- Hyde Park Corner
- Lancaster Gate
- Marble Arch
Hyde Park is the king of London parks and whilst it is not within the lines of our fine borough, it’s close enough for our residents to get to on foot, as it is neighbor to Kensington Gardens. Hyde Park is spread out over 350 acres and has many areas of interest for all members of the public.
As you stroll through Hyde Park you’ll see some of London’s most talented roller skaters impressively zig zagging through tiny orange cones or children learning to ride a horse. You’ll hear the murmuring of passionate debates from Speakers’ Corner or the sound of clarinets and cellos from the annual BBC Proms in the Park. You’ll smell the savory aromas of freshly made waffles or the smell of mulled wine at the Winter Wonderland festival. Whatever the season, your senses will be heightened by the beauty and enchantment that lies within Hyde Park.
A Brief History
Hyde Park was given to Henry VIII from the monks at Westminster Abbey in 1536 and he used it primarily as has his royal hunting grounds. It was not until 1637 that the park was fully opened to the public by Charles I. In 1665 many members of the public flocked to Hyde Park in attempt to escape the Great Plague.
Hyde Park has become a venue for many of England’s celebrations including more recently the 2012 London Olympics, dating back to 1814 when the Prince Regent organised fireworks to celebrate the completion of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Serpentine is a lake named after its snake-like curve, which takes up 40 acres and is used for recreational purposes. The Serpentine was originally created in the early 1700s by Queen Caroline and was more recently used a venue for the London 2012 Olympics for men’s and women’s triathlon and marathon swimming events. Visitors are able to enjoy views of the lake at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, which is a waterfront restaurant in Hyde Park.
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
Her Majesty the Queen commissioned this water feature in memorial of our fair Princess, Diana of Wales. It was designed by Kathryn Gustafson using the finest of Cornish granite and opened to the public in July of 2004. Visitors are able to enjoy the fountain year-round and are permitted by the Royal Parks to put their feet into the fountain only.
7 July Memorial
The 7 July Memorial in Hyde Park honours the victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Each of the 52 steel pillars represents an individual lost in the tragic event. A plaque with each individual’s name can be found on the far eastern edge of the memorial. Prince Charles and the Dutchess of Cornwall unveiled the memorial in July of 2009.
Sports & Leisure in Hyde Park
The Serpentine Lido
The Serpentine Lido allows both children and adults a safe venue for swimming in the Serpentine’s waters. There is also a children’s play area with a paddling pool and a slide, as well as sun terrace with deck chairs. In the month of May the Lido is open on weekends only and from June to early September it is open 7 days a week. Admission is not free but prices are quite reasonable (around £4.50 for adults and £3.50 for children with family packages also available). After your swim, stop by the Lido Bar and Café for a leisurely glass of wine and a summer salad, whilst enjoying spectacular views of Hyde Park.
Rowing & Pedal Boats
Rowing and pedal boats can be rented for use on the Serpentine. These can hold up to 6 people each. Boating is available from Easter until the end of October only. Renting these boats can be a bit costly, as it is £12 for 1 hour or £10 for 30 minutes per adult and £5 for 1 hour or £4 for 30 minutes for children under 15. Children under 4 are free and children under 12 months are not permitted on the boats.
The Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre
The Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre offers 6 tennis courts, a lawn bowling green and a 9-hole putting green to members of the public. These should be reserved in advance. For reservations and information on hire fees, please visit their website.
There are two horse-riding paths within Hyde Park, as well as a horse-riding arena. Whether you are a seasoned rider or looking to learn, Hyde Park Stables provides a range of opportunities for all levels. For information on pricing, please visit the Hyde Park Stables website.
Deck chairs are available for hire within Hyde Park from March through to October. These are the green and white chairs that you often see scattered around on the grass. They cost £1.50 for 1 hour, £4 for up to 3 hours and £7 for all-day usage. You can pre-book these online by visiting the Park Deck Chairs website.