As in all big cities, in London there are several parks where its inhabitants and tourists go to walk, relax or play sports.
Also, in London it can be said that each park is different and has its own charm. You won’t find two parks the same.
Here we are going to talk about Hyde Park, the largest in the city with more than 140 hectares of extension and a lot of history under its trees. You cannot leave London without visiting this park.
The History of Hyde Park
The origins of this extensive London park date back to 1536 when King Henry VIII expropriated the Hyde mansion from Westminster Abbey, which owned the land.
At first the park was a private hunting reserve but it became a public park in 1637 thanks to Carlos I.
Hyde Park underwent subsequent renovations, building Rotten Row, a path that William III had built to join Kensington Palace and St. James’s Palace, or the Serpentine, the famous lake inside.
One of the most important events in the history of Hyde Park was the World’s Fair of 1851 for which the Crystal Palace was built and later moved.
Today it is one of the busiest places to see in London and that every visitor should know.
Things to do in Hyde Park
In addition to playing sports, sunbathing, resting or just walking, Hyde Park is a special place to relax if you visit London, a city with a dizzying pace.
During your visit to Hyde Park it is very likely that you will come across numerous squirrels, the most famous animal in London parks and they will not hesitate to approach you without any fear.
It must be said that stepping on the grass is allowed and in fact there are many deckchairs where you can rest.
The most beautiful point of the immense park is the lake, The Serpentine, where you can rent a boat and take a pleasant walk on the water.
Around this lake we can find two memorials, one dedicated to Princess Diana, which consists of an oval stone ring, and the Holocaust memorial.
In Hyde Park it is also possible to attend a concert by the most famous singers and groups that usually perform there, but without a doubt the most outstanding place in the park is Speaker’s Corner.
The Curious Speaker’s Corner
When someone talks about Hyde Park, everyone thinks of this part of the park, Speaker’s Corner.
It is located on the northeast corner and comes to the fore on Sunday mornings when impromptu speakers take the floor and speak on whatever topic they like.
There everyone who wants can speak and also everyone who wants can listen.
The one who speaks will have to be prepared to receive both applause and boos because the topics are not always to everyone’s liking.
It began to be used for anonymous speeches and debates during the riots of the 19th century and there you can talk about any topic that is not against the law.
It became famous during the Second World War for being the only place in Britain where it was allowed to speak for Hitler and against Churchill and today it is also a place of protests and demonstrations.
Practical information for visiting Hyde Park
- How to get
- Tube, Lancaster Gate, Queensway, Marble Arch, Knightsbridge and Hyde Park.
- If you go to Speaker’s Corner, the best station is Marble Arch.
- Buses 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 19, 22, 30, 36, 38, 52, 73, 74, 82, 137, 148, 274, 390, 414 and 436.
- 5 a.m. – midnight.
- You can find more information on the official page of Hyde Park.