Parks and Gardens, London
Postman's Park is so called because of its popularity with postal workers from London's former chief post office on the opposite side of King Edward Street.
The park was opened in 1880 and is made up of the churchyards of St Leonard's, Foster Lane, St. Botolph's, Aldersgate and the graveyard of Christ Church, Newgate Street.
In 1887, Victorian painter and sculptor, George Fredrick Watts was instrumental in erecting a memorial to heroic men and women who lost their lives saving others, but who received no recognition and might otherwise be forgotten, and dedicated a wall to their memories in 1900.
The wall is comprised of ceramic plaques, made by Doulton, relating the deeds of these heroes. One plaque reads ' Alice Ayres, daughter of a bricklayer's labourer, who by intrepid conduct saved three children from a burning house in Union Street, Borough, at the cost of her own young life'.
Postman's Park is a very peaceful place. There are plenty of benches, a moderately sized grassy area and a carp pond with a fountain. A perfect place to stop and take your ease, get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and contemplate the self-sacrifice of those who are remembered here for their fellow man.
One of the things I love so much about London is stumbling across little gems that are hidden just off the main drag. Once such gem is the St Dunstan in the East Church Garden.
St Dunstan in the East Church was an Anglican church that was almost entirely destroyed in the second World War. Only a tower and steeple survived, and today these house a small clinic.
In 1971, the ruins of the church were transformed into a public garden. This garden is a little oasis in the heart of the City of London, just a short walk from Tower Bridge.
Open to the public in daylight hours, it is a peaceful place to take a break from your hectic sightseeing schedule and favoured by nearby office workers for some lunch time relaxation.
There is a beautful park/square in Bloomsbury called Tavistock Square Gardens. In it are several memorials - in the very center of the park is a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) sitting in the lotus position. It is quite striking in its simplicity and every time I visited there were many flower bouquets laid down in front of the statue.
There is another memorial to Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake, who was one of the first women surgeons.
There is a large stone in the park, which is also a memorial (May 15th 1994). It has got a plaque with the inscription: "To all those who have established and are maintaining the right to refuse to kill". It is a memorial to conscientious objectors.
There are several trees in the park presented by well known people, f.ex. the Copper Beech tree presented by Pandit Nehru on 13th of June 1953, when the site for the erection of Gandhi´s statue was donated. The statue was then erected in 1968.
Another memorial is a cherry tree which was planted here in 1967 to commemorate the many victims of Hiroshima.
There is also a Friendship Tree at the park (Gingko Biloba) planted by Dr. L M Singhi, High Commissioner for India. It is dedicated to W.B. Yeats in 1997.
On July 7th 2005 there was a bombing by Tavistock Square. That bomb was one of 4 suicide bombings and was on board a bus number 30, killing 13 people on the bus. I remember this vividly as I had just left London the day before and was shocked when I heard about this on the news.
PLEASE CLICK TO SEE THE STATUE
Since I was in London at the end of December and the beginning of January, the parks and gardens were not at the top of my list to visit. The weather was, however, quite mild (I only wore a light jacket!)
I knew that London had one of the world's greenest city centers, so I made it a point to keep my eyes open. What I saw was lots of tree-filled squares, plenty of expanses of grass, and several parks.
The Park that I saw the most of was Regent's Park with the lake for boating, the London zoo, and an open-air theathre.
Also, I saw St. James Park with its reserve for wildfowl.
We saw, of course, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The park is a rallying place for political demonstrations. There's also the famed Speaker's Corner in the northeast where anyone can speak his/her mind.
The former grounds of Kensington Palace is next to Hyde Park and is now called Kensington Gardens. What I loved most about the gardens was the bronze statue of the fictional Peter Pan.
JM Barrie ( author of Peter Pan) often walked in Kensington Gardens, and he was accompanied by his Newfoundland dog named Luath (the inspiration for "Nana, the dog in Peter Pan). This bronze statue was done by Sir George Frampton and is ever so charming.
