Hyde Park is one of the most recognizable, and most visited, parks in the world. The gem of Central London is home to historic architecture, bountiful botany, sculptures, fountains, and more. The park is so vast and its offerings so varied that you need ample time to see all it has to offer, making it a hot spot with visitors who book long-stay hotels in London.
Hyde Park is impressively almost-500 years old and was first established by King Henry VIII. The park has undergone significant changes in those five centuries, but park supervisors have sought to embrace its history while also allowing the space to evolve with the times. Throughout its history, Hyde Park has been used for hunting grounds, duels, international fairs, protests, and concerts. Everyone from queens to the band Queen have graced the grasses of Hyde Park.
With so much to see, how do you make sure you don’t miss anything? Get organized ahead of time with this guide to the Hyde Park highlights.
The first stop is the grand entrance. Constructed nearly 200 years ago, the three-arched stone structure features a series of columns through which you get your first glimpse into the park.
Once you’re inside, Speakers’ Corner is a must-see. For more than a century, this corner of the park has attracted debates and demonstrations on the hot topics of the day. One of the area’s most infamous claims to fame is an 1855 riot regarding a trade bill; the site went on to witness protests for workers’ rights, religious freedom, anti-war sentiments and more. Among the countless notable speakers who have visited Speakers’ Corner are Karl Marx, George Orwell and Vladimir Lenin.
Another popular site is the Royal Parks Foundation Education Centre at the LookOut. The area encourages visitors to enjoy a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Trees, flowers and a pond create a serene and private atmosphere where visitors do everything from meditate to learn about the ecosystem.
The Diana Memorial Fountain is a newer addition to the park. Opened in 2004, the fountain is a tribute to the late princess of Wales. The fountain features 545 pieces of Cornish granite, which carry water in two directions into a calming pool. The fountain was designed to symbolize the openness of the beloved princess, and has become an integral part of the park.If you’re settled into a long-stay hotel in London, you have the advantage of getting to see the park from many vantage points: on sunny or rainy days, weekends and weekdays and in the morning or at dusk. Around every corner of Hyde Park is a new find, so the more you visit, the more you learn.