The Wellington Arch doesn’t need to be at the top of your London to-do list, but if you’re in the area (behind Buckingham Palace, at the southeast corner of Hyde Park), it’s worth a quick look. Even better, if you purchased a London Pass, admission to the top of the arch is free.
The Wellington Arch was built between 1826 and 1830. Back then, this area was on the outskirts of central London, so it served as a gateway to the city. George IV planned the Wellington Arch, and Marble Arch (less than a mile north of here), to commemorate Britain’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars.
An elevator takes you up one leg of the arch, to a level where you can exit to the front or back sides.
The viewing platform is directly below the statue that tops the arch. On the front side (the side that faces west), you can look up and see the four horses of the quadriga, which depicts the chariot of war.
From the opposite side, you can see the angel of peace descending on top of the chariot.
Both platforms give good, but not spectacular, views of the surrounding area. This photo looks down the road I had just walked up — Constitution Hill. Buckingham Palace is about 1/2 mile away, and London’s Green Park is on both sides of the road.
You take a spiral staircase to get back down to the ground floor. Along the way there are a few small rooms that house some very small exhibits.
Once I was out of the arch, I headed for the nearby Hyde Park Corner Underground station, on the opposite side of Knightsbridge. The tube station is underneath the Hyde Park Corner Screen, a triple-arched gate that was built around the same time as Wellington Arch.