Unfortunately, I had no opportunity to visit Kew Gardens (botanic gardens).
I imagine that the spring and fall are the two best times to enjoy the parks and gardens in London; however, I think any time one visits, he/she should try to see them.
in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street is the tiny little green and pleasant Hanover Square. Full of mature trees and green lawns, Hanover Square is a lovely quiet spot to sit and pause, and have a cold drink. Benches are at a premium though as lots of other tourists and locals will have the same idea
The National Gardens Scheme is a charity founded in 1927 to raise money by opening gardens to the public.
3,500 gardens throughout England and Wales - 200 in the London area - with owners who generously open their gardens to the public on specific days to raise money from the entry charges plus the sale of teas and plants.
The gardens i attended charged £2 entry charge each or a special deal for 4 for £6 with teas and coffees 50p to £1. The London guide also included gardens that were having evening opening with wine and cheese for up to £4.50.
Some of the main beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices, Crossroads, The Nurses Welfare Service, The Royal Gardeners' Orphan Fund, NGS gardeners bursaries - to sponsor 15 trainee gardeners. £103,000 was raised last year by the London area gardeners!
A guide is produced each year for the London area giving you details of the adress, date or event planned or a complete book of all the participating gardeners and their addresses
London must be one of the greenest cities in the world, if not the greenest! If you have to be in the city on a warm spring or summer day, then it's the nicest place to be.
The Royal Parks are beautifully maintained, and on sunny days you will find tourists and Londoners chilled and relaxed, or cycling or skating or just sitting in a deck chair eating icecream and soaking up the sun!
Hyde Park also has the Serptentine where it's possible to hire boats for a lovely lazy paddle about. All the parks have places to get refreshments (a little expensive but this is central London). The flower beds change according to the season but in Spring they are particularly colourful with all the daffs and tulips around!
In some of the parks cycling and skating is prohibited and there are plenty of Park Officials and police around to make sure this is enforced!
It is also possible to hire deck chairs - £1.50 for 2 hours.
Check the website for loads of history and info about London's Royal Parks.
There is a beautiful Peace Pagoda in Battersea park - The London Peace Pagoda. It was built by monks and nuns and followers of the Nipponzan Myohoji. It was inaugurated on the 14th of May 1985. It is beautifully decorated with golden statues of Buddha.
Nipponzan Myohoji presented the London Peace Pagoda to the people of London to celebrate the 1984 GLC Peace Year.
The Peace Pagoda is dedicated to the realisation of Universal Peace. May that come true one day - Universal Peace.
The Nagasaki Day commemoration Floating Lantern Ceremony takes place by the Peace Pagoda on the 9th of August every year. And the annual celebration of the Peace Pagoda takes place in mid June.
I thought the Peace Pagoda deserved a special tip. I don´t think many visitors to London know that it exists or go down to Battersea. I stayed by Battersea Park on four of my visits to London, as an Icelandic woman was renting out rooms there. That is how I found out about the Peace Pagoda.
If you're somewhere around at the south-eastern part of London, somewhere between Lewisham or Catford or in Hither Green, visit Mountsfield park. It's a calm place for the rest or sunbaths at a good weather, also has a playground for childrens (I've tried it also, just for fun:D) and two tennis courts for to play free.
I moved to the inner East End of London in 1988 and, shortly after my arrival, I was being shown round Whitechapel by a friend. On walking past this site, I asked what it was called and was told, "Oh that, that is Itchy Park, you don't want to go there". I wondered at the odd name until I looked closer and it made sense. Tha place was full of street dwellers, the vast majority of them either drunk or on drugs and a good proprtion of them seemed to be scratching themselves. My mate told me that if I tried to walk through at night I would at worst get fleas or lice and at best get my head kicked in and robbed. Not the greatest introduction to the place but it is a much changed place now.
