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Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten London Parks, Squares, Areas  
   
London is well endowed with open spaces. Green space in central London consists of five Royal Parks, supplemented by a number of small garden squares scattered throughout the city centre. Open space in the rest of the city is dominated by the remaining three Royal Parks and many other parks and open spaces of a range of sizes, run mainly by the local London boroughs, although other owners include the National Trust and the Corporation of London.
  For a more complete list, see the main list  
1 Hyde Park  

architect

various

location

Hyde Park

date

1637

style

various

construction

trees, etc.

type

Outdoor space/ Park

Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, England and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.

The park is divided in two by the Serpentine Lake. The park is contiguous with Kensington Gardens, which is widely assumed to be part of Hyde Park, but is technically separate. Hyde Park is 350 acres (140 hectare/1.4 km²) and Kensington Gardens is 275 acres (110 ha/1.1 km²) giving an overall area of 625 acres (250 ha/2.5 km²).

The park was the site of The Great Exhibition of 1851, for which the Crystal Palace was designed by Joseph Paxton.

The park has become a traditional location for mass demonstrations. The Chartists, the Reform League, the Suffragettes and the Stop The War Coalition have all held protests in the park. Many protestors on the Liberty and Livelihood March in 2002 started their march from Hyde Park.
 
     
2 Saint James's Park  
7-St-James-Park-00.jpg (76039 bytes) Horse Guards Parade. This square, on Horse Guards Road, at the east end of St. James's Park, is a fine place for mayhem. It was once the tiltyard of nearby Whitehall Palace, where jousting tournaments were held. The vast square is now notable mainly for the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremony. From Horse Guards Parade, one gets an untrammeled view of Saint James's Park, to which it's adjoined. 

St. James's Park is one of the Royal Parks of London in the City of Westminster, London, just east of Buckingham Palace and west of Downing Street. The St James's area, including St. James's Palace, is just to the north. It is 23 hectares (58 acres) in size.
 
     
3 Regent's Park  

architect

John Nash

location

north of Hyde Park, just south of Campden Town

date

1811

style

Regency 

construction

stone

type

Outdoor space/ Park

The 487 acre (2.0 km²) park is mainly open parkland which supports a wide range of facilities and amenities including gardens, a lake with a heronry, waterfowl and a boating area, sports pitches, and children's playgrounds. The north-east end of the park contains London Zoo. There are several public gardens with flowers and specimen plants, including Queen Mary's Gardens in the Inner Circle, in which the Open Air Theatre is located; the formal Italian Gardens and adjacent informal English Gardens in the south east corner of the park; and the gardens of St John's Lodge. Winfield House, the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, stands in private grounds in western section of the park. Nearby is the domed London Central Mosque, which is a highly visible landmark from parts of the park.
 
     
4 Kensington Gardens  

architect

Henry Wise and Charles Bridgeman

location

to the west of Hyde Park

date

1851

style

Regency 

construction

stone

type

Outdoor space/ Park

Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, is one of the Royal Parks of London, lying immediately to the west of Hyde Park. Most of it is in the City of Westminster, but a small section to the west is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It covers 275 acres (1.1 km²).

The park is famous to generations of British schoolchildren as the setting of J.M. Barrie's book Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, a prelude to the character's famous adventures in Neverland. The fairies of the gardens are first described in Thomas Tickell's 1722 poem Kensington Gardens. Both the book and the character are honored with the iconic Peter Pan statue located in the park.
 
     
5 The West End / Leicester Square  

architect

various

location

It is within the City of Westminster, and about equal distances (about 400 yards or 300 metres) north of Trafalgar Square, east of Piccadilly Circus, west of Covent Garden, and south of Cambridge Circus.

date

1635

type

Outdoor space

Leicester Square (pronounced "Lester Square") is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London, England. The Square lies within an area bound by Lisle Street, to the north; Charing Cross Road, to the east; Orange Street, to the south; and Whitcomb Street, to the west. The park at the centre of the Square is bound by Cranbourn Street, to the north; Leicester Street, to the east; Irving Street, to the south; and a section of road designated simply as Leicester Square, to the west. It is within the City of Westminster, and about equal distances (about 400 yards or 300 metres) north of Trafalgar Square, east of Piccadilly Circus, west of Covent Garden, and south of Cambridge Circus.
 
     
6 Picadilly Circus  

architect

John Nash

location

connects Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly (the "circus" refers to "circular open space at a street junction"), it now links directly to the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue as well as the Haymarket, Coventry Street (onwards to Leicester Square) and Glasshouse Street.

date

1819

style

Regency 

construction

stone

type

Outdoor space
Piccadilly Circus is a famous traffic intersection and public space of London's West End in the City of Westminster. The Circus is close to major shopping and entertainment areas in a central location at the heart of the West End. Its status as a major traffic intersection has made Piccadilly Circus a busy meeting point and a tourist attraction in its own right.

The Circus is particularly know for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, as well as the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue known as 'Eros' (sometimes called 'The Angel of Christian Charity', which would be better translated as 'Agape', but formally 'Anteros' - see below). It is surrounded by several noted buildings, including the London Pavilion and Criterion Theatre. Directly underneath the plaza is the London Underground station Piccadilly Circus.
 
     
7 Fleet Street  
Fleet Street is a famous street in London, England, named after the River Fleet. It was traditionally the home of the British press, up until the 1980s. Even though the last major British news office, Reuters, left in 2005, the street's name continues to be used as a synonym for the British national press.

It is now more associated with the Law and its courts and barristers' chambers, many of which are located in alleys off Fleet Street itself, almost all of the newspapers that formerly resided thereabouts having moved to Wapping and Canary Wharf. The former offices of The Daily Telegraph, drawn upon as a source by Evelyn Waugh in his comic novel Scoop, are now the London headquarters of the investment bank Goldman Sachs. An informal measure of City takeover business employed by financial editors is the number of taxis waiting outside such law firms as Freshfields at 11pm: a long line is held to suggest a large number of mergers and acquisitions in progress.

The French owned international news and photo agency Agence France Presse are still based in Fleet Street, as is the London office of the venerable comic The Beano. In 2006 the Press Gazette returned to Fleet Street. The Jewish Chronicle offices remain close by. The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph have recently returned to the centre of London after an unhappy exile downriver in Canary Wharf.
 
     
8 Portobello Road  

architect

various

location

in the Notting Hill district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London

date

various

type

Outdoor space/ Park

Portobello Road is a road in the Notting Hill district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London, England. It runs almost the length of Notting Hill from south to north, roughly parallel with Ladbroke Grove. On Saturdays it is home to Portobello Road Market, one of London's notable street markets, known for its second-hand clothes and antiques,[1] and for the location of one of the scenes in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Every August since 1996 the Portobello Film Festival has been held in locations around Portobello Road.
 
     
9 Bedford Park  
006-d05.jpg (94206 bytes)

architect

Richard Norman Shaw

location

Bedford Park, near Turnham Green in West London.

date

1875 and onward

style

Arts and Crafts

construction

brick Tree-lined streets, informal gardens, town center.

type

garden suburb

Bedford Park, long considered a prototype for later garden cities and suburbs, owes its origin to the Aesthetic Movement of the 1870’s. This followed the ideals of men such as John Ruskin and William Morris, who encouraged the appreciation of beauty in everyday life in revolt against Mid-Victorian materialism, ostentation, vulgarity and the increasing effects of industrialisation. In a letter written in 1874 Morris said: -

‘...suppose people lived in little communities among gardens and fields, so that they could be in the country in five minutes.’

Among the London middle classes were many who looked in vain for a suitable environment in which these ideals could be expressed. Their need was recognised by Jonathan Carr, a cloth merchant with a taste for property speculation and family connections in the world of art.