back to top

23 Splendid Things You Can Do In Hyde Park

London's back garden.

Posted on

1. Cruise down the Serpentine by paddle boat.

An hour costs £12, but floating under the sun is priceless.

2. Or add a touch of romance by going for a row boat instead.

The price is the same, but you'll work your biceps instead of your thighs.

3. Stroll through the stunning rose garden.

Pop into the park from the Hyde Park Corner entrance to find it quickly.

4. Take a leap into the Serpentine Lido.

5. Or have a delightful brunch on the waterfront.

The Lido Bar and Café is perfect for those who want to enjoy the water without getting in it, and the menu is pretty A+.

6. Rent a sunlounger on the shore.

Take a book or a friend along to watch the water and bask in the sun for £3.50/day.

7. And definitely check out the sun terrace overlooking the lido.

Glorious, summery, and with a great view over the Serpentine, the sun terrace has a shallow splash pool and plenty of spots to lay out and enjoy the sun.

8. Explore Kensington Palace.

It has incredible gardens, and is a great way to enjoy the park on a rainy day. You can get access to the interior and gardens for £17.50 at the gate, and a bit less online.

9. Head to Speakers' Corner for snacks and speeches.

The small pavilion is a historically well-known gathering point for protesters and demonstrators, so you're bound to meet someone interesting. On days when no one's standing on a soapbox, pop up to the counter for a sandwich or ice cream.

10. See art at the Serpentine Gallery.

The exhibition space may be small, but it's always full of big and beautiful works of art. Entry is free, and there's a cafe and shop attached.

11. And don't miss out on the Serpentine Pavilion.

Each year, the gallery commissions a foreign architect to design a temporary pavilion to serve as a space for lectures and a coffee shop. The work is always stunning, unique, and one of a kind.

12. Explore the Italian Gardens.

This ornamental formal garden near Lancaster Gate (and technically in Kensington Gardens) is said to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria 150 years ago. Peaceful and stunning, it's a prime spot to settle down with a book and enjoy the view.

13. Follow the Jubilee Greenway Walk.

TFL instated this gorgeous pathway for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The path stretches across the length of Hyde Park and beyond, starting at Kensington Gardens, and you can follow it all the way through Regent's Park and Camden to the Thames Barrier.

For a more contained path, follow the markers for the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walkway throughout the park.

14. Feed the birds.

Create your own Hunger Games with some wholewheat bread at the Serpentine or the duck pond behind the Italian Gardens. Word to the wise: It's safer NOT trying to feed them while on a paddle boat, because the swans are faster than you and you will have nowhere to go.

Make sure to follow the Royal Parks guidelines on feeding the birds – no white bread! Wholewheat is best, or bird seed.

15. Or tame the squirrels.

Endless fun. They like nuts and fruit, so if you're keen to get their attention, ditch the bread and pack the real treats, but be wary not to overfeed them.

16. Have a picnic pretty much anywhere.

Bring booze and a blanket and you are SET. Extra points for a portable speaker to really set the mood.

17. Find hidden gems in the centre of the park.

There are cabins, secret tunnels, and gloriously beautiful trees in the dense centre of the park, so get off the beaten path and find something cool!

18. Reconnect with your inner child at the Peter Pan statue.

Aside being a must-see for its memorable cameo in Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's London-based gem Winning London, the charming statue is just a hop over from the Italian gardens and a great spot for people-watching, or looking out over the Serpentine. It was commissioned by the story's creator, J.M. Barrie, himself, and gives a nice view of Henry Moore's stylish Arch sculpture.

19. Treat yo'self to an ice cream.

Wherever you are in the park, you're not far from an ice cream stand or van, so give in, and let it happen. Speakers' Corner, the lido, the Italian Gardens, Kensington Palace, and the entrance from South Kensington are all prime spots to pick up a cone.

20. Or properly stuff your face at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen.

Run by Benugo, the restaurant offers a picturesque view of the Serpentine from its deck on the water front, not to mention some seriously delicious pizza and a top brunch. The view from inside's not bad either, as the walls are floor the ceiling glass on three sides.

21. Have a leisurely cycle through the main thoroughfares of the park.

Borrow a bike from the London cycle hire scheme and speed through the park to really feel the fresh air on your skin, but make sure to keep an eye on the road and only cycle through approved areas! Find a spot to pick up and drop off within the park here, and remember that journeys of less than 30 minutes are free of charge!

22. Work up a sweat on the sports greens.

If you're down for some friendly competition, reserve a football pitch for free, or head for the Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre for some tennis, bowling, and a putting green, where session fees range from £13.

23. Never stop exploring.

Together, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens span nearly 600 acres, so it's going to take you a long time to know it back to front, and nothing's more satisfying than following your feet and seeing what you can find!

Barbecues are not permitted on the grounds of the Royal Parks. A previous version of this article mistakenly suggested picnicgoers could use disposable barbecues.