Hyde Park

One of the largest parks in central London, Hyde Park is divided in two by the famous Serpentine, a 28 acre recreational lake.  Hyde Park covers 142 hectares in total and is the largest of four parks which form a sort of chain from the entrance from Kensington Palace to Whitehall.  Hyde Park is open throughout the year from 5am until midnight.

Photo by Michiel Jelijs
Photo by Michiel Jelijs

The Grand Entrance

Quite a sight to behold, the Grand Entrance next to Apsley House is a magnificent collection of fluted Ionic columns.  There are two foot entrances, three carriage entrances and a lodge.  The entrance measures 33 metres long and provides a great backdrop for some tourist snaps!

Speakers’ Corner

Speakers’ Corner is perhaps what Hyde Park is most famous for.  Up in the north east corner near Marble Arch is a dedicated area where discussion, debate and open-air public speaking are allowed to take place.  Many protestors gather here for public speeches and debates upon matters close to their hearts.  In the past, the Corner was frequented by Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx and George Orwell amongst many other speakers of note.  The Corners is definitely worth a visit if you enjoy impassioned speeches about just about anything!

Diana Memorial

A popular site for tourists, the Princess Diana Memorial can be found in the southwest corner of the park.  The monument was designed to express her very spirit, and her love of children.  It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 6th July 2004.  The main part of the memorial is a fountain and it’s accessible to all so you’ll enjoy dipping your toes in and watching the children play in the shallow waters.

The Serpentine

Strictly speaking, only the eastern part of the huge lake in Hyde Park is named The Serpentine, but most refer to the entire body of water by this name.  Serpentine Bridge marks the edge of Hyde Park where it turns into Kensington Gardens.  The lake is so named because of the snakelike, curving shape.  There is a rectangular swimming area within the lake on the southern bank.  This is known locally as Lansbury’s Lido and is marked by a line of buoys.  Usually only open in the summer, there is a changing area and swimmers have to pay a small fee to swim there.

You can also hire rowing boats on The Serpentine, a wonderful way to spend a warm afternoon.  There is also the Solarshuttle solar powered boat which is worth a journey on.  The boat takes visitors from the northern bank over to the southern.  It measures 48 feet long and can carry a maximum of 42 passengers, and is a very popular way to see the lake.  However, the Solarshuttle only runs during the summer months.  It’s the largest solar powered passenger boat that is currently operating in the whole of the UK.

There is plenty to experience in Hyde Park and it provides the perfect respite from the busyness of central London.  A pleasant stroll through the park is a must for any visitor to London.


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