The Garden Guide

Hyde Park

The River Westbourne which flowed through the park was dammed to form a lake. The east and west halves of the lake, known as the Serpentine and the Long Water are divided by a bridge designed by George Rennie in 1826. It has a magnificent prospect. Hyde Park has been open to the public since 1635 and demonstrates the value of a really large boldly planted park in a city. It is enlivened by two fine modern restaurants, one at each end of the Serpentine. Apart from this feature, so appropriately named for an example of the Serpentine Style, the park has never been designed as a whole. Visitors to London can contrast its style with the Baroque Style of the adjoining Kensington Gardens.

Celia Fiennes, the famous traveller, described Hyde Park in 1701-3: 'Just by this parke [St James's Park] you Enter another Much Larger, Hide-parke, which is for Rideing on horseback but mostly for ye  Coaches, there being a ring railed in round wch  a Gravel way that would admitt of twelve if not more rowes of Coaches, wch  ye  Gentry to take ye  aire and see each other Comes and drives round and round; one row going Contrary to each other affords a pleaseing diversion. The rest of ye  parke is green and full of deer, there are Large ponds wth  fish and fowle. Ye  whole Length of this parke there is a high Causey of a good breadth, 3 Coaches may pass and on Each side are Rowes of posts on which are Glasses-Cases for Lamps wch  are Lighted in ye  Evening and appeares very fine as well as safe for ye  passenger. This is only a private roade ye  king had wch  reaches to Kensington, where for aire our Great King Wm  bought a house and filled it for a Retirement wth  pretty gardens. Besides these ye  king has a pallace in ye  Strand wth  fine gardens all to ye  Thames river, this appertaines to ye  Queen Dowager while she Lives. In this place was that cruel Barbarous Murder of Sr  Edmund Berry Godfrey by ye  papists.' The street lighting she describes was the first in London.

Hyde Park is on the London Gardens Walk and included in the eBook guide to the London Gardens Walk
Photograph © Rose Garden
Photograph © Horses exercising on Rotton Row.

Park Lane, London, Greater London, England, W2 2UH

All year, Daily, Open dawn to dusk

Entrance free

Visit the Hyde Park website

Nearby gardens

Nearby hotels

Nearby nurseries

Designers and Influences