Hyde Park, London

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Hyde Park
Aerial view of Hyde Park.jpg
Hyde Park (in foreground) and Kensington Gardens
Westminster London UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within central London
TypePublic park
LocationLondon, England
Coordinates 51°30′31″N0°09′49″W / 51.508611°N 0.163611°W / 51.508611; -0.163611 Coordinates: 51°30′31″N0°09′49″W / 51.508611°N 0.163611°W / 51.508611; -0.163611
Area350 acres (140 ha)
Created1637 (1637) [1]
Operated by The Royal Parks
StatusOpen year round
Website www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park

Hyde Park is a Grade I-listed major park in Central London. It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. The park is divided by the Serpentine and the Long Water lakes.

Central London Innermost part of London, England

Central London is the innermost part of London, in the United Kingdom, spanning several boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. Its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally, nationally and internationally significant organisations and facilities.

Royal Parks of London lands originally owned by the monarchy of the United Kingdom

The Royal Parks of London are lands originally owned by the monarchy of the United Kingdom for the recreation, mostly hunting, of the royal family. They are part of the hereditary possessions of The Crown.

Kensington Palace royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, London, England

Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.


The park was established by Henry VIII in 1536 when he took the land from Westminster Abbey and used it as a hunting ground. It opened to the public in 1637 and quickly became popular, particularly for May Day parades. Major improvements occurred in the early 18th century under the direction of Queen Caroline. Several duels took place in Hyde Park during this time, often involving members of the nobility. The Great Exhibition of 1851 was held in the park, for which The Crystal Palace, designed by Joseph Paxton, was erected.

Henry VIII of England 16th-century King of England

Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.

Westminster Abbey Church in London

Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey or a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign.

Caroline of Ansbach Queen of Great Britain 1727–1737 (as wife of King George II)

Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was Queen of Great Britain as the wife of King George II.

Free speech and demonstrations have been a key feature of Hyde Park since the 19th century. Speakers' Corner has been established as a point of free speech and debate since 1872, while the Chartists, the Reform League, the suffragettes, and the Stop the War Coalition have all held protests there. In the late 20th century, the park was known for holding large-scale free rock music concerts, featuring groups such as Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Queen. Major events in the park have continued into the 21st century, such as Live 8 in 2005, and the annual Hyde Park Winter Wonderland from 2007.

Speakers Corner square

A Speakers' Corner is an area where open-air public speaking, debate, and discussion are allowed. The original and most noted is in the northeast corner of Hyde Park in London, England. Historically there were a number of other areas designated as Speakers' Corners in other parks in London. More recently, they have been set up in other British cities, and there are also Speakers' Corners in other countries.

The Reform League was established in 1865 to press for manhood suffrage and the ballot in Great Britain. It collaborated with the more moderate and middle class Reform Union and gave strong support to the abortive Reform Bill 1866 and the successful Reform Act 1867. It developed into a formidable force of agitation at the very heart of the country.

Pink Floyd English rock band

Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Distinguished by their philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows, they are one of the most commercially successful and influential groups in popular music history.


Hyde Park is the largest Royal Park in London. It is bounded on the north by Bayswater Road, to the east by Park Lane, and to the south by Knightsbridge. Further north is Paddington, further east is Mayfair and further south is Belgravia. [2] To the southeast, outside the park, is Hyde Park Corner, beyond which is Green Park, St. James's Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens. [3] The park has been Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens since 1987. [4]

Bayswater Road road in London, England

Bayswater Road is the main road running along the northern edge of Hyde Park in London. Originally part of the A40 road, it is now designated part of the A402 road.

Park Lane road in the City of Westminster, in Central London, England

Park Lane is a major road in the City of Westminster, in Central London. It is part of the London Inner Ring Road and runs from Hyde Park Corner in the south to Marble Arch in the north. It separates Hyde Park to the west from Mayfair to the east. The road has a number of historically important properties and hotels and has been one of the most sought after streets in London, despite being a major traffic thoroughfare.

Knightsbridge road and district in London

Knightsbridge is a residential and retail district in West London, south of Hyde Park. It is identified in the London Plan as one of two international retail centres in London, alongside the West End.

