Spending time in London is a great way to have a great holiday, whether you're going with a group of friends, your partner or with the whole family, there's always something to keep all of you happy.
It's even really easy to have a top-notch holiday in London if you're travelling on a budget, as there are lots of things to see and do in the city for free. For example, lots of the main museums and art galleries are free to enter, so you can get your fill of culture over a weekend.
Arguably, it's easier to vacation in London in the summer, as you can spend a lot more time outside, walking around places instead of running for the Tube or jumping in a taxi. The city responds to warm weather too, as there are lots of events in London that are outdoors in summer including festivals and more. These events are usually held in the city's parks, which are much more than grassy areas for you to stretch out and have a picnic.
They are actually great in terms of learning more about the history of London, as many parks have been built entirely for monarchs or have areas that have been developed to commemorate important people through England's history. Similarly, there are lots of restaurants, lidos and other things that you can enjoy in the city's parks.
One of the standout parks in London has to be Victoria Embankment Gardens and we've brought together a list of the different features and activities that you can see and take part in when you visit.
A bit of history
Victoria Embankment Gardens was created in 1870, when the Victorians reclaimed the land to build a big pipe sewer underneath the ground. In fact, previously there was actually a river where the park now is, so more than 100 years ago you would have been swimming in water, rather than sitting on grass.
There is a spot that shows where the riverbank used to be by the York Water Gate, near the bandstand. This part of the park is the only piece that remains of the Duke of Buckingham's mansion that rested by the waterfront.
If you want to picture yourself in this little bit of history, imagine yourself walking down these stone stairs to the boat that the Duke used to sail in his leisure time.
The famous Samuel Pepys, administrator of the English navy and a prominent member of parliament in the 17th century, was also known to spend his time at the waterside in the Duke's boat, as his own house was just behind this spot, on Buckingham Street. Unfortunately, Mr Pepys' original house is no longer there but you can visit plaques that have been dedicated to him between numbers 12 and 14 on the street.
Things to do there
The Victoria Embankment Gardens are, as their name would suggest, a series of gardens that join together as one recognised park. You'll find them on the north side of the River Thames, between Blackfriars Bridge and Westminster Bridge.
As with most parks in London, the gardens are fully fenced and have opening hours, which open consistently at 7:30am every day of the year. However, the closing times vary between 4:30pm and 9:30pm depending on the time of year, as summer means it can stay open later.
Something fun to do in the park is to take a tour around all the statues within it – and there are lots to pick from.
You can see statues of Robert Burns, the Imperial Camel Corps and Air Marshal Lord Trenchard, among many others. There is also an equatorial sundial made from stainless steel in what is known as the main garden – you'll find this area underneath the Savoy – which is dedicated to Richard D'Oyly Carte, who was an English talent agent and hotelier, among many other things in the Victorian era.
There are lots of events that happen here, throughout the summer in particular, such as flower shows and music at the bandstands – the My Parks website keeps a good eye on what's happening throughout the year. However, you can also privately hire the park, if you have a special birthday or celebration coming up.
Victoria Embankment Gardens is also a great place to people watch and soak up the lives of everyday Londoners, as this is where most come to spend their lunch hours during the warmer months of the year. Enjoy listening, as you relax back in a deckchair and immerse yourself in what it might be like to live in London all the time.
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