Address: London W2 2UH


Time: 5.00am to midnight

Time Information:

Phone: +44 (0) 300 061 2000

1100m from Victoria

50m from Marble Arch/Hyde Park Corner

Hyde Park is the largest of the London parks, sitting alongside Kensington Gardens. Like Regent’s Park, it was acquired for the Crown by Henry VIII who in 1536 took the manor of Hyde from Westminster Abbey during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and turned it into a hunting ground.

Charles I made changes, he built a carriage track called ‘The Ring’ and opened the park to the public in 1637. The Civil War saw the Parliamentary soldiers ‘dig in’ and the raised bank near Park Lane today shows evidence.

Nottingham House lay at the west side and when William III and Mary II came to the throne in 1689 they moved in, renaming it Kensington Palace, the Palace being the home in recent years of Princess Diana. The king’s road to Westminster was along the park and poorly lit so he had 300 oil lamps installed, becoming the first road in Britain to be lit at night. It was called Route de Roi (the King’s Road) which became Rotten Row today.

In 1728 Queen Caroline transformed part into Kensington Gardens and built the Great Lake, The Serpentine and in the 1820’s George IV commissioned the Victoria Gate entrance next to Apsley House, the former home of the Duke of Wellington. The Great Exhibition took place in the park in 1851.

It has been the venue of mass demonstrations over the years and one of the Park’s most famous landmarks is Speakers’ Corner, an area near Marble Arch where members of the public are free to stand on a stool and speak publically to an audience or just passers by.

Activities in the Park include boating, tennis, bowls, informal football and rugby and running, with the Olympic Games triathlon and marathon swimming taking place here. It has also been the venue for a number of pop concerts and live shows, with the Rolling Stones attracting around 400,000 people in 1969. The Park has three memorials – in memory of Princess Diana, the Holocaust and the London bombings.

It opens from 5.00am to midnight every day.

Whilst busy all the year round, in the summer, the Park is one of the most popular sites in London due to its accessibility and vast recreational area.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.