To the west, Hyde Park merges with Kensington Gardens. The dividing line runs approximately between Alexandra Gate to Victoria Gate via West Carriage Drive and the Serpentine Bridge. The Serpentine is to the south of the park area. [2] Kensington Gardens has been separate from Hyde Park since 1728, when Queen Caroline divided them. Hyde Park covers 142 hectares (350 acres), [5] and Kensington Gardens covers 111 hectares (275 acres), [6] giving a total area of 253 hectares (625 acres). [lower-alpha 1] During daylight, the two parks merge seamlessly into each other, but Kensington Gardens closes at dusk, and Hyde Park remains open throughout the year from 5 a.m. until midnight. [3]

Kensington Gardens park in London, England

Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, are among the Royal Parks of London. The gardens are shared by the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and sit immediately to the west of Hyde Park, in western central London. The gardens cover an area of 270 acres. The open spaces of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, and St. James's Park together form an almost continuous "green lung" in the heart of London. Kensington Gardens are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.


Early history

The park's name comes from the Manor of Hyde, which was the northeast sub-division of the manor of Eia (the other two sub-divisions were Ebury and Neyte) and appears as such in the Domesday Book. [7] The name is believed to be of Saxon origin, and means a unit of land, the hide, that was appropriate for the support of a single family and dependents. [8] Through the Middle Ages, it was property of Westminster Abbey, and the woods in the manor were used both for firewood and shelter for game. [7]

Eia Former Medieval manor in Middlesex, England

Eia or Eye was an early Medieval manor in the parish of Westminster, Middlesex so has now become a part of Central London, much of which, now known as the Grosvenor Estate, heavily leased to others, is owned by Hugh Grosvenor, 7th Duke of Westminster, which in total is worth more than two billion pounds, mostly in commercial rents and development revenue. It was about one mile west of the Palace of Westminster/Whitehall, about 2 miles WSW of the walled City of London, and about one quarter that distance from the present north bank of the tidal Thames. A smaller sub-manor called Ebury or Eybury containing the hamlet Eye Cross, were originally part of the manor. Ebury and a corruption of it, Avery, appear as modern streets and other places.

Domesday Book 11th-century survey of landholding in England as well as the surviving manuscripts of the survey

Domesday Book is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states:

Then, at the midwinter [1085], was the king in Gloucester with his council .... After this had the king a large meeting, and very deep consultation with his council, about this land; how it was occupied, and by what sort of men. Then sent he his men over all England into each shire; commissioning them to find out "How many hundreds of hides were in the shire, what land the king himself had, and what stock upon the land; or, what dues he ought to have by the year from the shire."

The hide was an English unit of land measurement originally intended to represent the amount of land sufficient to support a household. It was traditionally taken to be 120 acres, but was in fact a measure of value and tax assessment, including obligations for food-rent, maintenance and repair of bridges and fortifications, manpower for the army, and (eventually) the geld land tax. The hide's method of calculation is now obscure: different properties with the same hidage could vary greatly in extent even in the same county. Following the Norman Conquest of England, the hidage assessments were recorded in the Domesday Book and there was a tendency for land producing £1 of income per year to be assessed at 1 hide. The Norman kings continued to use the unit for their tax assessments until the end of the 12th century.

16th–17th centuries

Hyde Park was created for hunting by Henry Vlll in 1536 after he acquired the manor of Hyde from the Abbey. [9] It was enclosed as a deer park and remained a private hunting ground until James I permitted limited access to gentlefolk, [10] appointing a ranger to take charge. Charles I created the Ring (north of the present Serpentine boathouses), and in 1637 he opened the park to the general public. [11] It quickly became a popular gathering place, particularly for May Day celebrations. At the start of the English Civil War in 1642, a series of fortifications were built along the east side of the park, including forts at what is now Marble Arch, Mount Street and Hyde Park Corner. The latter included a strongpoint where visitors to London could be checked and vetted. [2]

In 1652, during the Interregnum, Parliament ordered the then 620-acre (250 ha) park to be sold for "ready money". It realised £17,000 with an additional £765 6s 2d for the resident deer. [12] [13] During the Great Plague of London in 1665, Hyde Park was used as a military camp. [2] Following the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Charles II retook ownership of Hyde Park and enclosed it in a brick wall. He restocked deer in what is now Buck Hill in Kensington Gardens. The May Day parade continued to be a popular event; Samuel Pepys took part in the park's celebrations in 1663 while attempting to gain the King's favour. [14]

18th century

The Hamilton-Mohun Duel of 1712. Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun fighting James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton in Hyde Park; both lost their lives. James Douglas, 4th Duke of Hamilton; Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun from NPG.jpg
The Hamilton–Mohun Duel of 1712. Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun fighting James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton in Hyde Park; both lost their lives.

