If you’ve stayed at the Park Avenue J Hotel London before then you’re probably no stranger to Hyde Park. The royal green space dates back to Tudor times and is surrounded by some of the most prominent attractions in the city. With its wealth of history, the park has long been a buzzing hive of tourism and sees annual festivals, music events and protest movements congregate on its green plains.
But that’s just scratching the surface of this intriguing royal park. Hyde Park spans 142 hectares and has been built upon for hundreds of years meaning that it harbours many stories, only some of which tourists will have heard about. Below are some of the best kept secrets of this beautiful park, have you seen or heard any of them during your stay at the Park Avenue J Hotel London Hyde Park?
Peter Pan Cup
The Serpentine Lido is one of the most popular outdoor swimming venues during the summer months, but in the winter not so much – for obvious reasons. However, the Peter Pan Cup, consisting of members of the Serpentine Swimming Club, takes a splash every Christmas Day, whatever the weather . It might not be open to non-members but you can certainly watch as these hardy swimmers brave the icy cold on Christmas every year.
Number One, London
The award for best address in the city goes to Apsley House, otherwise known as Number One, London. Located between Piccadilly and Hyde Park Corner, this beautiful collonaded house was built in 1778 by Lord Apsley after lengthy negotiations with the Crown Estate. As the first house you would pass on your way into what was then a much smaller London, the house was bequeathed with the address, presumably making post delivery very easy indeed.
Hyde Park’s Pet Cemetery
First started by the Hyde Park lodge-keeper when their terrier Cherry passed away in 1881, the Hyde Park pet cemetery developed over 22 years in the gardens around Victoria Gate Lodge in the park. Located on Bayswater Road, the pet cemetery isn’t open to the public usually but if guests at our Hyde Park rooms hotel are lucky, they can book a guided tour on selected days of the year.
Rotten Row Street Lamps
Don’t be put off by the name, Rotten Row actually gained its name from a derivation of the French for King’s Road and was used in the 1690s’ as a link from Hyde Park Corner to the Serpentine. As the area was often plagued by robbers and used by monarchs on their way to St James’s Palace, the King, then William III, lit the lane with 300 gas lamps, thus establishing it as the first street lit road in London.
Wellington Arch’s Smallest Police Station
The southeast corner’s mainstay attraction – Wellington Arch – has more to it then guests passing to reach our afternoon tea hotel might realise. The hollow interiors of these arches were formerly used as a park keepers lodge and more interestingly after that, was home to the smallest police station in London. You could probably only fit a handful of constables in there, but nevertheless, it helped to maintain law and order in Hyde Park. Nowadays the interior of the arch is used as an exhibition space by the English Heritage association, a far cry from its original intention as a memorial to the Duke of Wellington.