Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Hyde Park, London

  • Published 2022/03/19

Trying the best things to do in Hyde Park is the nearest thing to a natural break Londoners enjoy in the city’s heart.

The Beatles famously purchased and resided in the property immediately adjacent to the park to easily access it during their most difficult days.

Central London’s Hyde Park is a Grade I-listed large park.

It is one of the four Royal Parks in London, which create a chain from Kensington Palace to Buckingham Palace’s Main Gate.

It was part of Westminster Abbey but was taken over in 1536 by Henry VIII and used as a royal deer park until being opened to the public in 1635.

Whether you’re visiting for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or a full day of sightseeing, it’s a must-see no matter what time of year you go.

In fact, going to the park during a different time of year offers you various scenes and activities.

Here’s our ultimate guide to the best things to do in London’s Hyde Park to help you plan your trip:

Cool Down Near Diana Memorial Fountain

Aerial view of Diana Memorial Fountain

Ingus Kruklitis /

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain was created by American landscape artist Kathryn Gustafson and unveiled to the public in 2004.

The fountain is located in an area that is easily accessible to the public.

It honors Diana’s “inclusive” nature and image as an “accessible” figure.

According to records, 545 granite stones make up the fountain, an oval-shaped stream.

Water flowing on Diana Memorial Fountain

Kit Leong /

It’s round, and the stream varies from three to six meters.

The fountain’s bed isn’t smooth; it has a variety of cuts, high stairs of various sizes, fake rocks, and delicate pieces to symbolize Diana’s life, which was chaotic but also pleasant at times.

For tourists, it’s an excellent spot to cool down on a hot summer’s day or for children to play and meet friends.

Person walking by Diana Memorial Fountain

Dado Photos /

Tour the Apsley House

Front exterior of Apsley House

chrisdorney /

After the Battle of Waterloo, the first Duke of Wellington purchased Apsley House.

The Waterloo Gallery, the site of many of London’s most opulent feasts, was one of the Duke’s many additions.

The Wellington Museum, a part of the Victoria and Albert Museum, was inaugurated in 1952 and holds a vast collection of artworks, including Velázquez’s Waterseller of Seville and presents given to Wellington after the war.

Side exterior of Apsley House

paula french /

Around 83 out of 200 paintings in this collection were taken by Wellington during the Battle of Victoria in 1813.

Meanwhile, a grateful King of Spain donated the rest to him.

These painters and modern British paintings, such as Wilkie’s Chelsea Pensioners Reading-Waterloo Despatch and portraits of Napoleon and his family, are part of a collection that includes works by van Dyck, Correggio, and Rubens.

Detailed audio tours and souvenirs and gifts from the on-site shop are provided.

Night time at Apsley House

Jananz /

Take Photos at the Apsley Gate

View of the Apsley Gate

Nadiia Gerbish /

At 25, Decimus Burton created this opulent triple stone gateway to Hyde Park’s southeast corner.

Completed in the late 1820s, the Gate, known as the ‘Apsley Gate,’ or the ‘Hyde Park Screen,’ is made of Portland stone and replaced a tollgate that was there before.

Several designs were proposed in the late 18th century.

Aerial view of Apsley Gate

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Still, Burton was only asked to develop the screen and plans for a magnificent memorial arch to serve as an entrance to Green Park, located adjacent to Buckingham Palace, after work started transforming it from home into the grand building we now know.

For the Hyde Park gateway, Burton’s plans were accepted by none other than King George IV, and it remains according to his original vision.

Scroll-topped columns and Elgin Marbles-inspired friezes by John Henning adorn the Gate’s entrance.

Outside the gates, Burton constructed a typical lodge house.

Side view of the Apsley Gate

giggel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stand under the Wellington Arch

Front view of Wellington Arch

ExFlow /

As the centerpiece of Hyde Park Corner in downtown London, Decimus Burton’s triumphal Arch, known variously as Constitution Arch or the Green Park Arch, stands on a wide-traffic island with pedestrian crossings.

The Arch was originally built at a different place nearby in 1826–1830 and transferred to its current location in 1882–1883.

It initially supported Matthew Cotes Wyatt’s monumental equestrian sculpture, featuring Wellington’s first Duke, thus, the name “The Wellington Arch.”

Night lights of Wellington Arch

Sampajano_Anizza /

Since 1912, the sculpture made by Adrian Jones, the Angel of Peace descending on the quadriga, or a chariot drawn by four horses, has been atop it.

It is the most enormous bronze sculpture in Europe.

It was initially erected as an entryway to Buckingham Palace but eventually became a victory arch to commemorate Wellington’s triumph over Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Take in the stunning views of the city from its many balconies while you’re there.

Details of Wellington Arch


See The Albert Memorial, Hyde Park’s Most Extravagant Memorial

Scenic view of The Albert Memorial

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Located in Kensington Gardens, London’s Albert Memorial is one of the city’s most magnificent structures.

