As one of the largest Royal Parks, Hyde Park is impressive to say the least. And why? Because it’s not just seas of green, trees and flowers, we’re talking lakes, fountains, memorials, boating, tennis, cycling and the famous Speakers’ Corner that make this park special. With 350 acres of green to play with, it’s the perfect spot for tourists, families and Londoners wanting a little lunchtime break in the sun. Not forgetting Winter Wonderland at Christmas time for its festive fairground rides, ice rink, circus, ice sculptures and food and drink hubs. After a day exploring the park from top to toe, rest up at our London Victoria Premier Inn hotel before you head out for more sightseeing in and around Hyde Park.
Hyde Park was created solely for King Henry VIII and his hunting activities way back in 1536 and later when Charles I came to the throne, he changed the park entirely by making it available to the general public in 1637. Despite going under changes by the monarchs of the years, it soon became a park for royal celebrations and festivities such as the Great Exhibition, the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the Silver Jubilee Exhibition for Queen Elizabeth II. Many of the features you see in the park today came about in the 18th century by a keen royal gardener, Queen Caroline. She planned The Serpentine and the stunning Kensington Gardens to name but a few. Fast forward to the 1820s and King George IV wanted a dramatic makeover, que the Triumphal Screen and the Wellington Arch, lots more gates and roads as well as a bridge across The Serpentine.
If you’ve had your fill strolling around and taking in the sights, you’ll find there’s still so much to discover and do, activity and events wise.
There’s no better place to get you into the Christmas spirit than with a trip to the famous Winter Wonderland with the family. On the east side of the park (it’s quite hard to miss it) is a festive-fuelled mix of fun attractions and entertainment, Christmas markets and thrilling fun fair rides. Visiting in the warmer months? Be sure to bag a ticket for the British Summer Time Hyde Park event that usually throws up a star studded line up of some of the biggest names in music alongside food stalls and themed bars.
All of the entrances into Hyde Park have level access for pedestrians, wheelchair users and mobility scooters. There are public toilets dotted around the parks too as well as refreshment kiosks for refuelling on the hot chocolate and croissant side of things. Planning a picnic with friends? There’s so many spots are available, however, barbecuing is not permitted - cucumber sandwiches and sausage rolls are safe! Deck chairs are also available to rent out for those classic afternoon park naps in the summer.
Sunnies. Check. Sunscreen. Check. Why not take a dip in the Serpentine Lido, float down The Serpentine on a pedal boat or grab a seat on the Solarshuttle which does all the work for you, thanks to the sun. For the more activity inclined, horse riding at The Manege is available and down at the sports fields, tennis courts, lawn bowls and 9 hole putting green await you for family fun and a bit of friendly competition.
With something to see in every corner of Hyde Park, you could genuinely make a day of it by just exploring every inch. Here’s our pick of what to keep your eyes peeled for:
Got something to get off your chest and want to tell the world about it? Head to Speakers’ Corner on a Sunday morning and you can quite literally jump on your soapbox. Historically, this part of the park was an area for ‘freedom of speech’ where people would hold public debates and discussions dating back to the 1800s. Past speakers have included Karl Marx and George Orwell as well as the Suffragettes and the Stop the War coalition. If spouting off isn’t really your thing, you can always grab a hot drink at the Speakers’ Corner kiosk and lend your ears instead.
The Rose Garden
In the south-east end of the park, there’s no better place to wake up and smell the roses. Designed by architects Colvin and Moggridge in 1994, their design concept displays that of a horn playing a tune for an arrival into the park. From a birdseye view, you can see the horn and accompanying notes. Blooms of roses blend with other plants to create sweet-smelling seasonal rose beds from Spring through to Winter so you’ll see something beautiful all year round.
Fountains and statues
Full of commemorations, memorials and beautiful sculptures, it’s hard not to feel humbled as you walk through Hyde Park. Dedicated to the late Princess Diana, the People’s Princess, is an oval stone ring memorial fountain just to the south of The Serpentine where you can dip your toes in the water and to the victims of the 7 July bombings, a memorial of 52 stainless steel pillars represent their lives in the south-east corner of the park. Other architectural features include The Statue of Achilles, The Joy of Life Fountain (bring your swimwear for a splash around in the summer) and The Bandstand where legend Ginger Rogers once danced upon its floorboards.
Park walks are known to work up an appetite so here’s a lowdown of where to grab a bite or a refreshing beverage both inside and nearby the park.
One of two eateries inside the park itself is The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, inspired by country living. Serving hot meals, snacks, loaded sandwiches and a daily mix of desserts, you can enjoy a lovely meal with a view as the restaurant looks onto The Serpentine. The Lido Bar and Canteen is the perfect place for breakfast - think Eggs Benedict and a Full English - plus hearty dinners and the British classic of fish and chips. It also serves alcoholic tipples if you fancy a beer in the sun or a chilled bottle of white wine.
Look out for the refreshment kiosks all over the park too for all your teas, coffees and biscuit desires.
Due to it’s swanky Knightsbridge location, fine dining restaurants are a plenty. Go all out and book a table at the Michelin starred, award-winning restaurant Le Gavroche, headed up by famous chef Michel Roux Jr. Whether you’re eating the cheese souffle with double cream, spice vegetable terrine with mushroom toast or the Cumbrian rose veal, you’re in for a treat whatever you choose. The small but well-thought out wine list sets off the whole experience in amongst the surroundings of 1940s style decor.
Getting to and into Hyde Park is easy as pie, whether you’re on one of the many bus routes, tubes that stop at every corner of the park or whizzing through the city on a bike. If you’ve got an attraction you want to see first in mind, work out what end of the park it’s in before you head out for the day.
There are so many buses that can take you to Hyde Park, you could pretty much jump on any bus - but don’t actually! From the South, near Victoria, jump on the 2, 36, 137 or 159 for example. Remember to use your Oyster card or to buy your bus ticket from the machines at the bus stop - buses no longer accept cash so keep this in mind.
Depending on where you’re coming from, there are a variety of tube stations close to Hyde Park. East side, hop off at Marble Arch on the Central line and Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly line. Lancaster Gate station on the Central line will bring you out to the Marlborough Gate entrance while if you coming from the West of London, you’re better off jumping off at Queensway, also on the Central line and access into the park from there. From each station, a 5-8 minute walk follows.
Docking stations are dotted all around Hyde Park from the north, south, east and west entrances. If you’re planning to continue your bike ride through the park itself, there are more docking stations just before and after the bridge going over The Serpentine, next to the Albert Memorial and a few more over to the east side of the park near Upper Grosvenor Street.
The nearest mainline station to Hyde Park is Paddington. A walk from here to the park will take you around 12 minutes and around 10 minutes if you arrive at Paddington underground station. Look out for signposts to point you in the right direction, too.
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