Sunday, August 19, 2018

Running in London's Central Park: Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park

To the risk of offending Her Majesty and the Royal Family, there is certainly a valid comparison between these green urban areas: similar size (615 acres for these two adjacent parks of London versus 840 for the New Yorker one), a piece of water each, grass areas, majestic trees, immersed in busy megalopolis and, not the least, both offering great opportunities to run a few miles safely, away from car traffic.

Actually, getting in through the Kensington Gardens, I was pleasantly surprised to see signs even limiting bike traffic on certain trails!
There are entrances all around the park, and trails in every direction, literally, so I don't have special instructions or recommended loop to share. As a matter of fact, there are so many trails, there are quite a few ways to get lost, not to mention the many distractions, from fountains, to statues, monuments, carousels or flower gardens. And, the coolest attraction of all, you may be lucky to catch the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment practicing around Hyde Park (special thought to my Dad who built a collection of miniatures of military horsemen).

Now, beyond the lack of time for running more miles, my biggest frustration was to realize that, while searching the web to write this post, I had missed the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. I had seen the location on Google Maps and couldn't believe they had built this humongous pile of oil barrels in her honor?
Oops, this is a recent sculpture of environmentalist artist Christ, an arrangement of 7,506 barrels weighing 660 tonnes and floating on the Serpentine.

Princess Diana's Memorial Fountain is a few yards away but in an area only open during day time and I missed the entrance. Well, if it was actually open because there has been quite a few security and drainage controversies since 2004. In any even, the concept and images look really nice in Wikipedia.

Again, these 2 parks provide a great place to get away from the car traffic, and especially the danger of running through streets while looking on the wrong side, a typical mistake for all of us visiting from countries driving on the other side of the road. If you have the luxury to stay downtown, which most people can't afford (despite amazing public transportation, some colleagues had commutes of several hours, up to 4 hours each way for one of them!).

And, to wrap-up, here is a virtual tour with additional pictures and videos, from my two runs through these parks this week. Hope some of you manage to run a few miles there, rain or shine, both being frequent in England!


The Joy of Life Fountain on the West edge of Hyde Park:
Swans and Christo's Mastaba on the Serpentine:
The Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens:
Wilson's Carousel in Kensington Gardens
Queen Victoria
Kensington Palace
 A marker pointing to Princess Diana's Memorial Fountain

 The Royal Albert Hall, place of the summer Proms
 The Albert Memorial
flanked on its 4 corners by allegorical representations of 4 continents:

 and Asia

 The Royal Gardens

 The French Embassy
 Note the "FRA1" plate!
 The central field of Hyde Park
 Joy of Life fountain
 The Serpentine

 Italian Gardens

No comments: