Hyde Park is one of London’s most popular destinations and welcomes millions of visitors every year.
Covering around 350 acres, the park has a whole host of attractions and is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the capital.
It was originally created to provide an area in London for royals to enjoy some hunting, but has since developed into one of the most diverse attractions of the city.
Charles I made the decision in 1637 to open the park to the general public and it hosted the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Rather than hunting, the hyde park is nowadays a popular destination for anyone looking to experience some fresh air and perhaps a spot of physical exercise.
People can hire a variety of rowing and pedal boats on the park’s Serpentine lake, or enjoy a trip on the UK’s first Solarshuttle. Powered only by the sun, the Solarshuttle carries up to 40 passengers at one time.
For those who prefer to get in the water, then Serpentine Lido and its accompanying paddling pool could be ideal. Open on weekends throughout May (including the May Day Bank Holiday) and seven days a week from June to mid-September, it is a lovely way to cool off when the weather warms up.
Hyde Park is also home to the Serpentine Swimming Club, which is believed to be the oldest swimming club in Britain. Members swim every day between 6am and 9.30am and hold a special racing event on Christmas Day morning.
There are also facilities to play tennis, football, take a jog and take horse riding lessons within the park.
For young children and families, the Hyde Park Playground can be found on the southern boundary of Hyde Park, beside South Carriage Drive. Recently refurbished, the play area has been revamped with new equipment and to make more of its lovely setting offering views over the surrounding areas and the Serpentine.
One of the most popular areas of the park for visitors is the Diana Memorial Fountain. This structure was built in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales and was opened by the Queen in July 2004.
It consists of more than 500 pieces of Cornish granite, which were shaped by high-tech computer technology and assembled using traditional skills.
One highlight of the mark is Speakers’ Corner, which has hosted numerous public speeches and debates since the mid 1800s. Visitors can find the sport on the north-east edge of Hyde Park, nearest Marble Arch and Oxford Street.
An act of parliament in 1872 allows anyone to be able to make a speech at Speakers’ Corner as long as the police consider it lawful. Past speakers have included Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell.
Entry into Hyde Park is free and it is open from 5am to midnight all year round. Getting to Hyde Park is relatively straightforward and it is well-served by public transport.
The nearest tube stations to Hyde Park are Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch, which are both on the Central Line, and Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge on the Piccadilly Line. There are also numerous buses that serve the area.
Anyone considering driving to the park may want to reconsider as there are limited spaces in the three car parks in the area.