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.
Park Lane, London, Greater London, England, W2 2UH
All year, Daily, Open dawn to dusk