In 1689, William III moved his residence to Kensington Palace on the far side of Hyde Park and had a drive laid out across its southern edge which was known as the King's Private Road. The drive is still in existence as a wide straight gravelled carriage track leading west from Hyde Park Corner across the southern boundary of Hyde Park towards Kensington Palace and now known as Rotten Row, possibly a corruption of rotteran (to muster), [7] Ratten Row (roundabout way), Route du roi, or rotten (the soft material with which the road is covered). [15] It is believed to be the first road in London to be lit at night, which was done to deter highwaymen. In 1749, Horace Walpole was robbed while travelling through the park from Holland House. [16] The row was used by the wealthy for horseback rides in the early 19th century. [17]

Hyde Park was a popular duelling spot during the 18th century, with 172 taking place, leading to 63 fatalities. [18] The Hamilton–Mohun Duel took place there in 1712 when Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun fought James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton. Baron Mohun was killed instantly, while the Duke died shortly afterwards. John Wilkes fought Samuel Martin in 1772, as did Richard Brinsley Sheridan with Captain Thomas Mathews over the latter's libellous comments about Sheridan's fiancee Elizabeth Ann Linley. Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow fought Andrew Stuart in a Hyde Park duel in 1770. [16] Military executions were common in Hyde Park at this time; John Rocque's Map of London, 1746 marks a point inside the park, close to the Tyburn gallows, as "where soldiers are shot." [19] [lower-alpha 2]

Hyde Park c. 1833: Rotten Row is "The King's Private Road" Hyde Park London from 1833 Schmollinger map.jpg
Hyde Park c. 1833: Rotten Row is "The King's Private Road"

The first coherent landscaping in Hyde Park began in 1726. It was undertaken by Charles Bridgeman for King George I, but following the king's death the following year, it continued with approval of his daughter-in-law, Queen Caroline. [16] [21] Work was undertaken under the supervision of Charles Withers, the Surveyor-General of Woods and Forests. The principal effect of the work was to sub-divide Hyde Park and create Kensington Gardens. [22] [lower-alpha 3] The Serpentine was formed by damming the River Westbourne, which runs through the park from Kilburn towards the Thames. It is divided from the Long Water by a bridge designed by George Rennie in 1826. [16]

The work was completed in 1733. The 2nd Viscount Weymouth was made Ranger of Hyde Park in 1739 and shortly after began digging the Serpentine lakes at Longleat. [23] A powder magazine was built north of the Serpentine in 1805. [16]

19th–21st centuries

Hyde Park, 1890, by Camille Pissarro, showing the footpath along the southern bank of the Serpentine Pissarro Hyde Park.jpg
Hyde Park, 1890, by Camille Pissarro, showing the footpath along the southern bank of the Serpentine

Hyde Park hosted a Great Fair in the summer of 1814 to celebrate the Allied sovereigns' visit to England, and exhibited various stalls and shows. The Battle of Trafalgar was re-enacted on the Serpentine, with a band playing the National Anthem while the French fleet sank into the lake. The coronation of King George IV in 1821 was celebrated with a fair in the park, including an air balloon and firework displays. [16]

One of the most important events to take place in Hyde Park was the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Crystal Palace was constructed on the south side of the park. [16] The public did not want the building to remain after the closure of the exhibition, and its architect, Joseph Paxton, raised funds and purchased it. He had it moved to Sydenham Hill in South London. [24] Another significant event was the first Victoria Cross investiture, on 26 June 1857, when 62 men were decorated by Queen Victoria in the presence of Prince Albert and other members of the Royal Family, including their future son-in-law Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, later Emperor Frederick III. [25]

The Hyde Park Lido sits on the south bank of the Serpentine. It opened in 1930 to provide improved support for bathing and sunbathing in the park, which had been requested by the naturist group, the Sunlight League. The Lido and accompanying Pavilion was designed by the Commissioner of Works, George Lansbury, and was half funded by a £5,000 (now £311,000) donation from Major Colin Cooper (1892–1938). It still sees regular use in the summer into the 21st century. [26] [27]