I need to lay one myth to rest here first of all. Locals like to tell you that this place is the inspiration for the 1967 Small Faces hit song, Itchycoo Park". This is simply not the case as confirmed by the late Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott from the band who place the park in Ilford. I know the area where the band grew up and met and there is no logical reason why they would have trekked all the way to Whitechapel to go to this place, so scratch (pun absolutely intended) that one off your list.
I did, however, notice that there was a very defined outline of a church on the ground and this gives a little more idea of the origin of the place. The Church was St. Mary's also St. Mary Matfelon and at that time it's official name was St. Mary's Churchyard or St. Mary's Park. It is now renamed of which more later. so what's the history?
Well, a slight digression first, as is my way. At the end of the first Millenium and start of the second, the Christian Church was well-established in Britain and by some quirk, the Bishop of Stepney was more powerful and influential than the Bishop of London. The post is still important in the Anglican Church. Although this place stands geographically about midway between Stepney and the City, it came under the former Diocese. Originally there was a chapel of ease here known as St. Mary Matfelon which was either made of white stone or whitewashed (accounts vary) and was therefore known as the "White Chapel" which gives us our modern name for the area. The original church was the second oldest in Stepney after the wonderful St. Dunstan's. The original church was replaced and then replaced again in 1877 only to burn down in 1880 and be replaced in 1882. It is the outline of that church you see today.
This third Church was razed to the ground in the German Luftwaffe blitz of the Second World War and remained as a bombsite until 1966 when it was laid out as a public park to be promptly colonised by the vagrants as described above. In 1989, the park was renamed Altab Ali Park commemorating a Bangladeshi youth who had been killed in an attack there. This is the official name until this day which undoubtedly reflects the ethnic make-up of both the area and the local Council. This is not the only Bangladeshi influence here. The structure pictured is apparently a memorial to some dissidents who were killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the 1970's and known as the Shaheed Minar monument. Looking at it, it seems slightly odd to me. Seeing the red disc, I thought it was an attempt to portray a Bangladeshi flag but that is a red disc on a dark green ground, so I don't understand why the flanking structures are white. Maybe I just don't understand modern sculpture.
The park underwent a further renovation in mid to late 2012 with some landscaping done and, most significantly the old outline of the Church laid out in raised stone benches. Frankly, I preferred the old outline flush with the grass. What remains is the fountain by the entrance on White Church Lane (pictured) dated 1879. It carries the rather enigmatic inscription "erected by one unknown yet well-known". Preumably some benefactor who wished to remain anonymous.
The street dwellers have long been moved on and the place is now a pleasant place to visit. Indeed, on the occasional sunny day we get here, local office workers and students can often be seen soaking up the rays and having a packed lunch. It is a pleasant enough place and a far cry from what I remember not so long ago. Pop in if you are in the area.
One of the highlights of a visit to one of London's many parks - especially if you have kids in tow - is feeding the birds. A surprising number of species have happily adapted to the urban environment, and as well as the usual water birds (swans, geese, ducks, coots and moorhens), there should be a range of garden birds, including starlings, blackbirds, sparrows, crows and various *** (and yes, before you accuse me of crudeness, this is a technical term - they come in blue, great, coal, marsh, bearded, willow and long-tailed varieties!). And, of course, the ubiquitous pigeons.
The better organised among us will come well prepared with bread to feed the ducks, whereas more disorganised souls are cajoled into sharing our lunch. Just be sure that you're not feeding the birds titbits that are indigestible to them and try not to feed pigeons at all, as, harsh though it might sound, they are winged vermin and most big cities are actively trying to curb their numbers.
A word of caution: the ducks, geese and swans in most London parks are very habituated to humans and aren't at all scared of people. Swans in particular are strong and can be pushy beasts when there's food on offer - as the photo shows, a swan at full stretch is taller than a toddler - and they can give you a very nasty nip, so rather drop the food on the ground and make sure that kids are under supervision. The only reason why I was handfeeding this one was that I had heavy duty ski gloves on and wanted a photo to prove the point - as they say in the classics, don't attempt this one at home!
