Homegirl London’s Visit: Hyde Park. If you’re looking for something to do in London, this London Park is worth exploring. I went for a stroll last weekend and have compiled my list of ten things to do in Hyde Park. Acquired by Henry VIII in 1536, the park was opened to the general public in 1637 and we’ve been enjoying it ever since. Wander through the Rose Garden, listen to a lively debate at Speakers’ Corner, contemplate at the Diana Memorial Fountain or go for an open-air swim at the Serpentine Lido … what will you do?
Wild Flower Meadow
Ten Things to do in Hyde Park
Enter through the Apsley Gate: Exit Hyde Park tube station and you can walk through this grand classical stone gateway designed by Decimus Burton. It’s made from Portland stone with friezes by John Henning which were inspired by the Elgin Marbles on the Partenon in Athens.
Wake up and smell the roses: After passing through the Aspley Gate you can stroll through the Rose Garden which is a beautiful way to start your day. Here you can enjoy a colourful array of roses and flower beds. You can also take a leisurely stroll under the metal pergola. The garden was designed by Colvin and Moggridge Landscape Architects and has been opened since 1994.
Rose Garden Boy and Dolphin Fountain Statue
Admire the many statues: In the Rose garden, you can see the Boy and Dolphin Fountain by Alexander Munro (1862) and the fountain statue of Diana the Huntress by Lady Fedora Gleichen (1899). As you walk through this park you will also find many more statues to admire.
Diana the Huntress Fountain Statue
Stand inside a tree: Just past the Rose Garden you will come across a large tree with branches drooping down to the ground. The branches have formed a natural tent, you can bend down to enter the tree via a small gap and stand up inside which is an amazing experience.
Eat a hearty breakfast and relax by the Serpentine Lake: Treat yourself to breakfast at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen which is served from 8am until 11.30am every day. We tucked into a Big Veggie Breakfast and French Toast with Greek yoghurt, red berry fruit compote and maple syrup. Also on the menu is a Full English Breakfast, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Royal and more. You can enjoy your food on the terrace which overlooks the Serpentine Lake. Alternatively, you can try the Lido Bar and Café instead.
Say hello to the swans and ducks: After your breakfast, you can walk very close to the swans and ducks who like to hang out at the Serpentine Lake.
Swans and Ducks
Hear debates at Speakers’ Corner: If you want to hear some passionate speakers and lively debates wander over to this corner of the park where the tradition has been going since mid 1800s. An act of parliament designated this portion of Hyde Park for public speaking in 1872. Karl Marx, George Orwell and Vladimir Lenin have all stood on their soap boxes at this corner. Anyone can rock up and give a speech just as long as it’s about a lawful topic.
Contemplate at the Diana Memorial Fountain: Kick off your shoes and refresh your feet in the fountain which was designed to reflect Diana’s quality and openness.
Diana Memorial Fountain
Take a dip in the Serpentine Lido: If you fancy an open-air swim you can head to the Lido which is open from May during the weekends and then June until mid-September, 10am until 6pm. It costs £4.80 for adults and £1.80 for children with concessions.
Nod off in a deckchair: From March until October you can pay for the use of a traditional striped deckchair which is £1.60 for an hour. Buy a newspaper, have a read and then snooze!
Other Attractions Near Hyde Park
Kensington Gardens was once part of Hyde Park but now has its own status although they blur into one. In Kensington Gardens, you will find the stylish royal residence of Kensington Palace. For art exhibitions visit the two Serpentine Galleries which are free. The Albert Memorial is well worth admiring. Read my Ten Things to do in Kensington Gardens feature for more information.
Hyde Park Information
To find out more visit the Royal Parks Website. You can also print off a PDF map from the website. Opening hours are 5am until midnight. You can access the park at different entrances. Best tube stations are Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line), Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line), Lancaster Gate (Central Line) and Marble Arch (Central Line). Make sure you visit this park next time you’re in the area or find yourself with a spare half a day in London!
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy for visiting with me.