The Serpentine Lake in the heart of Hyde Park is one of London’s greatest outdoor attractions. When the weather is fine, you’ll find people from all over the city flocking to its banks to unwind in the sun, sail on its serene waters or take a dip in the lido.
If you’re feeling a little worn out from all the sightseeing, this could be the perfect tonic for your weary feet. A morning or afternoon is all you need to enjoy this wonderful part of the city, and with so much going on around it, you’re sure to keep everyone in your party happy.
There’s plenty of room on this 40-acre lake, whatever you’re after from the Serpentine. Here’s what you can get up to in Hyde Park at the Serpentine Lake.
Hire a boat
One of the most popular ways to enjoy the lake is to rent a boat and spend a few hours out on its waters. On a warm day, it’s not uncommon to see the entire lake dotted with pedal and row boats. These can hold up to six people, more than enough for your average family.
The lake is open for boats from April to October. Bluebird Boats on the north-east bank of the river is an ideal place to rent a boat.
From 10am until 8pm in the summer (weather dependent). On warm days, the lake can get very busy so it is best to go during the week if you can – early morning is usually the quietest time.
Adults – £12 for one hour or £10 for 30 minutes.
Children under 15 – £5 for one hour or £4 for 30 minutes.
Family (two adults and two children) – £29 for 1 hour or £24 for 30 minutes
For an added novelty, you can take a trip on the Solar Shuttle, a solar-powered boat that takes passengers from one end of the lake to the other. This unique treat is perfect for the kids and the boat itself can carry up to 42 passengers. It is the largest wholly solar-powered passenger vessel in operation in the UK.
Swimming in the Serpentine Lido
From May until September, you can swim in the Serpentine Lido section. There’s an open water swimming area which is often used by swimming teams for training as well as a safe paddling pool for younger kids to play in. The lido is a unique way to spend an afternoon in the city and it’s likely you’ll find plenty of Londoners and other tourists doing the same.
If you want to swim a few lengths, there’s 110 yards’ worth of open water to tackle. For a more relaxing afternoon, you can just pull up a deckchair, lay out and lounge in the London sun. As well as the paddling pool, there is also an exclusive kids playground that can only be used by those in the lido. You will also find modern changing facilities for both men and women.
It’s open between 10am and 6pm (weather permitting)
The prices are as follows:
Adult – £4.60 (£4.10 after 4pm) – there is a concession price of £3.60
Child – £1.60 (£1.10 after 4pm)
Family Ticket – two adults and up to four children – £10.50, which drops to £9 after 4pm
Getting to the Serpentine Lake
It is very quick and easy to get to the Serpentine Lake from the Park Grand Kensington hotel and we have put together the most straightforward for your convenience. First head to Earl’s Court Underground station. You will find this at the bottom of Hogarth Road (turn right out of the hotel and walk down until you see the familiar sign of the London Underground).
At the station, take the Piccadilly line east to Knightsbridge station and get off here. Leave the station and cross the road, walking away from Harvey Nichols. There is a footpath up to the park in between Bar Boulud and a Rolex retailer. Keep walking until you see the lake.
Whether you are walking around the lake or on its waters in a boat, you can get some incredible views of The Serpentine. The Long Water – a far-western stretch of the lake – is particularly picturesque and from here you can look out onto the rest of the Serpentine. This is also close to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Peter Pan statue and Kensington Gardens, making it easy to combine a few sights with your walk.