Victoria Park

Victoria Park

Today's walk was a wander around Victoria Park. It is on the door step yet I rarely go and visit it, so after the Bank Holiday rain this morning I headed out and strolled up.

Victoria Park, also colloquially known as Vicky Park or the People's Park, opened in 1845 and is 86.18 hectares of open space made up of decorative gardens, wilder natural areas and open grass land. It has two cafes, two playgrounds, sporting facilities, a skatepark and is home to many historic artefacts. It has won the Green Flag People's Choice Award for the most popular public green space in 2012, 2014 and 2015, no other park in the UK has won the award three times.

My favourite parts of the park...

There are two stone alcoves in the park, these were once part of the old London Bridge. There were 14 of these alcoves on the bridge and they were sold off when it was demolished in 1831. The two in the park arrived in the 1860s.

Guarding the main entrance at Sewardstone Road are replica statues of the Dogs of Alcibiades, the originals where presented to the park by Lady Regnant in 1912 and stood there until vandalism led to them being removed in 2009. They have since been restored and are now keeping guard on an island in one of the park ponds.

On an island in the boating lake is a replica of a Chinese Pagoda. In 1842 the pagoda was in Hyde Park as an entrance to the Chinese Exhibit and when the exhibit finished it was moved to Victoria Park. It suffered damaged during World War II and was demolished in the 1950s. As part of the parks refurbishment, which began in 2010, it was decided to restore the pagoda and the replica was made from photographs and eye-witness information. The bridge which takes you onto the island was part of the original plans for the park but was never built and so to complete the plan it was included in the refurbishment.

The Burdett-Coutts Fountain is a pink marble, granite and stone drinking-fountain. It was a gift of the wealthy philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts to the people who visited Victoria Park. It was designed by H.A. Darbishire and is said to have cost £6,000, a small fortune in those days.

Distance: around 5 miles.

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