Since 1866, Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park has welcomed people to take up the soap box and offer their thoughts on a subject close to them. This area of Hyde Park is a symbol of free speech in London and, given that the city is the political heart of the UK, it holds a particularly significant place in the capital’s rich history.
This area is designed for people to speak, debate and converse on any given topic, making it the ideal place for public speaking and discussion.
This is one of London’s most unique attractions and is well worth visiting during a trip to Hyde Park. Famous speakers to air their opinions at the corner include George Orwell, Karl Marx and Lenin.
History Behind the Tradition
Some 250 years ago, the Tyburn Gallows stood close to where Speakers’ Corner is today. Before they were hung, the condemned were allowed to make one final speech to those in attendance. This public display of execution eventually became too rowdy and the hangings were moved to Newgate prison, but the concept of public speaking lived on and still persists to this day.
Things to bear in mind
Anyone is free to talk at Speakers’ Corner as long as the police, who attend every Sunday morning, deem the topic to be lawful. Hate speech or disrespectful language will not be tolerated in any shape or form.
You could hear debates on any topic so it is essential that you attend with an open mind and be respectful of those on the podium. It is free to go to Speakers’ Corner.
When does it happen
Sunday is the traditional day when people gather to discuss, debate, converse and talk and you can be sure there will be something going on if you head down there during your next trip in the capital.
You will find Speakers’ Corner tucked away in the very north-east point of Hyde Park. The best Tube station to use to get here is Marble Arch, which is served by the Central line (red). From the station, simply cross the road and walk straight down into the park following the signs for Speakers’ Corner as you go. it should only take you a few minutes to find.