Spending a Day at the English Garden, Munich
There’s nothing quite like spending a sunny day in a charming English Garden – even if you are in Germany. Munich’s famous Englischer Garten is one of the most celebrated and beautiful sights in the city, and it won’t even cost you a penny to explore it for yourself.
Stretching over 90 acres of lush parkland in the heart of Munich, the confusingly named Englischer Garten does have some fairly irrefutable links back to that green and pleasant land. Not only did Englishman Sir Benjamin Thompson design it, but also the style of landscape gardening used is commonly known as English gardening, in honour of its best-known pioneer, Capability Brown. More than 200 years after its grand opening, it still fills up with locals and tourists come rain or shine – and it’s all just a short drive away from our Park Inn by Radisson Munich Frankfurter Ring.
In an English country garden
The English Garden is one of the few urban parks in the world large enough to house pastures of agricultural land and, in certain areas, flocks of sheep. A green and tranquil country landscape, the northern half of the English Garden is full of long grass and provides access to the nearby Isar river. The New Amphitheatre is a wonderful spot for peace and quiet – when it’s not playing host to enthusiastic amateur theatrical productions in the summer months. Further south, open spaces quickly fill up with sun-worshippers and jugglers, tightrope walkers and musicians testing their skills, with a busier atmosphere that attracts a friendly, fashionable crowd.
Sun’s out, surf’s up
In the summer, the Monopteros at the southern end of the gardens has some of the best picnic spots in the park – although some argue that the snowy vistas in winter are even more charming. From the 19th century Greek-style podium and the slopes surrounding it, you can feast your eyes on the Munich skyline and views of the southern park. If you’re in more an energetic mood, there’s also a network of 78km of paths for joggers and cyclists, and football pitches that are always heavily populated.
In a slight departure from the English theme, even surfers can get some practise in: just next to the Haus der Kunst art museum, experienced surfers from far and wide test their staying power against the metre-high standing wave created by the artificial river mouth of the Eisbach. Surfers have ridden this particular wave since the seventies, braving the inevitably cold waters in search of a thrill, and now small groups of kayakers are getting in on the action, too.
Beer or tea?
Although it’s easy to be fooled into thinking you’ve already found the most beautiful spot in the park, keep exploring. The gardens are filled with hidden gems that are certain to amaze you, including a Chinese Tower and a Japanese Teahouse that regularly holds traditional tea ceremonies. The intricate hour-long ritual provides a fascinating window into another culture. Hirschau Restaurant in the centre of the park serves up delectably tender, juicy steak and fresh seasonal salads, with an 1800-seat beer garden making this one of the best places to eat, drink and be merry in the whole city.