One of the eight Royal Parks, Green Park is located in the City of Westminster, central London. It covers 47 acres of land between Hyde Park and St James’s Park. An unbroken stretch of open land extending from Whitehall and Victoria Station to Kensington and Notting Hill is formed by Green Park and St James’s Park along with Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park and the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
A salient feature of Green Park is that unlike its neighbouring parks, it has no lakes, no buildings, no playgrounds, and only a few monuments such as the Canada Memorial by Pierre Granche, the Diana Fountain and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial. It is almost entirely made up of mature trees rising out of turf and its only flowers are naturalised narcissus. It is also quite different from its neighbour St James’s Park as it is more peaceful having mature trees and grassland. On its borders you can find Constitution Hill, Piccadilly and Queen’s Walk. Until 1667, it was a famous duelling site and the name of Constitution Hill can be attributed to Charles II and his frequent ‘constitutionals’.
Green Park has a range of tree species and common birds such as blackbird and starling and migrant birds. It has no public toilets but Green Park Underground station has some. For refreshments you have to go to Ritz Corner and Canada Gate where you can get a range of snacks, drinks and ice creams. It meets St James’s Park at Queen’s Gardens and it has the Victoria Memorial at its centre, opposite to the entrance to Buckingham Palace. The ceremonial avenue of the Mall is to the south and the buildings of St James’s Palace and Clarence House overlook the park to the east. Green Park Underground tube station is a major interchange located on Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee lines near the north end of Queen’s Walk. Beneath Green Park, runs Tyburn stream.
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Secrets of Green Park
Why is Green Park So Called? The reason is not that its only flowers are naturalised narcissus and no other flowers grow there nor because it is bereft of flowers as Catherine, Charles II’s wife caught him picking flowers for his mistress and ordered the removal of all flowers. On the other hand each spring 250,000 daffodils pop up along with other types of bloom that flourish. However, there are no formal flower beds that other Royal Parks boast of. The more realistic reason could be that Green Park started off as an extension of St James’s Park and was known as Upper St James’s Park which was an area of open meadow having few trees and no flowers. It assumed the name Green Park in 1746.
It is a Dry Land: It is the only Royal Park that has no lake, pond or any type of water body. It also has no playground, or any buildings, which is understandable being the smallest of the eight Royal Parks. For any particular need of a body of water, St James’s Park and Hyde Park are just next door.
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Not So Dry Underneath: As the now-buried Tyburn stream runs under Green Park from Hampstead to the Thames, it is not so dry underneath. The stream comes in from Mayfair before running off west below Buckingham Palace. Its path is roughly followed by the Broadwalk through the park.
Music at the Park: In April 1749, Green Park was the venue where there was a firework display and Handel’s Music was especially composed for the occasion but it was played for the first time in public at a rehearsal in Vauxhall Park a few days earlier. The firework display was in honour of the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and the end of the War of the Austrian Succession.
Assassination Attempt at Constitution Hill: Bordering Green Park to the south, Constitution Hill separates it from Buckingham Palace. Its name emanated from the fact that King Charles II used to take his afternoon walks (or Constitutional) here. Constitutional Hill was also the place where an assassination attempt was made in June 1840 on Queen Victoria when she and Prince Albert were riding in a carriage there. Edward Oxford, the would-be assassin, was waiting for the royal couple while leaning against a fence. He drew his pistol and fired shots when the couple arrived but he missed and the royal couple escaped safely and were taken away immediately before they could be harmed. Oxford was accused of treason but he was acquitted on grounds of insanity and sent to the State Criminal Lunatic Asylum in Bethlem, Southwark.
Crime Scene: Green Park in the 18th century had the infamous reputation of being a haunt of robbers and highwaymen who would rob people. One of the victims was Horace Walpole as he was robbed by James MacLaine, a prolific criminal, who was eventually hanged at Tyburn for his crimes in 1750.
Trees Galore: Both plane and lime trees are quite common in Green Park but the park is also home to black poplar trees, which are Britain’s rarest native timber trees.
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