Hyde Park has been a major venue for several Royal jubilees and celebrations. For the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, a party was organised on 22 June where around 26,000 school children were given a free meal as a gift. The Queen and the Prince of Wales made an unexpected appearance at the event. Victoria remained fond of Hyde Park in the final years of her life and often drove there twice a day. [28] As part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, a Jubilee Exhibition was set up in Hyde Park, [27] with the Queen and Prince Philip visiting on 30 June. [29] In 2012, a major festival took place in the park as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. [30] On 6 February, the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun Royal Salute at Hyde Park Corner. [31]

The Winter Wonderland festival has been a popular Christmas event in Hyde Park since 2007. Winter Wonderland 5276970971.jpg
The Winter Wonderland festival has been a popular Christmas event in Hyde Park since 2007.

On 20 July 1982, in the Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings, two devices linked to the Provisional Irish Republican Army caused the death of eight members of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets and seven horses. [32] A memorial was constructed to the left of the Albert Gate to commemorate the soldiers and horses killed in the blast. [33]

Since 2007, Hyde Park has played host to the annual Winter Wonderland event, which features numerous Christmas-themed markets, along with various rides and attractions, alongside bars and restaurants. It has become one of the largest Christmas events in Europe, having attracted over 14 million visitors as of 2016, [34] [35] and has expanded to include the largest ice rink in London, live entertainment and circuses. [36]

On 18 September 2010, Hyde Park was the setting for a prayer vigil with Pope Benedict XVI as part of his visit to the United Kingdom, attended by around 80,000 people. A large crowd assembled along the Mall to see the Pope arrive for his address. [37] [38] An attempt to assassinate the Pope had been foiled after five street cleaners were spotted within a mile of Hyde Park, and arrested along with sixth suspect. [39]

Grand Entrance

Decimus Burton's Hyde Park Gate/Screen Entree Hyde Park.JPG
Decimus Burton's Hyde Park Gate/Screen

During the late 18th century, plans were made to replace the old toll gate at Hyde Park Corner with a grander entrance, following the gentrification of the area surrounding it. The first design was put forward by Robert Adam in 1778 as a grand archway, followed by John Soane's 1796 proposal to build a new palace adjacent to the corner in Green Park. [40]

Following the construction of Buckingham Palace, the improvement plans were revisited. The grand entrance to the park at Hyde Park Corner was designed by Decimus Burton, and was constructed in the 1820s. [40] Burton laid out the paths and driveways and designed a series of lodges, the Screen/Gate at Hyde Park Corner (also known as the Grand Entrance or the Apsley Gate) in 1825 [16] and the Wellington Arch, which opened in 1828. [41] The Screen and the Arch originally formed a single composition, designed to provide a monumental transition between Hyde Park and Green Park, although the arch was moved in 1883. It originally had a statue of the Duke of Wellington on top; it was moved to Aldershot in 1883 when the arch was re-sited. [41]

Decimus Burton's Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner Wellington Arch - 01.jpg
Decimus Burton's Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner

An early description reports:

"It consists of a screen of handsome fluted Ionic columns, with three carriage entrance archways, two-foot entrances, a lodge, etc. The extent of the whole frontage is about 107 ft (33 m). The central entrance has a bold projection: the entablature is supported by four columns; and the volutes of the capitals of the outside column on each side of the gateway are formed in an angular direction, so as to exhibit two complete faces to view. The two side gateways, in their elevations, present two insulated Ionic columns, flanked by antae. All these entrances are finished by a blocking, the sides of the central one being decorated with a beautiful frieze, representing a naval and military triumphal procession. This frieze was designed by Mr. Henning, junior, the son of Mr. Henning who was well known for his models of the Elgin Marbles. The gates were manufactured by Messrs. Bramah. They are of iron, bronzed, and fixed or hung to the piers by rings of gun-metal. The design consists of a beautiful arrangement of the Greek honeysuckle ornament; the parts being well defined, and the raffles of the leaves brought out in a most extraordinary manner." [42]

The Wellington Arch was extensively restored by English Heritage between 1999 and 2001. It is now open to the public, who can see a view of the parks from its platforms above the porticoes. [41]


