Hyde Park is a whopping 350 acre natural haven, located slap bang in the middle of the busy, bustling, concrete jungle that we know as London. King Henry VIII acquired this vast piece of land from the monks of Westminster Abbey, during his Dissolution of the monasteries. It was used by the King and his court to hunt deer and other wild animals as they rode around on their steeds. Public access was not permitted, and the park was kept as a private hunting ground until 1637, when Charles I allowed limited public access and created 'The Ring' - Hyde Park's famous promenade encircled by trees, that can be found just north of the lakes boat houses. The lake itself, named 'The Serpentine', is roughly 11.34 hectares in size, and wasn't actually a part of the park until the 1730's! George II's wife, Queen Caroline, particularly favoured the park, and had many renovations carried out on it, one of which was the creation of 'The Serpentine'.
Hyde Park was considered a sanctuary during the gruesome black plague epidemic of 1665, and many of the cities citizens seeked shelter amongst its trees, flora and fauna, in hopes of evading the deadly disease.
Hyde Park has also played host to many national celebrations, including the magnificent firework display organised by the Prince Regent in 1851, to celebrate the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Not to mention the Great Exhibition that was held there in 1851, or the Silver Jubilee Exhibition of 1977. Hyde Park is also famous for its 'Speakers Corner', which was created due to the argumentative meetings between Edmund Beales Reform League and the local law enforcement in 1866. Today, anybody may speak at Speakers Corners, on whichever subject they choose, and Hyde park is visited by millions each year.