06/02/2023 Aprende Inglés Today

Hyde Park—London’s Heart and Lungs

By Joseph Anthony Salazar, AIT English Language School

What astounds visitors to London more than anything else is the sheer size of the city. Stretching for almost 50 kilometres from east to west, and with a population of almost 9 million people, London is without a doubt the largest capital in Western Europe. Ethnically and linguistically, it’s also Europe’s most diverse metropolis, offering cultural and culinary delights from all around the world. At the centre of this fascinating city is Hyde Park, a vast green open space that offers locals and visitors a chance to breathe, relax and disconnect. Tucked between the well-heeled districts of Mayfair, Kensington and Chelsea, the park offers a bracing interlude from the stresses of urban life.

Although Londoners tend to view their city as grimy and built-up, most visitors are taken aback by how green and pleasant so much of the centre is. Hyde Park is the largest of London’s royal parks, covering a distance of almost 3 kilometres from Speaker’s Corner in the northeast of the park to Kensington Gardens in the southwest. In between, you can jog, swim, fish, sunbathe, or float idly in a boat on the Serpentine, Hyde Park’s largest lake. You can also cross the park on horseback or view the modern art on display at the Serpentine Gallery.

The best time to visit Hyde Park, however, is in the summer, when the park comes to life with an array of cultural events to delight all tastes—from Shakesperean plays to open-air jazz and classical music concerts, as well as live performances by artists such as Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Elton John. But if you’ve come just to relax and take a breath of fresh air, do what most Londoners do—buy yourself some sandwiches and a drink, find a patch of grass, lie down, linger and savour the moment.

Image 1: Map of Hyde Park

Image 1: Map of Hyde Park
Image 2: Arial view of Hyde Park
Image 3: View of the Serpentine lake
Image 4: A summer concert at the park
Image 5: Cycling in Hyde Park
Image 6: Hyde Park


Questions for First Certificate Readers

1. Visitors to London are surprised by
(a) the cultural diversity of the city
(b) the amount of people who visit the city
(c) how big the city is
(d) the number of people who live there

2. The districts that surround the park are
(a) impoverished
(b) wealthy
(c) diverse
(d) hectic

3. At the end of paragraph 1, the phrase bracing interlude means
(a) a long pause
(b) a musical option
(c) an animated solution
(d) a refreshing break

4. The inhabitants of London think their city is
(a) dirty and congested
(b) clean and friendly
(c) hectic and stressful
(d) a good place to live in

5. The majority of visitors to London
(a) are not happy to stay in the centre
(b) are fascinated by the green buildings
(c) are surprised by how nice the centre is
(d) want to go back to the centre

6. What does linger mean at the end of paragraph 3?
(a) enjoy
(b) take your time
(c) be determined
(d) sleep

Answer Key
1. c
2. b
3. d
4. a
5. c
6. b