It is one of the largest Royal Parks in the City and dedicated to gentler leisure pursuits of walking the woodland walkways or boating or indeed swimming in the Serpentine. For those who find even that a bit too active just hire a deck chair and have a snooze... In the 19th century it was the fashion to take your horse for light exercise, known as hacking, on the sandy surface of Rotten Row. Today there are still stables where horses can be hired - it is not cheap and you should dress suitably but it is a fabulous experience. Every Sunday Speakers Corner comes alive attracting many to debate the weird and wonderful.
Forming the western end of Hyde Park, the Gardens were at one time the private estate of Kensington Palace. The palace which is well worth a visit is now the new home for William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. There are many royal tributes in the Gardens including The Victorian Italian Gardens by Lancaster Gate, The Prince Albert Memorial opposite Royal Albert Hall, and the water playground created in the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. Forming a continuous ring of water features this area is much enjoyed by children who can safely splash around in its shallow waters.
One of the most popular street markets in London runs through the heart of Notting Hill. Although the market is famous for antiques and bric-a-brac on its busier days (summer weekends) it sells anything and everything. The area was featured in the movie Notting Hill in 1999. And for those who are still looking for set locations such as the blue door and the travel bookshop, the addresses are: 280 Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 (the blue door), 142 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 (travel bookshop).
You can tell when the Queen is in residence when her special flag is flying on the flagpole over the main portico. The palace is huge with 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In comparison to other Royal Palaces, Buckingham Palace is relatively new having been occupied by the British Sovereign only since 1837. Visits to the Sate rooms can be made usually between August and September.
Born in Alsace in France, Marie Tussaud was an expert at wax modelling and had accumulated a huge collection of lifelike models of the rich and famous which she then exhibited across Europe. She came to London but was unable to return to France because of the Napoleonic war so she took a lease on premises in Baker Street and has been there ever since. Today, not much has changed - still a huge collection of wax models and still the queues to see the lifelike impressions of the latest celebrities.