Hyde Park Horse Ride

by Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Love, love, love this experience! If you’ve even a vague interest in horses, a touch of history and hangin’ with some very cool locals, you will thank me for this one. Ok, so Rotten Row in London’s Hyde Park in Central London has been the most famous equestrian venue in England for over 300 years. Hyde Park Stables offers horse riding and lessons for adults and children year round.

Horses and ponies are chosen for their temperaments and to provide mounts for riders of all abilities. I’ve so often woken to the sounds of ‘clip clops’  on the cobbled streets, when staying near the parks, so I welcomed the chance to join one of the rides that cover over 8 kilometres of bridleways.

It really is the most glorious way to see the historic park which was opened to the public by King Charles I in 1637. King Henry VIII had seized the manor from monks in 1536, sold some of the land and turned the rest into a vast deer hunting park that stretched from Kensington to Westminster, purely for the use of the royals.

The green space covers 142 hectares, has over 4000 trees and is divided by the Serpentine, a large artificial lake. Locals take full advantage of Hyde Park and on sunny days you will see them boating, swimming, cycling, sunbaking and horse riding. 2 outdoor arenas are used for formal riding lessons and dressage and year round you can join in or just watch.

Rotten Row was originally the Royal Road, and when King William III moved his court from St James Palace to Kensington Palace in 1690 it became the city’s first lamp lit road.

In the 18th century, Rotten Row was a popular meeting place for upper-class Londoners. On weekends, they would dress in their finest clothes to ride along the Row to be seen. The adjacent South Carriage Drive was used by society people in carriages for the same purpose.

Rotten Row is used by the Household Cavalry to exercise their horses which are stabled in Knightsbridge. You will see them at around 10:30am. Queen Elizabeth is driven through the park quite often. If horses are crossing her driver always stops to give them right of way.

Even if you’ve no intention of riding a horse through Hyde Park it is an extremely interesting part of London.

Speakers’ Corner allows anyone to speak about anything at all, provided police consider what they say is lawful and not profane. Nearby is the former site of the Tyburn gallows and Rotten Row is the northern boundary of the site of the Crystal Palace. South of the Serpentine is the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial, an oval stone ring fountain.

Marble Arch on the park’s north-east corner was built in 1827 as a gateway to Buckingham Palace. Based on the Arch of Constantine in Rome, it was moved to its present location in 1851.

Wellington Arch is at the south-east corner of the park, connecting it with Green Park. It was built in 1826. A statue of the Duke of Wellington was added in 1846. It was replaced by the Quadriga of War in 1912.

Apsley House was the Duke of Wellington’s home. For over 200 years the mansion has been known as ‘Number 1 London’, and inside you will see many aspect of the duke’s life and his outstanding art collection, much of which came into his possession after the Battle of Victoria in 1813. An enormous nude statue of Napoleon dominates the stairwell.

Achilles statue was created with guns from the Peninsula Wars in 1822. The nude statue has a cloak draped over his arm, armour and a short sword. Due to outrage and protest, a fig leaf was strategically placed.

Hyde Park is open from 5am until midnight every day and is the venue for protests, concerts and national celebrations – and of course horse riding.

LOCATION

The centre of London

WHAT TO WEAR

RM Williams for all!

 

 

CATRIONA’S TIPS

The morning seems to be the best time to head out. Book early, oh and this is really easy for beginner riders too.

Don’t expect to go for a bolt around these parts. A rising trot shall suffice my Darling.

Head to http://www.hydeparkstables.com/ or call 020 7723 2813