Many parts of London have a gruesome history, which is only to be expected in a city that has existed since Roman times. Many visitors find this to be part of London’s charm – as you can tell by the huge numbers of visitors to the Tower of London ever year. Some historical attractions are quietly denoted by blue plaques in hidden corners of the city, but some are right out in the open and still drawing crowds today.
Hyde Park is known for being a peaceful place where travellers and residents can exercise, unwind and snap photos of swans and squirrels. To its north-east stands Speaker’s Corner, a place that dates back to the 1800s – when it was used as a gallows. The story goes that a condemned prisoner was allowed to make a final speech here before being hanged. The expanse of pavement in front of Hyde Park soon became a place for the public to stand on soapboxes and speak their minds about whatever issue they chose.
Plenty of famous faces have made an appearance here over the years. Karl Marx drew crowds here in an attempt to start an English communist revolution. George Orwell, author of 1984, and Vladimir Lenin have also spoken here. But the beauty of Speaker’s Corner is that anyone at all can show up to talk or protest. The only problem is the hecklers – a public space necessarily brings the public with it, good and bad.
It’s a great example of the English tradition of free speech, which allows its citizens to say anything they like without fear that the government will forbid it. As long as what they say doesn’t encourage or irritate others into violence, it’s protected under the law – even if it’s annoying, eccentric or provocative. Nowadays, you will often find protest groups and religious speakers at Speaker’s Corner, drawing large crowds – though it’s often difficult to tell whether they are supporters or curious onlookers.
Speaker’s Corner is just across the road from Marble Arch, home of the Montcalm business. Montcalm hotels are luxurious properties perfect for tourists and business travellers alike, featuring all the creature comforts you could ever want to make your holiday great. This area of London is highly popular with tourists, who love to be close to Oxford Street, Covent Garden and the West End as well as Hyde Park. Regents’ Park is roughly a 20 minute walk away for those who fancy a change of scene. This part of London is full of beautiful restaurants, classy bars and some of the best shopping in Europe, as well as an incredible depth of history.
A few minutes away on the Tube, Soho is where you’ll find the best nights out in London. It can be pricey, so the best way to avoid being overcharged is to go where the locals go. This is a great way to enjoy London to its fullest and take home some wonderful memories.