Last updated: 07/29/2019
How about knowing how to best explore the beautiful Hyde Park in London? The park is huge and has a lot of cool things to see. Check out what you can find there!
THE HYDE PARK
Hyde Park is one of the eight Royal Parks in London and one of the most famous! Contrary to what many say, Hyde Park, with its 142 hectares, no is the largest Royal Park in London! According to official website data royal parks in front of it are Richmond Park (1,011 hectares), Bushy Park (445 hectares) and the Regent's Park & Primrose Hill (160 hectares). Hyde Park was established by Henry VIII in 1536, when the king acquired the land of Westminster Abbey and started using it as a hunting ground.
The site was only opened to the public in 1637, making it one of the most popular parks in the city. The park's name is believed to be of Saxon origin, and means a unit of land ("hide") that was appropriate for the sustenance of a family and its dependents. At the start of the English Civil War in 1642, a series of fortifications were built along the east side of the park, including forts at what is now Marble Arch, Mount Street and Hyde Park Corner. During the Great Plague of London in 1665, Hyde Park was used as a military camp.
DO NOT CONFUSE! HYDE PARK AND KENSINGTON GARDENS
Many people think that Hyde Park is a gigantic park, ignoring the existence of the Kensington Gardens. In fact, Kensington Gardens was originally part of Hyde Park. In 1728 Kensington Gardens was separated from the rest of Hyde Park at the request of Queen Caroline, with the aim of being a landscape garden. I, in particular, find Kensington Gardens much more interesting than Hyde Park due to the fact that the Kensington Palace (residence of Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and their 3 children), the Serpentine art galleries, O Prince Albert Memorial, you Italian Gardens, among other attractions. In terms of size, after the split, Hyde Park was left with approximately 142 hectares and Kensington Gardens with 111 hectares.
Lake Serpentine (which divides Hyde Park from Kensington Park) was formed by the damming of the River Westbourne. It is separated from Long Water Lake by a bridge designed in 1826. The site has become an important point of expression and debate for Londoners. At the end of the 20th century, it was used for free rock concerts, with groups such as Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Queen. Hyde Park also became an important venue for royal celebrations. In the park, the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the Silver and Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II were celebrated.
Since 2007, the park still hosts the annual Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, when it hosts a big event to celebrate Christmas, through Christmas markets, rides (including a big Ferris wheel), ice skating rink, theater, bars, restaurants and a host of attractions.
WHAT TO KNOW AT HYDE PARK
To help you plan to visit Hyde Park, we've put all our tips from this post on the interactive map below. In purple are the main attractions of the park and, in blue, the monuments, statues and fountains. are still places to eat inside the park (in red) and the main subway stations on the outskirts of Hyde Park (in black). With this map and the tips that we will give you next, it will be impossible for you not to know Hyde Park in the smallest details! Come on?
Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, this is a memorial to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. It is a fountain that runs through the floor that was built with 545 pieces of granite. The design is meant to reflect Diana's life, water flows from the highest point in two directions before gathering in a calm pool at the bottom. The fountain is open from April to August from 10 am to 8 pm / September from 10 am to 7 pm / from March to October from 10 am to 6 pm / from November to February from 10 am to 4 pm
Speakers' Corner is located at the northeast end of Hyde Park, close to Marble Arch and Oxford Street. This has been a traditional venue for public speeches and debates since the mid-1800s, when protests and demonstrations took place in Hyde Park. Historical figures like Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell used to use the area. More recently, Speaker's Corner was the focus of a major demonstration against military action in Iraq. Even today there are people who use the space to expose their points of view. Anyone can speak on any subject at the venue, as long as the police deem their speeches lawful.
Read more: England: Discover London's 8 Royal Parks
3. ROSE GARDEN
Opened in 1994, the Rose Garden is a beautiful garden that has rose plantations mixed with herbaceous plantations. The best time to see roses is in early summer. The flower beds are planted twice a year, with spring and summer displays, but no matter what time of year you visit, there will always be something cool to see.
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4. SPORTS AND PLAYGROUNDS
- SERPENTINE READ: O Serpentine Swimming Club is the oldest swimming club in Great Britain. There is a public swimming pool that is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day in the months of June, July and August. During May, the place is only open on weekends. There is a fee of £4.80 to enter the pool.
- WILL TO WIN HYDE PARK SPORT CENTER: It is a sports center where there are six tennis courts, a bowling lawn with six lanes, a nine-hole golf course, a multipurpose games area and padel court, as well as a Café and changing rooms.
