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 Highlights
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!