During one of my travels in London I was intrigued by a story in my guidebook about Speaker’s Corner, a place where on specific days people can go and say what they think is best.
Hyde park speaker’s corner
So together with Ornella, we wanted to go and see what it was all about, it is true that London always hides unusual corners and activities, but this one seemed really strange to us. So after seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace we headed towards Hide Park by taxi, but the distance is not so prohibitive even on foot along Costitution hill which passes through Green Park and Buckingham palace garden to Hide park corner.
Speaker’s Corner where it is located
If you want to get directly to the speaker corner the metro station and Marble Arch which is right at the end of Oxford Street. The place where people talk is just as soon as you enter London Hide Park.
We came from the south because a visit to London’s largest green park was a must while we were there.
hyde park what to see
As I had read Hide Park is the largest park in the city where many Londoners gather for a break or to do sport. If you have time you can rent deckchairs for a relaxing break away from the noise of the city but within the city itself, or rent a boat to go on the Serpentine, an artificial lake that occupies a large part of the park. In the park there is also a horse gallopers that runs through it, so it is a real leisure spot in one of the most hectic cities in the world.
The park contains several themed gardens, from the Italian Garden to a noteworthy rose garden and also many monumental gardens. Noteworthy are its monuments: from the magnificent monumental entrance to the Princess Diana memorial fountain, the Albert Memorial, a monument commissioned by Queen Victoria in honour of her consort and the famous statue of Piter Pan located near the house where the writer JM Barries wrote his stories, many set in the same park.
London Hide Park also has two contemporary art galleries and at its far end the magnificent Kensington Palace, the residence of Princess Diana. If you would like to make a thorough and relaxing visit we would need a full day, but back to the main purpose of our visit…
At the north-west end of the park every Sunday morning eccentric people meet at the speaking corner to talk about different topics ranging from politics to religion. The place took up its function during the Second World War, when Londoners took refuge in the park to escape the bumbardments and there they could easily criticise Churchill’s work.
Speaker’s Corner preachers
When we arrived at the speker corner in hide park, we were greeted by a strange character who was talking to the crowd wearing a diving suit, but the whole context seemed to come out of a movie.
There was talk mainly of religion, of all religions, but opponents of the government also played their part. It was a very unusual situation where the many people who intervened, I think mostly tourists, applauded or whistled.
I knew it would be interesting to see this unusual aspect of London but expectations were far exceeded by reality.