An oasis of green right in the middle of Munich: the Englischer Garten is equivalent to the size of around 640 football pitches, making it the largest inner city park in the world.
If you fancy escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, you can wander around its woods, meadows, streams and lakes, which stretch from Odeonsplatz (square) far into the northern part of the city – breathe in the fresh air and blow the cobwebs away. To experience the Munich lifestyle at its finest, visit one of the park’s four beer gardens – Aumeister, the Chinesischer Turm (the Chinese Tower), Hirschau or Seehaus.
Elector Karl Theodor first commissioned the park as a municipal garden for the people of the city over 225 years ago. It was originally known as Theodors Park, though this name was soon replaced by Englischer Garten on account of its style which eschewed the geometric design of a French Baroque garden in favour of the natural style of an English country park.
The Elector, who was actually quite unpopular, bestowed the English Garden as a public park on the people of Munich to give the middle classes the opportunity for leisure and relaxation. The people of Munich initially ignored their new park, however. This concept of leisure opportunities was no doubt still completely foreign to them: "The people of Munich don't generally go for a walk, they just head for the nearest hostelry … So the exquisite English Garden is … so isolated, so derelict”, wrote the writer and publicist August Lewald in 1835.
Today the people of Munich love their English Garden: When the weather is fine, the meadows and paths are packed with sun-worshippers, football enthusiasts, cyclists and walkers. In good snow conditions and cold temperatures you can even go cross-country skiing or ice skating on the Kleinhesseloher See (lake).
More about this: Our author, an enthusiastic hobby gardener, tries to find out why the lawn in the Englischer Garten is always so perfectly green: Nothing is greener