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Hyde Park

Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Hyde Park, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks.

Hyde Park was created by King Henry VIII in 1536 to satisfy a royal passion for hunting. Today it is hard to reconcile the idea of the king and his court galloping across the park in headlong pursuit of deer and wild boar with today’s gentler enjoyment of the open green spaces in the heart of the city.

Hyde Park covers 350 acres in the centre of London and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

The Serpentine and the Long Water

Hyde Park adjoins, and originally included, Kensington Gardens, until 1728 when Queen Caroline divided the two by creating The Serpentine and the Long Water.

The 350 acres covered by Hyde Park, together with the 275 acres of Kensington Gardens make the combined area larger than the Principality of Monaco (480 acres). The largest Royal Park is Richmond (2,500 acres), followed by Bushy & Home Park (1,199 acres) and Regent’s Park (487 acres).

Hyde Park also offers various recreational activities including open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and horse riding.

To the southeast, outside the park, is Hyde Park Corner. Although, during daylight, the two parks merge seamlessly into each other, Kensington Gardens closes at dusk, while Hyde Park remains open throughout the year from 5 am until midnight.

Kensington Gardens

William III bought what was originally part of Hyde Park in 1689. The Gardens with their magnificent trees are the setting for Kensington Palace, the birthplace of Queen Victoria who lived there until she became queen in 1837.

Kensington Palace, the Italian Gardens, Albert Memorial, Peter Pan Statue and the Serpentine Gallery are all located within its 242 acres.

Planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds, the gardens are also home to the popular Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.

The Princess Diana Memorial Playground is a central feature of Kensington Gardens. A huge wooden pirate ship is the amazing centrepiece of this children’s wonderland opened on the 30th June 2000, in memory of the late Princess.

Princess Diana Memorial Playground

Close to her Kensington Palace home, the playground is a fitting tribute for a Princess who loved the innocence of childhood.

Over 750,000 children enjoy this free playground each year. Kids love to play, explore, dash about, and let their imaginations soar in this magical space. There’s plenty of seating so the grownups can relax too.