- THE BOAT HOUSE: One of the interesting activities on site is pedal boats, rowing boats, kayaks or a boat called SolarShuttle, with capacity for up to 40 passengers. The Serpentine Lake Water Ride is open from April to October from 10 am until sunset, which is around 4 pm in winter and 8 pm in summer.
- HYDE PARK SENIOR PLAYGROUND: Senior Playground is a free outdoor facility that includes six exercise equipment to help users improve core strength, flexibility and balance. Equipment has been selected to ensure a high level of accessibility, ease of use and enjoyment for all users. Opening hours are from April to September from 9 am to 9 pm and from October to March from 10 am to 4 pm.
- HYDE PARK PLAYGROUND: The children's playground has climbing trails, swing and slide. It was recently remodeled to provide a wider range of features that allow for more creative play and are less restrictive on the number of children who can play at the same time.
5. STATUES AND MONUMENTS
- Apsley Gate: This classic stone gate with its parchment top columns is made of Portland stone and built between 1826 and 1829.
- serenity: Installed in the park in 2009, it is a bronze sculpture located near the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. The sculpture is inspired by the Egyptian goddess of nature.
- Queen Elizabeth Gate: These ornate gates, made of stainless steel, were installed to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (mother of Elizabeth II). The central part unites two national symbols: the lion of England and the unicorn of Scotland.
- The Huntress Fountain: Installed in 1906, the Huntress Fountain is located in the Rose Garden and features the bronze figure of Diana, the goddess of hunting, shooting an arrow.
- Freeman Family Drinking Fountain: This public drinking fountain is located near the Cumberland Gate and was a gift from the Freeman family. It opened in 2009 and is a sphere made of polished stainless steel. It consists of four drinking fountains at different heights to serve different users.
- Statue of Achilles: This 5.5 meter tall statue of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, commemorates Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. It was installed by order of King George III in 1822, becoming the first statue in Hyde Park. The statue stands near the Queen Elizabeth Gate in Hyde Park Corner.
- The Reformers' Tree: It was an oak tree that became the focus of protest in 1866 by the Reform League, a group that campaigned to give the right to vote to all adult men. During the protest, the tree was set on fire and the charred trunk became a bulletin board, a meeting place and, above all, a symbol of the people's right to assemble. Since 2000, there has been a mosaic on the floor made in black and white.
- Cavalry Memorial: This memorial is a bronze sculpture depicting Saint George on horseback, stepping on a defeated dragon, with a frieze of knights galloping around the base. The memorial commemorates the members of the cavalry regiments killed during the First World War. In 1924 it was originally installed at another location and moved to its current location in 1961.
- Holocaust Memorial: This memorial is a rock garden surrounded by white-stemmed flowers. Built in 1983, it was Britain's first memorial to the victims of the holocaust. The largest stone is inscribed with the text from the Book of Lamentations: “For these I weep. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because of the destruction of my people.”
- 7 July Memorial: This memorial is a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack that took place in London on July 7, 2005. It was inaugurated by Prince Charles and his wife four years after the event. The memorial comprises 52 stainless steel pillars, representing each of the 52 victims, grouped into four interlinked groups that reflect the four incident locations.
- Pan Statue: The statue, which is also known as Rush of Green, is made of bronze and depicts a family and their dog running in the park. It was designed in 1961 and is located at Edinburgh Gate on the south side of Hyde Park.
- The Bandstand in Hyde Park: The bandstand at Hyde Park is one of the oldest in Britain. It was built in 1869 and installed in Kensington Gardens, moving to Hyde Park in 1886. In the 1890s, the band performed in the bandstand three times a week. It is currently used for occasional concerts, as a regular meeting place for sporting and sponsored events, and part of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland event held at Christmas.
- Norwegian War Memorial: Since 1978, this memorial made of a large block of granite has been delivered by the Norwegian navy and the merchant fleet in thanks for British support during World War II. On the granite is inscribed “You have given us a safe haven in our common struggle for freedom and peace” on the front. On the back is the phrase: “Crafted and made by the forces of nature for thousands of years”. The memorial is behind the Boat House.
- Joy of LifeFountain: This fountain, dating from 1963, shows two bronze figures holding hands as they dance above the water, with four bronze children emerging from the pool. In 2008, charity Marie Curie Cancer Care planted 60,000 daffodil bulbs around the fountain to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
- The Hudson Memorial Bird Sanctuary: It is a memorial, installed in 1924, of carved stone commemorating the 19th century writer and naturalist William Hudson. He helped establish the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and campaigned for wild areas in parks, at a time when they were always clean and orderly. The sculpture represents Rima, the child goddess of nature.
