London – Green Park – Westminster Walk – 31.12.2011

This was to be the last walk of 2011.

We started out our New Year’s adventure in Green Park.  Thinking that it would be difficult to even see anything at the dark hour, it was lovely to be able to come across my first discovery.  A beautifully renovated statue, which I could just about capture on my blackberry. It was very beautiful, overlaid with wonderful gold leaf! The statue in fact is “Diana of the Treetops” by Estcourt J. Clack. The statue has been in the park since 1954. The original statue was unfortunately beyond repair and it had been agreed to fund a replacement. Estcourt J. Clack, won a competition to replace the statue, he was a full-time woodwork teacher at Blundell’s School in Devon.

We continued our walk in Green Park for a while, but unfortunately it seems that there was no way out! We were to find out later why this was. We had to turn around and take a detour into Park Lane. It was quite a pleasant detour, as we saw the “Park Lane Hotel”, which looked rather beautiful decked out in Christmas Lights. The hotel is Art Deco in style and has stood there since the 1920’s. It has featured in films such as This hotel is featured in the films “The End of the Affair”, “The Winds of War” and “The Golden Compass”.

From 2011 – 31.12.2011 – London – Green Park – Westminster

As we continued to stroll along the Lane, we passed by the “Hard Rock Cafe”, which we could not visit as it was on the other side of the road! Shame as it houses some great rock memorabilia. The very first piece ever donated to the Cafe was Eric Clapton’s Lead II Fender, originally donated to reserve a space at the busy bar! It is still there – such a shame would did not see it – another day hopefully!

As we headed out of Park Lane, we discovered that the reason we had been unable to come out of the Park, was due to the new memorial that was being built to commemorate the RAF Bomber Command. It is currently all behind hoardings. We were now passing through “Wellington’s Arch”. This Arch was commissioned, alongside Marble Arch, to commemorate Britain’s Victories during the Napoleonic Wars, it was built between 1826-1830. The Arch was originally to form part of a ceremonial route to Buckingham Palace, however, in 1882 it was moved due to a Road widening Scheme and therefore could no longer serve as the route which leads to the Palace or even as an entrance to Hyde park. The Wellington Statue that once been on the roof of the Arch, was moved to Aldershot and was replaced in 1912, by the bronze of the “Angel of Peace” that is seen on the Arch at present.

Passing this important piece of this history, crossed over to find ourselves at the house “No 1 London”. Apsley House. It had been long believed that this point was the beginning of London in the 18th Century when this beautiful house was built. Apsley House was built between 1781-1787 by Robert Adam, who was also responsible for Admiralty Arch at Whitehall. Apsley House, eventually became Home to Arthur Wellesley or more famously known as the Duke of Wellington. He obtained the house from his elder brother, after he fell into financial difficulty. Wellesley had the house renovated, including having the original red brick exterior clad in bath stone.

From 2011 – 31.12.2011 – London – Green Park – Westminster

It was here we turned to go into Hyde Park. We passed by the “The Queen Mother Gate”. These gates, which are also known as the “Queen Elizabeth Gates”, were opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 6 July 1993. These beautiful gates, sculpted from Bronze and stainless steel was created by Giusseppe Lund. He was also responsible for a Viking Boat Sculpture marking the last Viking battle that happened in Largs, such a shame we missed it when we visited. These gates were built in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Continuing on our walk, we found ourselves entering “Winter Wonderland”. We were confronted by the “Christmas Market”, despite Christmas being over, all the stalls seemed to be playing Christmas music! This was a definitely a theme throughout the wonderland – Reindeer Rides, there was even Santa’s Train! Yes! we found a huge Steam Train in the middle of Hyde Park. In fact “Olton Hall”, more famously known as “Hogwart’s Castle”, which pulled the “Hogwarts Express” in Harry Potter! This train started life in about 1944, as an unassuming passenger train on the Great Western Railway only to end up a star on screen!

From 2011 – 31.12.2011 – London – Green Park – Westminster

We stopped here briefly so we could take a break and eat some food, we sat close by the imposing Big Wheel. Lit up against the dark sky it looked magnificent. We did continue to wander, watching the Ice Skating, I thought perhaps they maybe next competitors on “Dancing with Ice”?. It was now time to leave the park, and make our way down to the river to see the fireworks. On route, we passed by the mighty Buckingham Palace. This beautiful palace has been the official residence of the British Royal Family since 1837. The Palace was originally purchased by George III for his wife Charlotte as a family home which would have been close to the Royal St James Palace. The house was extensively remodeled over time by George IV and William IV. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to take up residence at the palace.

We strolled on down the notorious “Birdcage Walk” which looked tranquil so late in the evening! The name of this walk, originated from King James 1, who kept an abundance of Aviaries of rare tropical birds along this very road! I don’t think we could imagine that so late in the evening!

Finally we reached Parliament Square, which we had visited earlier in the year. Big Ben looked so imposing even so late… Unfortunately we couldn’t make the riverside to watch the fireworks as it was packed! But a surprise was in store! At midnight Big Ben exploded!(It was only fireworks!) This heralded the new year in 2012 – Happy New Year everyone!

For all the evenings walk Photos!

2011 – 31.12.2011 – London – Green Park – Westminster

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2 responses to “London – Green Park – Westminster Walk – 31.12.2011

  1. Pingback: Hampstead – Belsize Park Walk – 18.03.2013 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: London Walk – Liverpool Street – Victoria – 05.04.2014 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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