One of the things I enjoy the most about London is its greenery. 40% of the city is green space, so no matter which area you live in, you’re probably not far from a park.
I am fairly close to Hyde Park, but I don’t go there often because it gets quite busy. The other day, however, I decided to go for a wander through the Italian Gardens. You can reach them by navigating to Lancaster Gate tube station and then entering the park through the gate opposite the station.
The first thing you’ll see on entering the park is this house.
I used to want to live somewhere like this, until I realised you’d probably have to deal with drunken louts in the evenings, who’d get themselves locked in the park and would probably bang on your door demanding that you open the gate. On the other hand, having the keys to Hyde Park would be pretty cool. If living in a royal park appeals to you, there’s more information on the official website.
The Italian Gardens are just down to the right of the house; you’ll see them once you’ve started walking down the path. They feature several fountains with benches where you can sit and while away the hours.
The Italian Gardens are part of Kensington Gardens, which makes up the west end of Hyde Park. The idea behind them was actually imported from the Isle of Wight, where James Pennethorne had created a similar Italian garden for the wealthy Osborne family on their property. In 1860 Pennethorne brought the concept to the English mainland, and the Italian Gardens in Hyde Park were born.
A steam engine in the Pump House used to operate the fountains, but nowadays they run on less steampunkish means. They feature several types of water flora, some more deliberate than others; this summer we have had an increase in green algae in the ponds of London due to the unusually high temperatures.
Although some consider it unsightly, I think it contrasts beautifully with the pink flowers on the overhanging bush.
The Italian Gardens aren’t the only beautiful feature in Kensington Gardens – take a look at the official website for more details.
What’s your favourite park?