There are so many fantastic things to see and do in Hyde Park that a simple answer to the question ‘what is so great about Hyde Park?’ just does not exist.
The very word ‘park’ is wasted here as this expanse of grassland is packed with so much more than your average recreational patch of land. There are inspiring monuments aplenty, wonderful children’s play areas, vast bodies of water and there’s also a place people can just have a moan if they want to!
To truly do one of London’s finest green spaces justice, we really have to look into the many different things that make this Royal Park so fantastically incredible. So, with that said, let’s take a look at the wonders of Hyde Park. Let’s explore one of the capital’s premier attractions.
Escape the hustle of the city
When you are stood in the middle of Hyde Park, you sometimes forget that you are in fact right in the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities.
It is a testament to both the park’s planners and the capital’s council that such a wide, open space exists and is kept in incredible condition.
The wealth of things to do in the park make it a fantastic tourist attraction in its own right, but one of the things that make it so great is the fact that it caters to much simpler needs as well.
For example, if you are staying close by in our Kensington Hotel you are perfectly placed to enjoy the park for a morning walk, before you head out into the city sightseeing.
Alternatively, if you love running and exercise is a part of your holiday, pack your trainers and try for a lap of the park – at around five miles, it’s not a bad morning run.
Set sail on the Serpentine
Right in the heart of Hyde Park you will find a large body of recreational water that you can sail upon in rented boats – something the kids will love. This 40-acre lake has been a part of London since 1730 and on a warm summer’s day, taking to these serene waters is one of the most popular pastimes in the city.
You can rent your own rowing boat and cruise around at your leisure or, if you fancy a more direct trip, you can take the solar-powered ferry from the north side of the lake to the south.
The lake opens at 10:00 am and closes around 8:00 pm (4:00 pm in the winter). For adults, one hour costs £12 and for a child this costs £5.
During the summer months, the Serpentine Lido is open for swimmers to splash around and have some fun (if the weather permits). There is also a kids’ paddling pool to accompany the lido for those little ones who are not ready for the big pool yet.
When the sun is shining, a family swim makes for a great activity in Hyde Park – don’t forget your towels!
Hyde Park isn’t content with just an incredible green space in the city, oh no, it’s also a top notch venue that is used to host festivals, performances and even gun salutes!
Perhaps the most famous event set to take place this year is the Barclaycard British Summer Time Hyde Park, a ten-day event packed with live music, comedy and other entertainment.
Taking place on Saturday 27th June, the star performance will see global pop sensation Taylor Swift wow the crowds with many more in support.
And if that wasn’t enough, there will be film festivals, themed pubs and cocktail bars and lots of independent food stalls – still asking what’s so great about Hyde Park?
May will see the Vitality World Triathlon London come to Hyde Park as professionals and amateurs alike run, cycle and swim themselves to glory in the iconic park. There are a range of distances available so people of different levels can take part in this gruelling yet rewarding event.
Every so often, special royal occasions call for a booming gun salute. These are fired by King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery on the grounds of the park but be warned, they make a real racket. These quintessentially British events are a treat to witness, especially for those with a penchant for all things royal.
Upcoming dates include: Accession Day – 6th February, The Queen’s Birthday- 21st April and Coronation Day – 2nd June.
Monuments, monuments, monuments
The number of monuments within Hyde Park is truly incredible. In fact, spending the day in the park finding each one is a great activity in itself. These works are here to remember to iconic figures, offer tribute to everyday people and to inspire all those who look upon them. Here are some of the best monuments.
Achilles: This 18ft tribute to the Greek warrior Achilles depicts the hero standing proudly with a sword and shield. It is in tribute to the Duke of Wellington and his triumphs in the Napoleonic and Peninsular Wars. The head itself is said to be modelled on Wellington’s.
Boy and Dolphin Fountain: Located in the Rose Garden, this interesting piece is a fine example of pre-Raphaelite marble design that was originally based in the Victorian sunken garden.
Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Fountain: This monument stands as a touching tribute to the princess who was so dearly loved by Britain. The contemporary fountain is made up of Cornish granite and the way it flows is said to mirror Diana’s life “from joy and energy through turbulence to tranquillity”, according to the Royal Park website.
Cavalry Memorial: A bronze bust of St George vanquishing a dragon in memory of all the cavalry regiments that lost their lives in the First World War.
7/7 Memorial: A lasting tribute to the 52 people who lost their lives during the 2005 London bombings, this memorial consists of an 11-foot steel column to mark each victim.
Other monuments that make up the park include: Queen Caroline Memorial, Norwegian War Memorial, Joy of Life Fountain, Holocaust Memorial and the Reformers’ Tree.