The 7 July Memorial to the victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings 7 7 Hyde Park 090712.jpg
The 7 July Memorial to the victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings

Popular areas within Hyde Park include Speakers' Corner (located in the northeast corner near Marble Arch), close to the former site of the Tyburn gallows, [43] and Rotten Row, which is the northern boundary of the site of the Crystal Palace. [3]


Flowers were first planted in Hyde Park in 1860 by William Andrews Nesfield. The next year, the Italian Water Garden was constructed at Victoria Gate, including fountains and a summer house. Queen Anne's Alcove was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was moved to the park from its original location in Kensington Gardens. [16]

During the late 20th century, over 9,000 elm trees in Hyde Park were killed by Dutch elm disease. This included many trees along the great avenues planted by Queen Caroline, which were ultimately replaced by limes and maples. [40] [44] The park now holds 4 acres (1.6 ha) of greenhouses which hold the bedding plants for the Royal Parks. A scheme is available to adopt trees in the park, which helps fund their upkeep and maintenance. [40] A botanical curiosity is the weeping beech, which is known as "the upside-down tree". [45] A rose garden, designed by Colvin & Moggridge Landscape Architects, was added in 1994. [46]

Statues and sculptures

Jacob Epstein's Rima sculpture in Hyde Park Rima, the Hudson memorial.jpg
Jacob Epstein's Rima sculpture in Hyde Park

There are a number of assorted statues and memorials around Hyde Park. The Cavalry Memorial was built in 1924 at Stanhope Gate. It moved to the Serpentine Road when Park Lane was widened to traffic in 1961. [47] South of the Serpentine is the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial, an oval stone ring fountain opened on 6 July 2004. [48] To the east of the Serpentine, just beyond the dam, is London's Holocaust Memorial. [49] The 7 July Memorial in the park commemorates the victims of 7 July 2005 London bombings. [50]

The Standing Stone is a 7-tonne (7.7-ton) monolith at the centre of the Dell, to the east of Hyde Park. Made of Cornish stone, it was originally part of a drinking fountain, though an urban legend was established, claiming it was brought from Stonehenge by Charles I. [40]

An assortment of unusual sculptures are scattered around the park, including: Still Water , a massive horse head lapping up water; Jelly Baby Family, a family of giant Jelly Babies standing on top of a large black cube; and Vroom Vroom, which resembles a giant human hand pushing a toy car along the ground. [51] The sculptor Jacob Epstein constructed several works in Hyde Park. His memorial to the author William Henry Hudson, featuring his character Rima caused public outrage when it was unveiled in 1925. [16]

There has been a fountain at Grosvenor Gate since 1863, designed by Alexander Munro. There is another fountain opposite Mount Street on the park's eastern edge. [16]


A Protestant Christian protesting at Speakers' Corner in 2010 Speaker's Corner Speaker.jpg
A Protestant Christian protesting at Speakers' Corner in 2010

Hyde Park's Speakers' Corner has acquired an international reputation for demonstrations and other protests [52] due to its tolerance of free speech. [53] In 1855, a protest at the park was organised to demonstrate against Robert Grosvenor's attempt to ban Sunday trading, including a restriction on pub opening times. Karl Marx observed approximately 200,000 protesters attended the demonstration, which involved jeering and taunting at upper-class horse carriages. A further protest occurred a week later, but this time the police attacked the crowd. [54]

In 1867 the policing of the park was entrusted to the Metropolitan Police, the only royal park so managed, due to the potential for trouble at Speakers' Corner. A Metropolitan Police station ('AH') is situated in the middle of the park. The 1872 Parks Regulation Act created positions of "park keeper" and also provided that "Every police constable belonging to the police force of the district in which any park, garden, or possession to which this Act applies is situate shall have the powers, privileges, and immunities of a park-keeper within such park, garden, or possession." [55]

The Free Hugs Campaign has taken place several times at Speakers' Corner. 'FREE HUGS', Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London.jpg
The Free Hugs Campaign has taken place several times at Speakers' Corner.

