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Hyde Park highlights

October 29th, 2007

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is along the memorial path also named for the late princess. The fountain is built of cut granite blocks and designed to reflect Diana’s life: water flowing from a high point along two cascading directions, where it finally meets at a large pool at ground level. Visitors may sit at pool’s edge to cool their feet in the pond. The memorial and the Princess of Wales Memorial Walk are accessible by wheelchairs. The Memorial Walk begins outside Kensington Palace, where Diana lived, and runs for seven miles through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, and St James’s Park.

london hyde park_3Food and Drinks in Hyde Park
Hyde Park has three full-service cafés and three other food carts spread throughout the park. The Dell serves a full menu and alcohol at its spot along the east bank of The Serpentine, including alfresco seating in its terrace and garden. Open 9am-8pm in summer, 10am-4pm in winter. The Lido Café is on the south side of The Serpentine, with a long view of the water. It also has a full menu and serves alcohol. Open 9am-8pm in summer, 10am-4pm in winter. The Hyde Park Tennis Centre Café has sandwiches and refreshing drinks for players and visitors. Open 9am-9pm in summer, 10am-4pm in winter. Each of these cafés has toilets and baby changing stations.

Quick-stop refreshment points are found along the Serpentine Road, at the children’s playground, and at Hyde Park Corner. You can wet your whistle or grab a coffee, have an ice cream, or grab a freshly made picnic sandwich. Each is open from 9am-8pm in the summer, 10am-4pm winter. Picnicking in Hyde Park is so obvious that I almost forgot to mention it. You can easily grab something from outside the park—a deli, a fish ‘n chips shop—and bring your spread onto one of the meadows. In fact, find a place near one of the spontaneous flower patches.

Outside Hyde Park
Oxford Street’s shopping district begins just across from the Marble Arch traffic signal outside the northeast corner. If you’re just coming from there, then Hyde Park is your place to plop your tired butt onto a bench and say “Phew!”

london hyde park_7For more shopping, check out Portobello Road’s street flea market on weekends. It’s nearer to the Kensington Gardens exits, but that’s just a few minute’s walk along Bayswater, where you can also take a gander through the artists’ creations who set up daily. Some good art at reasonable prices can be had here.

Hyde Park is surrounded by hotels and restaurants, from 4-star on down, depending on which gate you enter or exit. Bayswater to the north is an eclectic neighborhood with ethnic restaurants and many small hotels perfect for travelers on a budget. On the other hand, across the street from any of the south park gates lies the fashionable Kensington and Knightsbridge neighborhoods, with stately hotels and formal-wear restaurants. Have fun. For an idiosyncratic list of nightlife entertainment, restaurants to sample, and site seeing, jump to the London city page.

Directions to Hyde Park
Hyde Park is open from 5am to midnight year round. Bayswater Road, Park Lane, and Knightsbridge harness Hyde Park, with Tube stops at Marble Arch and Lancaster Gate (Central Line), and Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line). Avoid coming into London by car, if at all possible: parking is limited. Bus routes include: North #s 6, 7, 10, 16, 52, 73, 82, 390 & 414; South #s 2, 36, 137 & 436; West #s 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 148, 414; and East #s 8, 15, 30, 38, 274.

(return to Hyde Park’s main page here)


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