P.S. I am amused that this benign tip appears to have triggered the VT censorship mechanism! For those who can't work out what the asterisked 'obscene' bird name is, it's a three lettered word beginning and ending with 't' that rhymes with 'sit'!
Postman's Park is a park in central London, a short distance north of St Paul's Cathedral. Bordered by Little Britain, Aldersgate Street, St. Martin's Le Grand, King Edward Street, and the site of the former headquarters of the General Post Office (GPO), it is one of the largest parks in the City of London, the walled city which gives its name to modern London. Its name reflects its popularity among workers from the nearby GPO's headquarters.
n 1900, the park became the location for George Frederic Watts's Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, a memorial to ordinary people who died while saving the lives of others and who might otherwise be forgotten, in the form of a loggia and long wall housing ceramic memorial tablets. Only four of the planned 120 memorial tablets were in place at the time of its opening, with a further nine tablets added during Watts's lifetime. Watts's wife, Mary Watts, took over the management of the project after Watts's death in 1904 and oversaw the installation of a further 35 memorial tablets in the following four years along with a small monument to Watts. Later she became disillusioned with the new tile manufacturer and, with her time and money increasingly occupied by the running of the Watts Gallery, she lost interest in the project, and only five further tablets were added during her lifetime.
This was one of my favorite places to see when I was in London. In fact when I came home and told my friends about it they had no idea what it was, but after I showed them the picture of the memorial tablets, they were all enthralled. I had to show them my favorite memorial which makes them all cry. I would go back to this park to sit and read a book, have a picnic, look at the koi pond, even just to listen to the wind blow through the trees. It is a truly beautiful place with a fantastic memorial wall dedicated to heroes who would never know they are heroes.
To my mind, one of Central London's greatest attractions is the amount of space given over to public parks. They seem to me to be the 'safety valve' that helps to keep the teeming mass of humanity halfway sane, and provide a welcome retreat in which a footsore, culturally overloaded tourist can take refuge.
I like lots of things about London parks, especially the fact that you are allowed to sit on the grass (unless otherwise indicated): people watching over a sunny lunch time when office workers expose pasty limbs and torsos to the sky in search of a tan is enormous fun (even though you may need to keep on your sunglasses to cope with the glare of such expanses of exposed whiteness ;). Indeed, I like the fact that parks in Britain (and the former Colonies) are dominantly grass - I have never managed to warm to the French idea of gravelled parks (which, apart from any aesthetic consideration, are murder on shoe heels). And of course I love the wildlife: even the scampering grey squirrels, despite the fact that they are bullysome aliens who have pushed the native red squirrel to the brink of extinction throughout most of Britain.
I also really enjoy the monuments and memorials (featured under several of my other travel tips) as well as the purpose-built structures such as clocks and bandstands. These tend to be Victorian and designed in a functional but slightly frivolous style, and are genteel relics of a bygone age that remind you that parks have been an integral part of London life for centuries.
During the summer months there is always a fair or a carnaval going on at some park in London,in this park there is four bands,all playing different music ,goes on for saturday and sunday,on sunday there will be some Latin american music which I am looking forward to,last year it was very good..
A very American square. At the heart of London's wealthy Mayfair district lies a square as synonymous with America as with the British upper class. John Adams set up the first mission here in 1785, nine years after the Declaration of Independence, and just two years after the British lost the American Revolutionary War. Later Dwight D. Eisenhower established a military headquarters during World War 2, earning the square the nickname "Eisenhower Platz". And in 1960 the US Embassy was opened, making the square the focal point of all things American in London, such as when wreathes were laid in 2001 in memory of the victims of the terror attacks.
Soon the embassy will move out of Grosvenor Square, but the memory of the American legacy will linger on for some time yet.