Speakers' Corner became increasingly popular in the late 19th century. Visitors brought along placards, stepladders and soap boxes in order to stand out from others, while heckling of speakers was popular. Donald Soper, Baron Soper was a regular visitor throughout the 20th century, until just before his death in 1998. The rise of the Internet, particularly blogs, has diminished the importance of Speakers' Corner as a political platform, and it is increasingly seen as simply a tourist attraction. [43]

As well as Speakers' Corner, several important mass demonstrations have occurred in Hyde Park. On 26 July 1886, the Reform League staged a march from their headquarters towards the park, campaigning for increased suffrage and representation. Though the police had closed the park, the crowd managed to break down the perimeter railings and get inside, leading to the event being dubbed "The Hyde Park Railings Affair". After the protests turned violent, three squadrons of Horse Guards and numerous Foot Guards were sent out from Marble Arch to combat the situation. [56] On 21 June 1908, as part of "Women's Sunday", a reported 750,000 people marched from the Embankment to Hyde Park protesting for votes for women. The first protest against the planned 2003 invasion of Iraq took place in Hyde Park on 28 September 2002, with 150,000–350,000 in attendance. [57] A further series of demonstrations happened around the world, culminating in the 15 February 2003, anti-war protests, part of a global demonstration against the Iraq War. [58] Over a million protesters are reported to have attended the Hyde Park event alone. [57]


The bandstand in Hyde Park was originally built in Kensington Gardens in 1869, moving to its current location in 1886. It became a popular place for concerts in the 1890s, featuring up to three every week. Military and brass bands continued to play into the 20th century. [59]

Pink Floyd performing at Live 8 in Hyde Park, 2 July 2005, their last of several gigs at the park over their career Pink floyd live 8 london.jpg
Pink Floyd performing at Live 8 in Hyde Park, 2 July 2005, their last of several gigs at the park over their career

The music management company Blackhill Enterprises held the first rock concert in Hyde Park on 29 June 1968, attended by 15,000 people. On the bill were Pink Floyd, Roy Harper and Jethro Tull, while John Peel later said it was "the nicest concert I’ve ever been to". Subsequently, Hyde Park has featured some of the most significant concerts in rock. The supergroup Blind Faith (featuring Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood) played their debut gig in Hyde Park on 7 June 1969. The Rolling Stones headlined a concert (later released as The Stones in the Park) on 5 July that year, two days after the death of founding member Brian Jones, and is now remembered as one of the most famous gigs of the 1960s. Pink Floyd returned to Hyde Park on 18 July 1970, playing new material from Atom Heart Mother . All of the early gigs from 1968 to 1971 were free events, contrasting sharply with the later commercial endeavours. [60]

Queen played a free concert organised by Richard Branson in the park on 18 September 1976, partway through recording the album A Day at the Races . The band drew an audience of 150,000 – 200,000, which remains the largest crowd for a Hyde Park concert. The group were not allowed to play an encore, and police threatened to arrest frontman Freddie Mercury if he attempted to do so. [61]

The British Live 8 concert took place in Hyde Park on 2 July 2005, as a concert organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise awareness of increased debts and poverty in the third world. Acts included U2, Coldplay, Elton John, R.E.M., Madonna, The Who and Paul McCartney, and the most anticipated set was the reformation of the classic 1970s line-up of Pink Floyd (including David Gilmour and Roger Waters) for the first time since 1981. [62] The gig was the Floyd's final live performance. [63]

Acts from each of the four nations in the UK played a gig in the park as part of the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The headliners were Duran Duran, representing England, alongside the Stereophonics for Wales, Paolo Nutini for Scotland and Snow Patrol for Northern Ireland. [64] Since 2011, Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park has taken place each September. [65]

Local residents have become critical of Hyde Park as a concert venue, due to the sound levels, and have campaigned for a maximum sound level of 73 decibels. [66] In July 2012, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney found their microphones switched off after Springsteen had played a three-hour set during the Park's Hard Rock Calling festival, and overshot the 10:30 pm curfew time. [67]


Hyde Park contains several sporting facilities, including several football pitches and a Tennis centre. There are numerous cycle paths, and horse riding is popular. [68]

In 1998 British artist Marion Coutts recreated Hyde Park, along with Battersea and Regent's Park, as a set of asymmetrical ping-pong tables for her interactive installation Fresh Air. [69]

For the 2012 Summer Olympics, the park hosted the triathlon, which brothers Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee took the Gold and Bronze medals [70] for Team GB, and the 10 km open water swimming events. [71] The park has also hosted the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. [72]


Entrance to Hyde Park Corner tube station, with the Grand Entrance to the left Hyde Park Corner stn southwest entrance.JPG
Entrance to Hyde Park Corner tube station, with the Grand Entrance to the left

There are five London Underground stations located on or near the edges of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (which is contiguous with Hyde Park). In clockwise order starting from the south-east, they are: [73]

Bayswater tube station, on the Circle and District lines, is also close to Queensway station and the north-west corner of the park. High Street Kensington tube station, on the Circle and District is very close to Kensington Palace located on the Southwest corner of Kensington Gardens. Paddington station, served by Bakerloo, Circle and District, and Hammersmith & City lines, is close to Lancaster Gate station and a short walk away from Hyde Park. [73]

Several main roads run around the perimeter of Hyde Park. Park Lane is part of the London Inner Ring Road and the London Congestion Charge zone boundary. The A4, a major road through West London, runs along the southeastern edge of the park, while the A5, a major road to Milton Keynes and the Midlands runs northwest from Marble Arch. [3]

Transport within the park for people lacking mobility and disabled visitors is provided free of charge by Liberty Drives, located at Triangle Carpark. [74]

Cycle Superhighway 3 (CS3) begins at Lancaster Gate, on the northern perimeter of Hyde Park. It is one of several TfL-coordinated cycle routes to cross the Park. CS3 also crosses Hyde Park Corner on its route towards Westminster and the City of London. The route opened in September 2018 and is signposted and cyclists are segregated from other road traffic on wide cycle tracks. [75] [76]

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Green Park one of the Royal Parks of London

The Green Park, usually known without the article simply as Green Park, is one of the Royal Parks of London. It is located in the City of Westminster, Central London. First enclosed in 16th century, it was landscaped in 1820 and is notable among central London parks for having no lakes or buildings, and only minimal flower planting in the form of naturalised narcissus.

The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, London

The Serpentine is a 40-acre (16 ha) recreational lake in Hyde Park, London, England, created in 1730 at the behest of Queen Caroline. Although it is common to refer to the entire body of water as the Serpentine, strictly the name refers only to the eastern half of the lake. Serpentine Bridge, which marks the boundary between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, also marks the Serpentine's western boundary; the long and narrow western half of the lake is known as the Long Water. The Serpentine takes its name from its snakelike, curving shape, although it only has one bend.

Marble Arch triumphal arch in London

Marble Arch is a 19th-century white marble-faced triumphal arch in London, England. The structure was designed by John Nash in 1827 to be the state entrance to the cour d'honneur of Buckingham Palace; it stood near the site of what is today the three-bayed, central projection of the palace containing the well known balcony. In 1851 on the initiative of architect and urban planner, Decimus Burton, one time pupil of John Nash, it was relocated and following the widening of Park Lane in the early 1960s to where it is now sited, incongruently isolated, on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road. Admiralty Arch, Holyhead in Wales is a similar arch, even more so cut off from public access, at the other end of the A5.

Belgravia District in central London, England

Belgravia is an affluent district in Central London, shared within the authorities of both the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Belgravia is noted for its very expensive residential properties; it is one of the wealthiest districts in the world.

Lancaster Gate tube station London Underground station

Lancaster Gate is a London Underground station located on the Central line near Lancaster Gate on Bayswater Road in Bayswater, to the north of Kensington Gardens. It is between Queensway and Marble Arch on the Central line and is in Travelcard Zone 1.

Hyde Park Corner place in London

Hyde Park Corner is an area in London, England, located around a major road junction at the southeastern corner of Hyde Park, that was designed by Decimus Burton. Six streets converge at the junction: Park Lane, Piccadilly (northeast), Constitution Hill (southeast), Grosvenor Place (south), Grosvenor Crescent (southwest) and Knightsbridge (west). Hyde Park Corner tube station, a London Underground station served by the Piccadilly line, is located at the junction, as are a number of notable monuments. Immediately to the north of the junction is Apsley House, the home of the first Duke of Wellington; several monuments to the Duke were erected in the vicinity, both in his lifetime and subsequently.

