to the greens despite the industrial revolution that changed London's landscape in much of the 19th and early 20th century.

A sizable proportion of this space can be attributed to eight Royal Parks that were used as hunting grounds exclusively by the Royals back then. These parks were opened to the public one after another as time goes by.

Hyde Park, the largest of them all, opened to the public in 1637. It remained much loved by the locals and is my favorite spot in central London. By the way, it's my wife's as well as it offers easy access to Oxford Street where Selfridges is and also to Knightsbridge where Harvey Nichols and Harrods are.

Unlike some parks in the United States, landscaping is not done deliberately in the Hyde Park. If there is, it wasn't too apparent to me. It is essentially a park with large expanse of grassland with trees lining walkways that cater to horses as well. With a huge pristine lake at the centre, often filled with geese and rowing boats, it is, in every sense of the words, a park where families can spend an entire afternoon in.

Summer's in full swing in London these past few days and sunbathers are out in full force in an attempt to get a tan look, which is apparently the in thing now.

Me? I'm going to get a deckchair and finish my Terry Pratchett while munching on some tea biscuits. That's if those squirrels don't get to them first.


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16 comments:

LadyBanana said...

It's true London does have some wonderful green spaces.. Have you been to Holland Park? Some of that is so woody and wild it's hard to believe you are in central London.

Then of course, there is Hampstead Heath, Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill - beautiful..

C K said...

@ladybanana,
I've just came back from Regent Park. It was beautiful, especially the 'secret garden'. The Queen's Rose Garden is beautiful as well though some roses have already withered...

Hye Munar said...

Hi, I am new here and I am glad meeting you. London is a very beautiful place and just by reading you posts, it makes me wanna visit the place ;0

Drop by at my blog some time. Take care ;0

waitingkitty said...

Yeah, the parks in London were just fabulous! I was there in May this year, great weather and great air quality! I especially love to see so many happy dogs running around freely! Wish I can say the same for HK but it sucks here...I really miss East Coast Park and Botanical Gardens back home.

C K said...

@Hye Munar,
Thanks for stopping by! I'm still discovering London day by day.

C K said...

@waitingkitty,
I think people go to different places for different reasons. I mean, you don't go to HK for its parks. :)

But I've not been to HK before and I've heard that Lantau (did I get the name right?) Island is quite serene.

East Coast Park? Haha, I miss the beaches really. I'm a huge fan of sandcastles! As for Botanic Gardens, I've not been there since 10 yrs back. Just didn't find the occasion to I guess.

Thomas said...

The parks in London are much better and more green than the ones in Tokyo.

I think my favorite attraction is the Peter Pan statue. Is that in Hyde Park?

SheR. said...

My restaurant was really close to Green Park So everyday when I have my break, my fiance would wait in the park for me so that we could spend the precious few hours together. Hee.. Missed those times. Ha..

Nomadic Matt said...

I'm going to London next week and really looking forward to seeing a lot of the parks the city has to offer.

eastcoastlife said...

sigh.... wish I have the time to sit and read a book in our parks here in Singapore. I'm 5 mins from East Coast Park but the beach is too crowded.... noisy, full of cyclists and rollerbladers. grr....

C K said...

@thomas,
The Peter Pan statue? That sounds familiar... but I cannot put my finger at which one.

I'm not sure about Tokyo but Kyoto has more ornate gardens I must say.

C K said...

@sher.
I can imagine that you worked real late hours in London back then. So what time does your restaurant close?

C K said...

@normadic matt,
Try Primrose Hill for a good view of the cityline. I hope that Regent's Park's roses are still there.

I'm sure you'll love the London parks!

C K said...

@ecl,
Sometimes, I really feel that Singapore is getting really crowded. I mean, it's packed at shopping malls and at the parks as well... pretty soon, we'll all be confined to our homes only. :0

waitingkitty said...

Talk about being too crowded, wait till you come to HK! This place is a mad house! If I can, I will stay in...

C K said...

@waitingkitty,
Was thinking of popping by HK on our way back to Singapore for a visit. I'm going to experience that first hand, I guess. :)

I was wondering whether it'll be inconvenient for a non-Cantonese speaker like me to roam around HK?