The memorial serves as a symbol of Prince Albert’s typhoid-related death in 1861.

The Albert Memorial may be found in Kensington Gardens near the Royal Albert Hall on Albert Memorial Road.

George Gilbert Scott created one of London’s most magnificent landmarks with this structure.

The Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens is one of the most lavish high-Victorian gothic extravaganzas anywhere, inspired by the series of 13th-century Eleanor Crosses and other sculptures in Edinburgh and Manchester.

Statue of prince albert at The Albert Memorial

Kiev.Victor /

As it is officially known, the Prince Consort National Memorial honors the achievements of Victorian society and Prince Albert’s own interests and hobbies.

At each memorial’s four corners, marble statues symbolize Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas; further, figures depict industry, trade, agriculture, and engineering.

The angels and virtues are depicted in gilded bronze towards the top of the staircase.

You will also see the artworks by prominent artists on the Parnassus frieze around the memorial base to symbolize Albert’s passion for the arts.

The frieze is adorned with 187 intricately sculpted characters.

Sculptures at The Albert Memorial

Christian Mueller /

Listen to Public Speeches at Speakers’ Corner

Public speaker at Speakers' Corner

Kiev.Victor /

Since the mid-1800s, when rallies and demonstrations took place in Hyde Park, Speakers’ Corner has been a regular location for public speeches and discussions.

A short walk between Marble Arch and Oxford Street, Speakers’ Corner is situated on the northeast side of Hyde Park.

Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin frequently protested their right to free speech in the neighborhood.

People listening to a public speaker at Speakers' Corner

Roger Utting /

This area of Hyde Park was designated for public speaking in the act of parliament passed in 1872.

Many people still come to Speakers’ Corner on Sunday mornings to hear passionate advocates for various causes speak.

As long as the authorities deem the speech legitimate, anyone can show up and talk on any topic.

Public speaker at Speakers' Corner

Alexandre Rotenberg /

Go through the Marble Arch

The Marble Arch during night time

Sampajano_Anizza /

This white marble triumphal arch is located on the northeast corner of Hyde Park.

Buckingham Palace’s archway, designed in 1827 by renowned architect Sir John Nash, initially served as an entrance.

Even before Buckingham Palace’s famed East Front balcony was built, Marble Arch was placed in the palace’s courtyard.

Side view of Marble Arch

Petr Kovalenkov /

When Buckingham Palace was enlarged in 1851 to accommodate Queen Victoria’s expanding family, the Arch was relocated to its current site.

From 1851 to 1868, its three modest chambers served as a police station.

During the early 1960s, Park Lane was widened, creating a traffic island at the intersection of Oxford Street, Park Lane, and Edgware Road, where the Arch currently sits.

Details of Marble Arch

chrisdorney /

Visit Hyde Park’s War Memorials

The Royal Artillery War Memorial

Kiev.Victor /

There are several military memorials in Hyde Park, one of the most well-known public parks in the United Kingdom.

Royal Artillery War Memorial, constructed in 1925 and dedicated to those who fought and died, is the most visible of the three.

The Machine Gun Corps War Memorial, replete with its David statue, was built nearby in the same year.

The Machine Gun Corps War Memorial

Cabral Correia /

There’s also a St. George on a horse memorial and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial, both of which were built in 2012 and represented St. George slaying a dragon.

Other memorials in Hyde Park honor those who lost their lives serving in the armed forces of other countries during the two world wars.

There are memorials to the Australian War Memorial and the Canada Memorial in Canada.

The RAF Bomber Command Memorial

Victor Moussa /

One of the most heartwarming and most recent monuments honors our canine companions: The War Memorial’s Animals.

Even though it’s located just outside Hyde Park, it’s a stunning piece of art unveiled in 2004.

It honors the horses and mules that fought for the British Empire during World War I and II.

View of the animals in war memorial

WestportWiki, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rehydrate at Freeman Family Drinking Fountain

The Freeman Family Drinking Fountain

Chmee2, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Near Cumberland Gate, you’ll find the Freeman Family Drinking Fountain.

It is the first drinking fountain in Hyde Park in 30 years.

Sculptor David Harber created and gave the Freeman Family Fountain to London’s Hyde Park by property entrepreneur Michael Freeman, a trustee of the Royal Parks Foundation.

Tree behind Freeman Family Drinking Fountain

Chmee2, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Made of stainless steel that is marine-grade and mirror-polished, the fountain is encrusted with petals of oxidized verdigris bronze.

With four drinking stations and a spout for water bottles, it sits on a granite pedestal at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, Princeton University, and the Raffles Hotel in Dubai.

See Breathtaking Artworks at Serpentine Galleries

Exterior of Serpentine Gallery

Anthony Shaw Photography /

The Serpentine Galleries are placed on each side of the Serpentine, making them one of London’s best free attractions.

More than a million people visit the galleries each year, making them one of the most popular modern art galleries.

