London has more than 80 parks within a seven- to eight-mile radius of the city's center. Some of the grounds are manicured; others, like Hamstead's heath, run a bit wild. Nevertheless, Hyde Park is without question the largest and most famous park in London, with more than 340 acres of parkland, including swimming and boating on the serene Serpentine lake, horseback riding at Rotton Row, strolling through numerous botanical gardens and simply relaxing on the trimmed greens. In addition to the recreational amenities, Hyde Park features several of London's attractions, including the magnanimous Achilles statue, the War Memorial and the Wellington Arch and Museum.
Indeed, Hyde accommodates everyone from nobles to nutcases. But nowhere else will you find such an energetic mix of people than at Speaker's Corner, located at the northeast corner of the park. This corner is famous for its Sunday orators, which include anyone with enough gall to stand atop their soapbox and speak up. Almost every Sunday, hundreds of opinions fly through the British air addressing a variety of subjects, from politics to religion to shoe sizes and more. Since 1872, speech has always been free and sometimes lucid, and spectator's comments made at Speaker's Corner may lead gentle hearts to rethink British manners. In short, this phenomenon is certainly a sight to see and there's no better place to spend a Sunday, especially when theaters are closed.
TIP: British who seem rather aloof instantly melt if asked about their dogs.
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