Wellington Arch, on the edge of Hyde Park

Wellington Arch

Kensington & Hyde Park

Dominating the green space throttled by the Hyde Park Corner roundabout, this imposing neoclassical 1826 Corinthian arch originally faced the Hyde Park Screen, but was shunted here in 1882 for road widening. Once a police station, the arch today has four floors of galleries and temporary exhibition space as well as a permanent display about the history of the arch and a gift shop. The open-air balconies (accessible by lift) afford unforgettable views of Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and the Mall.

Originally crowned by a disproportionately large equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington (which now stands in Aldershot in Hampshire), it was replaced by the current four-horse Peace Descending on the Quadriga of War, Europe’s largest bronze sculpture, in 1912. Play your cards right and catch the Household Cavalry (which form the Queen’s Lifeguard) passing beneath the arch en route to the Changing of the Guard at around 10.45am and returning at 11.45am from Monday to Saturday and on Sundays at 9.45am and 10.45am (arriving five or so minutes early is a good idea).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kensington & Hyde Park attractions

1. Apsley House

0.08 MILES

This stunning house, containing exhibits about the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, was once the first building to appear…

2. Rose Garden

0.22 MILES

Beautifully landscaped gardens in Hyde Park, with flowers year-round. It's an ideal place in which to sit and contemplate for a while.

3. Holocaust Memorial Garden

0.36 MILES

This simple marker of stones in a grove of birch trees, a short distance east of the Serpentine in Hyde Park, is a quiet commemoration of those who died…

4. Buckingham Palace

0.36 MILES

Built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, Buckingham Palace replaced St James's Palace as the monarch's official London residence in 1837. Queen Elizabeth…

5. Queen’s Gallery


Since the reign of King Charles I in the early 17th century, the Royal Family has amassed a priceless collection of paintings, sculpture, ceramics,…

6. Changing the Guard

0.41 MILES

The full-on pageantry of soldiers in bright-red uniforms and bearskin hats parading down the Mall and into Buckingham Palace is madly popular with…

7. Royal Mews

0.41 MILES

The Royal Mews is a working stable housing the Royal Family's immaculately groomed horses, along with plush vehicles used for transport. The Queen is…

8. Green Park

0.41 MILES

At 19 hectares, Green Park is the smallest of the eight royal parks. It has huge plane and oak trees and undulating meadows, and it’s never as crowded as…