London W2 2UD
TfL Fare Zone 1
The centre of London is blessed with large open areas of parkland which have been referred to as the “lungs of London”. Hyde Park is the largest, covering 350 acres (142 hectares) but its close proximity to Kensington Gardens (they are only separated by a road) makes it seem even bigger.
This large park has formal gardens, open grassland, woods, memorials and fountains, a Pet Cemetery and the famous Rotten Row and Serpentine Lake. There is lots to see and do ranging from boating on the Serpentine to just lazing on a park bench watching the horses trot by.
In summer brass bands perform lunchtime concerts at the bandstand. Around 10:45 the splendid Household Cavalry leaves Hyde Park Barracks (on the Knightsbridge side of the park) and trots along Rotten Row on its way to Changing the Guard at Horse Guards in Whitehall.
On Sundays, Speakers’ Corner near Marble Arch is crowded with orators, listeners and hecklers.
Hyde Park Corner
The main gated entrance to the Park is in the south-east at Hyde Park Corner. Designed by Decimus Burton in 1824-25 it is a grand affair with fluted columns, 3 carriage gateways and 2 pedestrian entrances. The iron bronzed gates have a most beautiful Greek honeysuckle design.
Facing the entrance outside the Park is Wellington Place at Hyde Park Corner and The Wellington Arch. Close by is Apsley House, home of the great Duke of Wellington (hero of the Battle of Waterloo). At the main entrance is a map of the park. The Park is bounded by Knightsbridge, Park Lane, Bayswater Road and the North and West Carriage Drives bordering Kensington Gardens.
Of Special Interest
Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
The Memorial is at the western end of the Serpentine Lake. It is well sign posted. Not really a fountain, more a water feature which is built of Cornish granite. Water flows from the highest point down two curved channels to meet again in a tranquil pool. On its way the water cascades, swirls and bubbles.
The Memorial symbolises Diana’s qualities and openness. Visitors are encouraged to rest on the side of the memorial and dabble their feet in the water. There are three bridges which cross the water to the grassed heart of the memorial.
Near the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen (formally the Dell) at the east end of the Serpentine is a path to the memorial garden. Resting in the shade of silver birch trees surrounded by raked gravel are two boulders. The inscription in Hebrew reads ‘For these I weep. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because of the destruction of my people’.
7 July Memorial
This memorial honours the victims of the 7th July 2015 London terror bombings. It is located in the south east corner of Hyde Park just north of the Achilles Statue. It is comprised of 52 stainless steel pillars each 11.5 feet (3.5 metres) high collectively representing the fifty two victims grouped together in four inter-linking clusters reflecting the four locations of the bombing incidents.
Visitors can walk through the memorial and read the inscriptions on the pillars marking the date, time and locations of the bombings. There is also a plaque listing the names of the victims sited on the grass bank at the eastern end of the memorial.
The Upside Down Tree
This botanical curiosity is a Weeping Beech (Fagus sylvatica pendula), a native of North America. The leaves and seeds are those of a beech tree but instead of growing up the branches hang down to the ground, completely hiding the trunk.
The Pet Cemetery
Hidden away behind Victoria Gate Lodge and surrounded by a railing fence is a group of tiny marble gravestones. They are almost hidden by ivy and ferns under shady trees. This is the Victorian Pet Cemetery where wealthy dog and cat owners living beside the Park, could have their beloved pets buried.
It was closed when the burials had reached 300 but a few were still sneaked in between the serried ranks of gravestones, the last being in 1953. Most of the inscriptions are still legible and if you are lucky enough to be around when the cemetery is open to visitors, it is well worth going in. A small donation will be requested. Victoria Lodge is located on the corner of West Carriage Road and Bayswater Road.
Situated just outside the north-east corner of the Park is a large, white marble, triumphal arch. Designed by John Nash and originally built as a grand entrance to Buckingham Palace. It was moved in 1851 to its current location as an entrance to Hyde Park. The arch stands close to the site of the notorious Tyburn Gallows, a public execution site from 1388 until 1793.
It is an elegant piece of architecture with no real purpose. Only members of the Royal family and the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery are allowed to pass through the arch.
On Sundays, the paved area in front of Marble Arch is where you will find crowds of people listening to or heckling speakers holding forth on a variety of subjects. Since 1872 this area has been the recognised place for public forums and the practice of ‘free speech’. Anyone can come along, set up their soapbox so they can be seen above the crowd and put forth their point of view.
Speakers' Corner has witnessed many famous speakers and movements such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, George Orwell, William Morris, the Suffragette Movement, and the Socialist Party of Great Britain.
Running west along the south side of the Park is a wide, sandy avenue. It is a bridleway used by the Household Cavalry from the nearby Hyde Park Barracks to exercise their horses and those members of the public who can afford to stable a horse in central London.
In 1699 King William III who was living at Kensington Palace established the bridleway through Hyde Park to provide a safe route to St James's Palace. He lit it with 300 oil lamps (the first artificially lit highway in Britain) and it became known as the Route de Roi or the King’s Road. Over time, this became corrupted to the ‘Rotten Row’.
London-Brighton Rally etc
Hyde Park is frequently the location for major events such as Popular Music Concerts, Royal Artillery Gun Salutes, and the start of the London-Brighton Vintage Car Rally. On the first Sunday of November yearly, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run leaves Serpentine Road in the Park from daybreak at 06:45 until 08:45.
Please check the Park’s website and click on the ‘Events’ button to find out what is on Web: Events in Hyde Park
Food & Drink
The visitor will not go hungry or thirsty in Hyde Park. There they will find the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen as well as The Lido Cafe Bar. For full details, go to Web: Food & Drink in Hyde Park
Deck Chairs are available for hire in the summer months to help you relax. These deck chairs can be hired by the hour - go to Web: Park Deck Chairs
Hyde Park is a lovely place to spend some time when the weather is fine. In winter it can be a rather windy, cold place so dress warmly.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)3000 612 000
Contact Address: The Old Police House, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
TfL Fare Zone 1 Transport for London Journey Planner
To find the best way for getting to Hyde Park, visit TfL Journey Planner.
- By Underground
Four Underground Stations are close to Hyde Park:
Hyde Park Station Piccadilly Line
Access to the south-east end of the Park. Good for Hyde Park Gate Lodge Information Centre, the Rose Garden, the Holocaust Memorial, the 7th July Memorial, Wellington Place and Apsley House.
Knightsbridge Station Piccadilly Line
Access to the south side of the Park. Good for Harrods, Hyde Park Barracks, Rotten Row and the Serpentine Lake. The Diana Memorial Fountain is at the Kensington Gardens end of the Serpentine.
Lancaster Gate Station Central Line
Access to the western end of the Park. Good for the Bird Sanctuary and Old Police Station, Bayswater Road, Victoria Lodge and the Pet Cemetery.
Marble Arch Station Central Line
Access to the north-east corner of the Park. Good for Marble Arch and Speakers’ Corner.
- By Bus
Go to Hyde Park website and go to Web: Visitor Information
Google Maps - Hyde Park