About Hyde Park
One of London's finest historic landscapes covering 142 hectares (350 acres). There is something for everyone in Hyde Park. With over 4,000 trees, a lake, a meadow, horse rides and more it is easy to forget you're in the middle of London.
Henry VIII acquired Hyde Park from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536; he and his court were often to be seen on thundering steeds in the hunt for deer. It remained a private hunting ground until James I came to the throne and permitted limited access. The King appointed a ranger to take charge of the park. It was Charles I who changed the nature of the park completely. He had the Ring (north of the present Serpentine boathouses) created and in 1637 opened the park to the general public.
Hyde Park has a wide range of facilities, including a playground, The Lookout (this former police observation point is now an education centre, where children learn about nature and wildlife) and toilets, including those for disabled people. Hyde Park also has a range of catering outlets, with offerings from simple ice creams and sandwiches to 3 course meals.
Deckchairs are available from April to September during daylight hours, weather permitting.
Informal Sport in the Park
Hyde Park offers a range of leisure activities from informal games of frisbee through to boating on The Serpentine and horse riding.
Most pitch-based sports activity tends to take place on the southern section of the Park between Rotten Row and South Carriage Drive. This area, known as 'The Sports Field' is used extensively for informal games of football, touch rugby, cricket, softball, rounders and frisbee.
Cycling (and related activities such as roller-blading and skateboarding) is allowed on all roads and specially designated cycle tracks in the Park.
The paths and grass areas in Hyde Park are also used extensively for walking, jogging and running.
The Serpentine Lido and its accompanying paddling pool are great for both adults and children. With its waterside tables, it is the ideal place to enjoy a snack, meal or a glass of wine. For swimming, off peak and concession rates for people on low incomes are available as well as reductions for children.The Cavendish is an ideally located hotel near Hyde Park for visits to the London park.
Hyde Park was a key venue for the 2012 London Olympic Games with the Triathlon and Open Water Swimming taking place. 3,000 spectators enjoyed a grandstand view of the finishing area for London 2012 events, with many thousands more able to watch as the athletes swam, cycled and ran on the course. The park was home to the music, theatre, film and cultural events that took place throughout the summer of 2012.