Constitution Hill, London road in London, England

Constitution Hill is a road in the City of Westminster in London. It connects the western end of The Mall with Hyde Park Corner, and is bordered by Buckingham Palace Gardens and Green Park. The term "Hill" is something of a misnomer; there is barely a detectable slope and most observers would regard the road as flat. An old lane on this route was enhanced in connection with the development of Buckingham Palace in the 1820s. It formed an official route from the palace to Hyde Park. It is now closed to traffic on Sundays.

River Westbourne river in London, UK

The Westbourne or Kilburn is a mainly re-diverted small River Thames tributary in London, rising in Hampstead and which, notwithstanding one main meander, flows southward through Kilburn and the Bayswater to skirt underneath the east of Hyde Park's Serpentine lake then through central Chelsea under Sloane Square and it passes centrally under the south side of Royal Hospital Chelsea's Ranelagh Gardens before historically discharging into the Inner London Tideway. Since the latter 19th century its narrow basin has been further narrowed by corollary surface water drains and its main flow has been replaced with a combined sewer beneath its route.

Kensington Road section of road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, London, England

Kensington Road is a section of road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, London, England, forming part of the A315. It runs along the south edge of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. To the west it becomes Kensington High Street, to the east it becomes Knightsbridge, while Kensington Gore is the name applied to the middle section. To the north is Kensington Palace and to the south the road is joined by Palace Gate, Queen's Gate, Exhibition Road, and Rutland Gate.

Wellington Arch triumphal arch in London

Wellington Arch, also known as Constitution Arch or (originally) as the Green Park Arch, is a Grade I-listed triumphal arch by Decimus Burton that forms a centrepiece of Hyde Park Corner in central London, between corners of Hyde Park and Green Park; it stands on a large traffic island with crossings for pedestrian access. From its construction in 1826 until 1830 the arch stood in a different location nearby; it was moved to its current site in 1882–1883. It originally supported a colossal equestrian statue of the 1st Duke of Wellington by the sculptor Matthew Cotes Wyatt, as a result of which it has acquired the name "the Wellington Arch" in the vernacular. A bronze quadriga by Adrian Jones has surmounted it since 1912.

Rotten Row road and bridleway in Hyde Park, London

Rotten Row is a broad track running 1,384 metres (4,541 ft) along the south side of Hyde Park in London. It leads from Hyde Park Corner to Serpentine Road. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Rotten Row was a fashionable place for upper-class Londoners to be seen horse riding. Today it is maintained as a place to ride horses in the centre of London, but it is little used.

Walking in London popular recreational activity in London

Walking is a popular recreational activity in London, despite traffic congestion. There are many areas that provide space for interesting walks, including commons, parks, canals, and disused railway tracks. This includes Wimbledon Common, Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath, and the eight Royal Parks: Hyde Park, Regents Park, Richmond Park, etc. In recent years access to canals and rivers, including the Regent's Canal, and the River Thames has been greatly improved, and as well a number of long distance walking routes have been created that link green spaces.

The Long Water lake in Kensington Gardens, London

The Long Water is a recreational lake in Kensington Gardens, London, England, created in 1730 at the behest of Queen Caroline. The Long Water refers to the long and narrow western half of the lake that is known as the Serpentine. Serpentine Bridge, which marks the boundary between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, also marks the Long Water's eastern boundary.

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, London

The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates at 1-2 Grosvenor Crescent in the Grosvenor Crescent district of London, is the diplomatic mission of the United Arab Emirates in the United Kingdom. The UAE also maintains a Consulate, Police Liaison Section & Cultural Attaché's office at 48 Prince's Gate, South Kensington, a Military Attaché's Office at 6 Queen's Gate Terrace, South Kensington and a Health Section at 71 Harley Street, Marylebone.



  1. By comparison, the combined area of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is larger than the Principality of Monaco (196 hectares or 480 acres), though smaller than the Bois de Boulogne in Paris (845 hectares, or 2090 acres), New York City's Central Park (341 hectares or 840 acres), and Dublin's Phoenix Park (707 hectares, or 1,750 acres).
  2. This location is now where the A5 Edgware Road meets the A40 Marble Arch. [20]
  3. Bridgeman was Royal Gardener 1728–38; designed the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens. Peter Willis, Charles Bridgeman and the English Landscape Garden (London and New York) 1978, devotes a chapter to Bridgeman's Royal Commissions.


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