Englischer Garten (English Garden) in Munich and it is the largest urban park in Germany, and one of the most pleasant centrally-located green spaces of any city in the world. The name Englischer Garten refers to its informal “English-style” of landscaping; a form of outdoor design which became popular in England from the mid-18th to the early 19th Centuries.
War of Independence, and had been forced to flee his homeland when the war ended. He ended up in the service of Prince Karl Theodor, the recently appointed Elector of Bavaria, who was keen to carry out improvements to his new home city. This was partly to court favour with his new subjects thereby avoiding the fate of his contemporary, Louis XVI of France. Theodor commissioned Thompson to come up with ideas that would endear him to the people of Munich, in order to head off any thoughts of rebellion they might harbour.
projects, but his best idea was in persuading the prince to set aside a portion of the Royal Game Reserve on the outskirts of Munich, along with an area of swamp along side the banks of the River Isar. The swamp was to be drained and the whole area developed into a large public park. The site was landscaped and laid out in the natural English style, rather than the more formal French style of landscaping. Although the park was Thompson’s idea, it was designed and laid out by the Royal Gardener, Ludwig von Sckell and the man who was to become Thompson’s successor, Baron von Werneck. It is considered a prime example of a classical landscape park.
Today the park occupies an area of 922 acres (373 hectares), and is three miles long and just over half a mile across at its widest point. There are three streams flowing through it, in addition to the Isar which forms the eastern boundary of the park. On hot summer days it seems as though half of Munich has decamped here to soak up the sun, jog or cycle along its many paths, or to bathe in the streams.
As I said earlier, I fell in love with the place during my first trip to Munich. This was a short visit in the summer of 2005, and was a welcome and much needed break from the pressures of running a busy off-licence, which was open seven days a week. I packed quite a lot into my three day stay, but it was on my first full day in the city that I found my way to the Englischer Garten and was delighted with what I found.
provided my first experience of a German beer garden, and the rituals involved with the buying beer and food at the self-service kiosks. It was also just really good, sitting at one of the wooden benches, enjoying a nice cool mug of beer and people watching. Beer gardens are great levellers, and people of all ages and from all walks of life are all equal there.
A bit further into the park is Seehaus im Englischen Garten , which overlooks the idyllic Kleinhesselohe Lake. Boats can be hired from the nearby boat-house, and are an ideal way of working up a thirst prior to visiting the beer garden. The beer here is from Paulaner, one of Munich’s largest breweries. There are two other beer gardens slightly to the north of the Kleinhesselohe Lake. They are Osterwald Garten ( Spatenbräu) and Hirschau (Löwenbräu ). Three years ago, on my last summer visit to Munich, I finally managed to visit these two establishments as well.
Englischer Garten, and the city is well worth a visit in its own right. Not only is it Germany’s third largest city, it is the city where most Germans say they would like to live. Munich is sometimes described as “Italy’s northernmost city”, and the city’s architecture and relaxed lifestyle certainly match this description. The Alps are only 30 miles away and there are numerous lakes and picturesque villages that are just a short drive away.
Munich though is also a city of culture. For over 900 years it was the capital of Bavaria; once a proud and independent kingdom, and a place which still describes itself as the “Free State of Bavaria”. Over the course of this period Bavaria’s ruler’s amassed treasures, collected fine works of art and constructed magnificent palaces and castles in which to house and display their collections. It is also a beery centre of culture, and can justifiably claim to be the “Beer Capital of the World”.
Go there and enjoy yourself, but when you do, make certain to spend some time in the Englischer Garten.