Hyde Park

sights / Parks & gardens

Hyde Park information

London , England
Getting there
Tube: Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner or Queensway
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At 145 hectares, Hyde Park is central London's largest open space, expropriated from the Church in 1536 by Henry VIII and turned into a hunting ground and later a venue for duels, executions and horse racing. The 1851 Great Exhibition was held here, and during WWII the park became an enormous potato field. These days, there's boating on the Serpentine , summer concerts (Bruce Springsteen, Florence + The Machine, Patti Smith), film nights and other warm-weather events.

During winter, the southeast area of the park is the site of Winter Wonderland (www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com), with fairground rides, ice skating and other seasonal attractions.

The Holocaust Memorial Garden is a simple but evocative memorial to the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime.

While Speakers' Corner is intended for oratorical acrobats, these days it's largely eccentrics and religious fanatics who address bemused onlookers, maintaining a tradition begun in 1872 as a response to rioting. Nearby Marble Arch, designed by John Nash in 1828 as the entrance to Buckingham Palace, was moved here in 1851. The infamous Tyburn Tree, a three-legged gallows, once stood close by and was the place of execution for up to 50,000 people between 1196 and 1783. Marble Arch is also in the same area, and beyond that ranges the shopping maelstrom of Oxford St.

A soothing monument, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is a circular stream that cascades gently and reassembles in a pool at the bottom; paddling is encouraged.