The ancient manor of Hyde Park was part of the lands of Westminster Abbey, taken by Henry VIII when he closed the monasteries in 1536, turning them into a Royal Park. King Henry used it to hunt, James I opened it to the public in the early 17th century. Since that time, this park is one of the most popular public spaces. The Serpentine, an artificial lake used for boating and swimming was created when Caroline, wife of George II, dammed the River Westbourne in 1730. The park already housed duels, horse racing, robberies, political demonstrations, parades and concerts. Mick Jagger and Luciano Pavarotti have already performed here. The Great Exhibition of 1851 took place in the great Crystal Palace. Aristocrats used to stroll in carriages on the roads around.
An 1872 law legalized the act of speaking in public on any subject. Since then, this corner of the park became a meeting point for many speakers and eccentrics. It’s worth spending some time here on Sundays: speakers of minority political parties reveal their plans to improve humanity as are interrupted by the audience without mercy.
From 5.00AM until midnight all year round
Rangers Lodge, Hyde Park
London W2 2UH
Closest attractions: Oxford Street, Kensignton Gardens, Harrod’s, Royal Albert Hall, Victoria and Albert Hall, Natural History Museum.
Getting there:Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde P. Corner and Knightsbridge tube stations.
North London: 6, 7, 10, 16, 52, 73, 82, 390, 414
South London: 2, 36, 137, 436
West London: 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 148, 414
East London: 8, 15, 30, 38, 274
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7298 2100
Facilities and Additional Information
- Disabled toilet facilities;
- Cafés and restaurants.