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Hyde and seek

Hyde Park, Albert Memorial and my unrealized Regency fantasy

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My last taste of Britain was on Sunday night and Monday morning when we walked in Hyde Park. To me London’s largest park is a symbol of the regency era that I loved studying and reading about in my historical novels…it’s where the heroes rode their stallions in the morning mist, where the ladies took their morning constitutional and where romance happened. Alas, that isn’t the reality nowadays, but it is still a beautiful park with its fair share of attractions, such as the Albert Memorial, the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, the Serpentine and the Italian Fountains and many more. It would have been nice to take a horseback ride along Rotten Row or the Ring to complete my Regency fantasy, but we were running low on energy and settled for a stroll along the gardens, after mom and dad dashed through the park looking for the public washrooms. One downside to travelling with older folks is the constant searching of the nearest washrooms! Thankfully for mum and dad, Hyde Park's washrooms are free because I had no pence coins left!

As we were walking aimlessly on the paths, we came upon the Albert Memorial, the ornate canopied pavilion commissioned by Queen Victoria in the late 1800’s as a tribute to her husband. It’s a bit much, but if the man was as devoted to the public good and the arts as the history books say, then why not have a memorial (120,000£ and 10 years to build!). There are too many details to mention in this blog, but if you Google or Wikipedia the Prince Albert Memorial, you’ll get all the details about the golden seated statue of the prince consort, the canopy, the allegorical sculptures and the Frieze or Parnassus, which depicts 169 individual composers, architects, poets, painters, and sculptors. I’ll post some pictures later on, but by the time we reached the statue it was dark and raining so the pictures don’t really translate its grandeur.

The Kensington Palace and Gardens are also part of Hyde Park, but due to renovations and a 13.50£ entrance fee, we walked away from the gates. The Princess Diana Memorial Playground is charming with its Peter Pan theme, and the memorial fountain is supposedly quite nice, but we didn’t have time to see it the following morning. I saw some of the other statues in the park, but nothing really stands out; the Italian Fountains are nice, but nothing exceptional.

I would have loved to stroll along the entire length of the Serpentine, cross the bridge at the Long Water on the arm of a tall, dark and handsome English lord. As it was, I had mum and dad, dogs and lots of pigeons…I guess some things aren’t mean to be!

London was good to me; I had a cloudy touring day on the bus and the river cruise, a nice walk in Hyde Park, and a taste of London in the rain. There is so much I’m dying to do in London, but we had little time and we were tired from our cruise. I think I’ll need at least a week to do it all, including day trips to Dover, Brighton and Oxford…tentative date 2013!

Posted by Mireille C 14:34 Archived in England

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