HYDE PARK ULTIMATE GUIDE
Open: Everyday: 5:00AM to 12:00AM
Time Needed: 2,5 hours
Whether you’re hoping for a relaxing stroll around one of London’s most stunning parks, or an exciting adventure for every member of your family to enjoy, Hyde Park offers the best of both worlds. From football, swimming and boat-rowing, to snapping photos or even just having a quiet afternoon reading a book, Hyde Park has it all.
Henry VIII first acquired the area now known as Hyde Park in 1536, and if it wasn’t for him, Hyde Park as we know it wouldn’t exist today. Henry VIII was the first member of the royal family to take interest in the area, and he was often spotted hunting for deer with members of his court during his reign. As a matter of fact, Henry VIII loved the area so much, he eventually built a fence around it so visitors wouldn’t be allowed to enter the area, and created drinking ponds for the deer. He also used the park to organize royal hunts and entertain various ambassadors and dignitaries as well.
It wasn’t until James I came into power when visitors were finally allowed “limited access” to the area, and in 1637 Charles I eventually opened the park to the general public (although the park was still kept private for some occasions up until 1949).
Hyde Park remains to be one of the most popular outdoor attractions in London, and with so many festivals, events, exhibits and concerts being held in Hyde Park throughout the year, it’s easy to see why. The park also boasts more than 360 acres of land and contains attractions, gardens, monuments, memorials and even palaces.
At the north-eastern section of the park, visitors will see important attractions like the Marble Arch, the Animals in War monument and Speaker’s Corner – the most famous location in the world for free speech which has been used by the likes of Winston Churchill, Karl Marx and George Orwell.
At the north-western section of Hyde Park lies the Diana Memorial Playground, Kensington Palace, the Kensington Gardens and the Queen Victoria and King William III statues.
Attractions located in the south-western corner include The Albert Memorial (which is a stone’s throw away from the Royal Albert Hall), the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain (where visitors are free to paddle their feet in the water), and the Serpentine Gallery.
Attractions located in the south-eastern section of the park include the Hyde Park Bandstand (also the oldest bandstand in Britain), Achilles Statue, and the Holocaust Memorial Gardens. If you have some time, try and venture south of South Carriage Drive to see One Hyde Park House – one of the most expensive apartment blocks in the world; (one flat was recently sold for as much as £140 million!)
The center of Hyde Park boasts a 40-acre lake (The Serpentine) which shouldn’t be missed by any visitor. At the northern-tip of the lake are the stunning Italian Gardens with the ever-popular Pan statue just south of them.
There is also a seven-mile long Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk which leads visitors to all the famous buildings and locations associated with Princess Diana during her lifetime. To take part in the walk, simply follow the plaques which are located on the ground throughout Hyde Park.
If you happen to be visiting Hyde Park during the winter, the park is transformed into the highly-popular Winter Wonderland attraction, which boasts Bavarian-style food stalls, a massive skating rink, roller coasters, and much more.
Make sure you check Hyde Park's official website beforehand in case there are any scheduled events or celebrations during your visit to London.
Keep an eye out for celebrities like Naomi Campbell when walking by One Hyde Park.
If you want to swim in The Serpentine pool, there are cheaper admission costs if you arrive after 4 p.m.
Keep an eye out for the royal guards and horses who might be randomly marching in the park during your visit.
Take some nuts with you so you can feed the friendly squirrels living in the park!
Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LY, United Kingdom (See map).
The nearest stations are Lancaster Gate (located to the north of the park), Hyde Park Corner (at the south-eastern point of Hyde Park₎, Marble Arch (at the north-east) and Knightsbridge (to the south).
You can reach Hyde Park from the north via routes C2, 6, 7, 10, 16, 19, 23, 36, 52, 73, 82, 98, 113, 274, 390 and 414, from the south via routes 2, 36, 137, 148, 159 and 436, from the west via routes 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 94, 148 and 414, or from the east via routes 8,15, 23, 30, 38 and 274.
There’s more to Hyde Park than just taking a pleasant stroll around it. The park also offers a ton of different recreational activities such as open water swimming, a putting green, cricket playing areas, football pitches, boating, tennis and even horseback riding.
At the southern bank of The Serpentine, visitors can swim in a rectangular swimming area during the summer months. Also at The Serpentine, visitors can take a ride on the UK’s first Solarshuttle (a vessel only powered by solar power), which can carry up to 40 passengers at a time. There are also fleets of rowing and pedal boats available for hire, as well as cycle hire docking stations located throughout the park.
If you are in need of refreshments during your visit, there are several refreshment kiosks and café huts scattered all throughout the park, some of which provide seating. There is also The Lido Cafe and Serpentine Bar & Kitchen which offers meals, not to mention a ton of different areas where visitors are allowed to sit down and have a picnic.
Hyde Park is free to enter between the hours of 5 a.m. and midnight every day, all-year round.
Boating on The Serpentine is open from April until October 31st, from 10 a.m. to around 4 p.m. (during the winter) and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (during the summer). Boating on The Serpentine costs:
Children under the ages of 12 must be accompanied by an adult, and children under the ages of four can get on the boats for free. If they are under the age of 12 months they will not be permitted on the hire boats or Solarshuttle).
The Serpentine pool is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the summer months and costs:
All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
If you want to hire a deck chair during your visit, the chairs are available between March to October during the daylight hours (weather permitting). The deck chairs cost: