Charlotte, North Carolina
April 3, 2005
The arch was designed by Decimus Burton and erected in 1828 as a memorial to Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. Wellesley served as a soldier and as prime minister. On top of the monument there is the Statue of Peace descending the Chariot of War. The arch originally stood as a grand entrance to London. But, in 1882, it was moved to its location near Hyde Park as part of a widening scheme. In 1999, it came under protection of the English Heritage Trust, and they opened the inside of the arch to the public.
Inside the arch there are three levels of exhibits that detail the history of the arch. Until 1992, it housed the second-smallest police station. The smallest is at Trafalgar Square. There are elevators (or lifts as they are called in England) to each floor. If you are here, make sure to take the time out to visit the balcony. From here you get a great view of the London Eye, House of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace. The balcony is wheelchair-accessible. Admission to go inside the arch is £2.50. Or, if you have a London Pass, it is part of your pass.
Now, if you don’t care to check out the inside of the arch or if heights scare you, take the time to at least see the beautiful building. There is no charge to walk around it. In the same area you will find a statue of Wellington on his horse as well as a war memorial to honor all servicemen killed in the war. It is truly a stunning piece of architecture and should be on anyone's lists of thing to see in London. You should also make sure to come back and visit it at night. It lights up the London sky with the floodlight surrounding it. Beautiful indeed. The inside of the arch is open from 10am to 6pm during the summer and 10am to 5pm the rest of the year. Of course, to just admire its beauty from the outside, you can see it anytime you walk by. The nearest tube entrance is Hyde Park. The website is www.english-herritage.org.uk.
From journal Historic London