Temporary pavilion at Serpentine Galleries

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These temporary pavilions are built by some of the country’s most prominent architects each summer and are utilized for various occasions.

Andy Warhol, Man Ray, Damien Hirst, and Henry Moore are among the artists whose work has been featured.

An ultra-modern exhibition space, a bookshop, gift shop, and café are all part of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery that debuted in 2013 in an old 19th-century gunpowder store.

Temporary pavilion at Serpentine Galleries

MartineDF /

Enjoy Lakeside Activities at The Serpentine

People on a kayak on The Serpentine lake

I Wei Huang /

Designed by Queen Caroline in 1730, The Serpentine is a 40-acre lake open to the public for recreational purposes.

Serpentine is divided into two parts: the Serpentine, which sits inside Hyde Park, and The Long Water, located within the confines of Kensington Gardens.

The Serpentine Bridge, which spans this body of water, is the defining feature that distinguishes the park from the gardens.

People on boats on The Serpentine lake

IR Stone /

In addition to being gorgeous, the Serpentine was designed for recreational activities like boating and swimming.

A specified part of the Serpentine is available to the public from May until early September, even if you aren’t an Olympic swimmer.

You may also get out on the water in a rowboat or pedalo from April to October.

People on a boat on The Serpentine lake

Brian Minkoff /

Feel Like a Royalty at Queen Elizabeth Gate

Details of Queen Elizabeth Gate

Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB /

Dedicated to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s 90th birthday, this set of elaborately-decorated gates was installed.

David Wynne created the center screen, which shows Scotland’s unicorn and England’s lion.

A year later, in 1993, the gates were formally opened.

The structure faced criticism from other members of the architectural community.

Far view of Queen Elizabeth Gate

Mistervlad /

Zaha Hadid described it as hideous, and another architect called it romantic candyfloss; Viscount Linley, a grandson of the Queen Mother, was reported to have said he “absolutely hated” the work.

Regardless of the issues surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Gate, it was widely admired.

Lord St. John of Fawsley, the then arts minister, said they were “full of joy and strength and courage, like the personage in whose honor they have been created.”

Closer view of Queen Elizabeth Gate

William Barton /

Relax and Smell the Flowers at Rose Garden

It’s a stunning garden with a combination of roses and herbs to produce beautiful seasonal flower beds and powerful aromas.

It may be found at the southeast corner of Hyde Park, near Serpentine Road and Hyde Park Corner, on the park’s south side.

It was created by Colvin and Moggridge Landscape Architects and inaugurated in 1994.

The core circular space bordered by a yew hedge resembles a trumpet or horn’s mouth, and the seasonal flower beds represent the flare notes coming out of the funnel.

Seasonal flower beds and powerful smells are prominent features of the gardens, which draw large numbers of tourists during the summer months but are also popular year-round with local residents and office employees as a peaceful reflective location.

Visiting in the early summer is the best time to catch a glimpse of the roses, but they’ll continue to bloom until the first frosts arrive.

The flower beds are changed out twice a year with spring and summer displays, so any time of year is an excellent time to stop by.

See the Enormous Statue of Achilles

Front view of the Achilles statue

Chrispictures /

It was installed by the command of King George III and inaugurated on June 18, 1822, to honor Arthur Wellesley, Wellington’s first duke.

The Ladies of England, a patriotic, upper-class group, commissioned the first statue in Hyde Park, located at Hyde Park Corner.

Top half of the Achilles statue

chrisdorney /

Sir Richard Westmacott used 33-ton bronze from the cannons that Wellington seized during its France campaign for the statue’s body.

The statue is based on a Roman sculpture in Italy’s Monte Cavallo.

Some community members expressed disapproval when it was first put since it was entirely naked and had to be covered with a fig leaf.

Far view of the Achilles statue

Nando Machado /

Look Back to a Courageous History at Reformers Tree

Site of the Reformers Tree

August Schwerdfeger, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

During the Reform League’s 1866 election rights campaign, an oak tree is known as “The Reformers’ Tree” became a focal point for their demonstrations.

For some time after being set ablaze, the Reformers’ Tree was used as a notice board, rallying point, and symbol for people’s right to gather.

Everyone was free to express themselves freely as long as they avoided using vulgar or offensive language.

Closeup details of The Reformers' Tree

Arnaud Malon, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was here that Speakers’ Corner, a local landmark, gained popularity throughout the globe.

Today, round black and white tile mosaic commemorate The Reformers’ Tree in its former location.

Politician Tony Benn unveiled the mosaic in 2000.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your preference, Hyde Park can give you a different experience each time you visit.

A quick walk around Hyde Park’s rich, verdant scenery will instantly lift your spirits.

Meanwhile, a walk in the woods can positively affect your mental and physical health and positively impact your well-being.

Being close to lovely scenery such as Hyde Park is a priceless perk in London’s hectic metropolis.

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