Hyde Park is 350 acres of parkland and meadow in central London, offering an abundance of activities, including boating on the Serpentine, horse riding along Rotten Row, swimming in the Lido, or relaxing in the landscaped beauty, observing the wildlife.
Originally owned by the monks of Westminster Abbey, it was acquired by Henry VIII in 1536 for the private hunting of deer, and it wasn’t until the reign of Charles I that the park was opened to the general public.
Now, the Grand Entrance at Hyde Park Corner, with a frontage of 107 feet decorated with military processions, leads you in to an oasis in the centre of London. The park is enjoyed by many, for picnics in the summer, swimming, sailing, tennis, putting and bowls. Speakers Corner can be found near Marble Arch, which is famously known for the spouting of every conceivable topic from whoever is atop the soapbox! Admire the Wellington Monument, the Italian Fountains and the Albert Memorial, which is said to be one of the great sculptural achievements of the Victorian era. Another memorial, which has become one of London’s most popular attractions (about one million visitors each year), is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Great care has been taken in the design to reflect Diana and her life and visitors are encouraged to cross the memorial’s bridges and bathe their feet in the fountain’s pool.
Many concerts and events are held in Hyde Park, and artists such as The Rolling Stones, Queen, Pavarotti and The Who have all performed here. The Park has also featured in numerous films such as ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ (Frank Sinatra and Noel Coward), The Ipcress File (Michael Caine) and the sequel to ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’.