Five Things You Might Not Know Are on the Doorstep in W1 and SW1

London at Park Lane, England

Down Street Station

Walk just metres from Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane to Down Street and you will be standing above part of one of the most important sites in modern history.  Underneath you is the disused Down Street Underground station that served as part of Sir Winston Churchill’s nerve centre during World War II.  

Wellington Statue

By walking in to the centre of the roundabout at Hyde Park Corner, you come across multiple war memorials, the largest of which is Wellington Arch, which was built in 1825-7 to celebrate the Duke of Wellington's defeat of Napoleon.  If you look at the top of the arch you’ll see the largest bronze sculpture in Europe - the Angel of Peace descending on the Quadriga, or four-horsed war chariot.  

The Duke’s Horse

Another statue in that area is one of Copenhagen, the Duke’s horse, who was the grandson of fabled racehorse Eclipse, from whom it is said 95 percent of modern thoroughbred horses trace their pedigree.  Although Copenhagen wasn’t particularly successful racehorse, winning only once, like Napoloeon’s Marengo he was known as a great war horse and was even given a full military funeral.

Speakers’ Corner

By heading along Park Lane to Marble Arch you will pass Speakers’ Corner, a spot of Hyde Park where some of the great thinkers and speakers of modern history have shared their ideas and opinions.  A place for people to exercise their right to free speech, previous speakers have included Karl Marx, George Orwell and Vladimir Lenin.

The Punchbowl Pub

Five minutes away from the hotel is a 300-year old pub called the Punchbowl, which as well as being a popular after work drinks venue for Mayfair workers, was previously owned by film director Guy Ritchie.