Hyde Park, September 2015. Every time I come to London I’m always amazed all over again at how green it is. I try to go and visit a different park each year and I’m nowhere near getting through everything. Hyde Park is the city’s obvious biggie at a whopping 145 hectares. Nabbed from The Church by Henry VIII in 1536, it was initially used for hunting, duels, horse racing and most popular of all in those days, public executions!
Hyde Park, September 2015. Happily, the park’s entertainment was much more wholesome on the autumnal afternoon of my visit. Embarking on a gentle stroll with a mysterious new companion called Lydia, we witnessed plenty of boating, dog-walking, guitar strumming and this skillful old dude performing impressive football tricks to the delight of all who passed him.
Hyde Park, September 2015. The local wildlife is a joy too. There are all manner of birds, including robins, crows, pigeons, ducks, cormorants, herons, swans and geese; while visitors should head to Serpentine Bridge around dusk for the best spot to watch Hyde Park’s swooping bat community. And you can’t leave without getting close to at least a few of its native grey squirrels. Scampering up trees, down drains and across paths, some of them are pretty tame and will happily hop within a few meters of you in the hope of catching a crumb or two of whatever you’re munching on.
Hyde Park, September 2015. Imagine living in the middle of Hyde Park! Well, whoever resides in this amazing little cottage has the pleasure of doing just that! Built in the mid 1830s, Serpentine Lodge is a charming little place that’s been home to a succession of park keepers and their families. Today it’s a grade II listed building and a brief search online shows that it was valued at around £1.5 million back in 2013.
Hyde Park, September 2015. London has a reputation for being a hard city, a place where everyone’s in a rush and has no time to talk. But my experiences have always been the opposite. I remember Lydia and I stopping to chat to all kinds of different people during our Hyde Park wanderings. This Thai woman was one of them, a housekeeper for a ridiculously rich American family who lived nearby. She was out walking Nixon the dog, which seemed a leftfield choice of name if one opts to go down the ex president route. In any case it was fun to chat with her and she gave us a few interesting anecdotes from her time working for Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags.