Staying in a Marble Arch hotel, or an establishment within easy travelling distance of the famous monument, means being within reach of some of the most exciting aspects of life in London. Marble Arch itself was designed by John Nash in 1827 and was erected in an attempt to give London its’ own version of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. It was originally intended as the state entrance to Buckingham Palace and was relocated to its’ current position in the 1960’s, and it is this position which makes it the ideal place to start a day exploring London.
Immediately next to the Arch, for example, you’ll find Speakers Corner. This is a place at which you’ll be able to hear public speeches and debate, with anyone allowed to speak on any subject as long as they avoid bad language or saying anything too openly offensive. Visitors can go along to Speakers Corner on any given day and hear examples of British eccentricity, free thinking, humour and even anger. Over the years, those who are thought to have gone along to listen to speeches include Karl Marx, George Orwell and William Morris. Of course, having gone along to Speakers Corner, any visitor is bound to note that it occupies one of the corners of Hyde Park, and is unlikely to be able to resist the temptation to take a pleasant walk and explore the rest of the park. The Park occupies over 350 acres of central London land, and is so large and spacious that it’s possible to hire a deck chair, set it up in the middle of a meadow area or next to the boating lake, and simply forget how close you are to the noise and chaos of the big city. Alternatively, you could enjoy some of the other activities on offer, such as playing tennis, horse riding and crown green bowling. Particularly tempting on a hot summer’s day will be the huge open air lido which is situated adjacent to Speakers Corner itself. The main pool is over 110 yards long and, for those on a family trip, there is also a smaller pool which younger children can safely splash in.
Marble Arch also represents the starting point of oxford Street, one of the most famous shopping thoroughfares in the whole of the city. Its’ mile and a half length is home to roughly 300 different shops, ranging from large department stores to small independent boutiques, and has frequently been named as the busiest shopping street in Europe. The good news is that, if the shopping gets a little too exhausting, there are numerous pubs and cafes in the area to which you can retire in order to have a rest and refuel with some delicious food and drink.
On the other side of Hyde Park, across from Marble Arch, you’ll find the district of Kensington, famed as being one of the most exclusive and desirable parts of London, and also home to three of the world’s best free museums, in the form of The Science Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Victoria and Albert Museum.