A guide to Wellington Arch

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Wellington Arch

Address: Apsley Way, Hyde Park Corner, London, W1J 7JZ 

Celebrating the defeat of Napoleon, the Wellington Arch stands proud in the heart of London, reminding everyone of Britain’s victory in battle back in 1815.

Designed by Decimus Burton and built between 1826 and 1830, the arch has a single opening, flanked by two pairs of enormous Corinthian columns, with pilasters of the same architectural design located at the corners and on the side elevations. Burton intended to make the design more elaborate, but the budget didn’t stretch far enough.

Today, the largest bronze sculpture in Europe is the arch’s crowning glory,  epicting the ‘Angel of Peace’ descending on the ‘Quadriga of War’, which is an ancient four-horsed chariot.

Originally, the arch was crowned with a statue of the first Duke of Wellington, which would stand on top of the arch – hence the name of the monument.

However, the bronze sculpture was deemed too large, with Queen Victoria reportedly referring to it as an eyesore. In 1883, the statue tas taken down and sent to Aldershot, where it can still be seen today. A smaller version was commissioned, this time designed by Joseph Edgar Boehm, but this was removed in 1912 and stands on a nearby plinth.

Lord Michelham of Hellingly, a wealthy banker, agreed to put up the funds to replace the Duke with something that matched Decimus Burton’s vision. Adrian Jones designed a sculpture to honour King Edward VII and is the one that can be seen today. Lord Michelham’s son, Herman Stern, was the model used for the piece, meaning the family have a lasting connection to the arch.

It wasn’t always located in Hyde Park Corner, instead it was built next to the decorative screens at the entrance of the park – where Apsley House stands today. It was moved as part of a plan to ease traffic in 1882, placing it directly in line with Constitution Hill. A London trip can become more enjoyable and memorable by having a visit to Wellington arch. The Metropolis London Hyde Park Hotel offers the best stay around the attraction.

Wellington Arch attractions 

Wellington Arch

The arch itself is hollow inside and has been used for a myriad of reasons since its construction, most notably housing a small police station until 1992. In 1999, ownership was transferred to English Heritage, who turned it in a museum detailing the history of the arch and opened it to the public. Inside there are three floors of exhibitions and a terrace that visitors can step onto to get a view of London from the top of the arch.

Opening hours and admission 

Between October 1st and November 1st 2015, the arch will be open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. These hours change from November 1st to March 24th 2016, closing at 16:00 instead. The opening times change with the season, so if you intend to visit the monument in the new year ensure you consult the website beforehand.

Prices vary depending on the age of the visitor and whether or not Gift Aid is added on.

  • Adults: £4.30 or £4.80 with Gift Aid
  • Children (aged five to 15): £2.60 or £ 2.90 with Gift Aid
  • Concessions: £3.90 or £4.30 with Gift Aid
  • Families (two adults and two children): £11.20 or £12.50 with Gift Aid

Visitors can also combine their visit to the Wellington Arch with Apsley house, which is just across the road. Joint ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adults: £10.00 or £11.00 with Gift Aid
  • Children: £6.00 or £6.60 with Gift Aid
  • Concessions: £9.00 or £9.90 with Gift Aid
  • Families: £26.00 or £28.60 with Gift Aid

You can also become a member of English Heritage and access over 400 historic places across the country as many times as you want. Prices start from £41 for an annual membership and children can accompany a member to any attraction for free.

Travelling by car

The arch can be accessed via Hyde park corner and there are several car parks in the local area:

  • The Mayfair Car Park (0.2 miles, three minutes’ travel time on foot)
  • Park Towers, Knightsbridge (0.3 miles, five minutes)
  • Audley Square Car Park (0.4 miles, eight minutes)
  • Carrington Street Car Park (0.4 miles, eight minutes)
  • Marble Arch Car Park, Park Lane (0.4 miles, nine minutes)
  • Cadogan Place Car Park (0.5 miles, 11 minutes)
  • Arlington House Car Park (0.6 miles, 13 minutes)
  • Pavilion Road Car Park (0.7 miles, 14 minutes)

It is worth bearing in mind that traffic is likely to be heavy near the Wellington Arch and the surrounding area, so travelling by car may not be the best option.

Underground travel options 

The London Underground is by far the best way to get around the capital and helps visitors travel across the city to many different attractions, including the Wellington Arch. Here are the closest tube stops:

    • Hyde Park Corner Tube Station, two minutes on foot (Piccadilly line)
  • Knightsbridge Tube Station, eight minutes (Piccadilly line)
  • Green Park Tube Station, nine minutes (Jubilee line, Piccadilly line and Victoria line)

Overground travel options 

Visitors can also get to the Wellington Arch by rail, although the walk from the stations are longer compared to the Tube. The nearest stations are:

    • Victoria Railway Station (11 minutes on foot)
  • Charing Cross Railway Station (24 minutes)
  • Marylebone Railway Station (28 minutes)

Things to see and do near Wellington Arch 

While the arch is a site to behold all on its own, there are plenty of other attractions nearby to help visitors make a day of their trip to London.

Here are just a selection of what’s on offer in the surrounding area:

    • Apsley House (0.1 mile, three minutes on foot)
  • The Household Cavalry Museum (0.5 miles, five minutes on foot)
  • The Royal Mews (0.6 miles, 13 minutes on foot)
  • The Queen’s Gallery (0.6 miles, 13 minutes on foot)
  • Speakers’ Corner (1 mile, 20 minutes on foot)
  • Royal Albert Hall (1.4 miles, 15 minutes on public transport)
  • Kensington Palace and gardens (1.7 miles, 24 minutes on public transport)
  • Tower of London (3.5 miles, 34 minutes on public transport)
  • Tower Bridge (3.6 miles, 29 minutes on public transport)

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