- Queen Caroline Memorial: Opened in 1990, this memorial is a stone urn mounted on a pedestal overlooking the eastern end of the Serpentine. It celebrates Queen Caroline, wife of King George II. It was at her request that the Serpentine and Long Water Lakes and Kensington Gardens were created.
- Animals in War Memorial: Located near the Brook Gate, this memorial commemorates the animals that died in wars and conflicts. It was opened in 2004, on the 90th anniversary of the start of the First World War. The memorial consists of a 58-foot curved stone wall displaying animal carvings. Two heavily laden bronze mules struggle through an opening in the wall and ahead of them a horse and dog depart into the distance. The memorial has two inscriptions: "This monument is dedicated to all the animals that served and died alongside British and Allied forces in wars and campaigns through time." The second, smaller inscription reads simply: "They had no choice."
WHERE TO EAT AT HYDE PARK
- Serpentine Bar and Kitchen: Serves a variety of hot dishes, snacks, sandwiches, salads, cakes and desserts, as well as hot and cold drinks. Open daily from 8 am to 4 pm (between July and September it is open until 8 pm)
- Lido Cafe and Bar: Offering beautiful views of the Serpentine Lake, the Lido serves everything from a hearty English breakfast, to stuffed baguettes and the traditional “Fish and Chips”. It is possible to have a drink, as well as coffees and homemade cakes. Open daily from 8 am. Closing time varies between 4pm and 9pm depending on the time of year.
- Will to Win Sports Center Café: Serves a wide range of hot and cold dishes, ice cream, cold drinks, coffees and teas. Meals include soups, baked goods, pasta, rice dishes, salads, sandwiches and panini. Opens only during the summer months. See more information at official site.
- The Lodge Café: Located in Hyde Park Corner and serves dishes prepared with both continental and genuine British cuisine ingredients. There is a wide range of bakery options, English breakfasts, omelets, pizzas, soups, pastas and quiches. Open from Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 8 pm and on Sundays from 8 am to 7 pm.
- stalls: There are a number of refreshment points and small structures that sell food throughout the park. These places offer hot and cold drinks, ice cream, sandwiches, snacks and much more. They are open daily from 9 am to 8 pm during the summer months and from 10 am to 4 pm during the winter months.
ECONOMY IN LONDON: ACTIVITY CARDS
For those who want to do many things and visit many paid places in London, the suggestion is to purchase one of the cards that give you direct access to attractions and ride the tourist bus, saving a lot! O THE LONDON PASS is the most famous of them. The card can be purchased in versions of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 10 days. It entitles you to admission to over 60 of London's top attractions and 1 day tour on the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. In addition, the card offers more than 20 exclusive special offers at some of the city's shops and restaurants. See the full list of included attractions in this link. Price: from £69.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN THE SURROUNDINGS
- MARBLE ARCH: Marble Arch is a triumphal arch built in the 19th century made entirely of white marble. It was originally designed to be located at the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. It was placed in its current location in the early 1960s. Historically, only members of the royal family and the king's troop, the royal horse artillery, have been allowed to pass through the arch. This happens only in ceremonial processions.
Read more: Marble Arch: historic monument in London
- APSLEY HOUSE & WELLINGTON ARCH: Apsley House is most famous for being home to the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, the marshal responsible for defeating Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo. After the war, he was greatly admired not only in England but throughout Europe. The house collects many of the gifts won by the Duke of Wellington in honor of his performance against Napoleon. Across the street is a square with green areas, statues and the beautiful Arch of Wellington, in honor of the Duke. It is formed by Corinthian columns and a beautiful cast-iron gate. The Arch was built between 1826 and 1830. It moved to its current position about 50 years later.
Read more: London: Apsley House & Arch of Wellington
HOW TO GET TO HYDE PARK
- Subway: the nearest stations are Lancaster Gate and the Marble Arch, served by Central Line and the seasons Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge, served by Piccadilly Line.
- Bus: check out all the bus lines that run around the park
- North: C2, 6, 7, 10, 16, 19, 23, 36, 52, 73, 82, 98, 113, 274, 390, 414
- South: 2, 36, 137, 148, 159, 436
- West: 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 94, 148, 414
- East: 8.15, 23, 30, 38,274
- Address: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH, England
- Schedules: daily from 5 am to midnight
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Read more about parks in London:
- St James's Park: The oldest royal park in London
- London: Regent's Park and the panoramic view from Primrose Hill
- Holland Park and Kyoto Garden, beautiful Japanese garden in London
- Gasholder Park: from old gas station to park in London
- Syon House & Park: Mansion and beautiful park in London
- Kew Gardens: Royal Botanical Gardens in London