Hyde Park is one of London's grandest parks. It dates from the mid 1500's, when King Henry VIII acquired it as a hunting ground. Today Hyde Park serves a larger number of purposes and due to its large size and diverse array of features it makes a fantastic location to spend a day. Entry to the park is free and opening hours are from 5am to midnight. To enjoy your day in Hyde Park you might like to take on board some of these handy hints.
- Stroll along the Serpentine: The Serpentine is one of the larger lakes within the park and offers many opportunities for recreation. If you choose, you can hire a small boat from the Boathouse (March to October only) or even swim in the designated swimming area outside the Lido. You can also simply take a stroll along the lake over the Serpentine Bridge and through to the Kensington Gardens. There are plenty of kiosks, cafes and restaurants dotted along the Serpentine should you require refreshments.
- Ride a horse along Rotten Row: Rotten Row doesn't sound very appealing, but it is one of London's most famous equestrian areas. Rotten Row, in Hyde Park, hosts dozens of horses and their riders everyday. The park has several miles of bridleways that loop their way around the park, allowing you to pass through beautiful scenery and experience the more traditional side of Hyde Park. Whilst this is not a cheap activity, this is a very unique experience for those who love horse riding or want to experience riding in the middle of a busy city. Rides can be arranged through Hyde Park Stables and it is best to book 1-2 weeks in advance. They will supply you with a hat, boots and wet weather gear if it is needed.
- Enjoy a concert at the Parade Ground: Hyde Park's Parade Ground and Bandstand play host to some top artists who perform mostly during the summer season. The park has hosted artists from The Police to the late Pavarotti. The concerts come at a cost and event schedules, prices and ticket information can be found on the Royal Parks website. You can also find information on guided tours of the park on the site.
- Enjoy the architecture: The park is home to some beautiful heritage listed buildings and also magnificent sculptures. There are several walks you can join that highlight the art and architecture of the park. Again, refer to the website for availability and dates.
- Spend some time at the Diana Memorial Fountain: The fountain, which is unlike most fountains you will have ever seen, was opened in 2004 and dedicated to the late Diana Princes s of Wales. The fountain was built to reflect the Princess' life and qualities. The tranquil setting creates a lovely place to relax and reflect on life. Guests are allowed to dip their feet in the fountain and rest on the edge, but are asked not to walk along the fountain. The fountain area is supervised and is open from 10am daily.
These are just a handful of the many activities, mostly sporting ventures, that you can undertake within the park. Completing a walk around the park will take between one-and-a-half and two hours. The park is well worth a visit and hopefully, armed with this simple how-to guide, you will enjoy and make the most of your visit.