A guide to Hyde Park
Live like a local

A guide to Hyde Park

November 25, 2020

Set on the fringes of Hyde Park, both 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester offer unparalleled access to this grand royal estate. From boating on the Serpentine to beautiful art galleries, here’s how to make the most of London’s green heart.

Serpentine lake

The defining feature of Hyde Park, the Serpentine lake slices right through the centre of the greenery. In summer, people take to the water in pedalos or rowing boats and soak up the sun on its wide tree-lined banks, while on crisp winter days it’s a lovely place to enjoy a long, leisurely walk. Swimming is also permitted in the lido and paddling pool from May-September, and on Christmas Day the Serpentine Swimming Club – the oldest swimming club in Britain – brave the freezing water for their famous festive race.

Hyde Park London Serpentine
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery extension by Zaha Hadid

Serpentine Galleries

Two separate sites situated on either side of the Serpentine, the Serpentine Galleries are located in two wonderfully different structures, just five minutes’ walk from each other. The Serpentine Gallery is set in a Grade II-listed former tea pavilion and was opened to the public as a museum back in 1970. Dedicated to emerging and established contemporary art, it has showcased blockbuster artists like Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, and is also the body behind the annual Pavilion architecture commission, which sees a new temporary building pop up on the gallery lawn each summer.

Opened in 2013, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery is best known for the sweeping curves of the Zaha Hadid-designed extension to the 200-year-old gunpowder store – which makes up the rest of the museum building. Also dedicated to contemporary art, the Sackler gallery complements its rotating exhibitions with a great programme of events and talks, alongside a café and the Serpentine shop.

Where to eat and drink 

Set overlooking the leafy grounds of Hyde Park, there are few finer places to enjoy a meal than CUT at 45 Park Lane. Take a seat by the window to soak up the greenery and dine on a menu of fresh seasonal produce and fine Wagyu beef. Within the park itself, there are plenty of places to eat and drink, alongside several kiosks selling everything from ice cream to barista style coffee. Head to The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen on the eastern edge of the Serpentine for tranquil lakeside dining, classic British fare and wood-fired pizza. The Serpentine Lido Café is particularly popular during the summer months due to its large al fresco dining area, but it’s an equally atmospheric spot in the depths of winter, where you can warm up with a hot drink by the water.

Hyde Park Ice Cream
CUTOut at 45 Park Lane - fish dish - portrait
Hyde Park Ice Cream
Aerial view of the Princess Diana memorial in Hyde Park-shutterstock 661651975 London UK
Statue of Achilles in Hyde Park London UK-shutterstock 182138195

Statues and memorials

Hyde Park has an enormous number of statues, fountains and memorials, so it pays to do a little pre-planning. One of the park’s most famous memorials is the fountain dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales. A striking contemporary piece fashioned from Cornish granite, the cascading water offers the perfect soundtrack for a moment of quiet contemplation. The 7 July Memorial is another of the park’s most poignant pieces, honouring the victims of the 2005 London bombings. Visitors can wander through the 52 stainless steel pillars, reading the moving inscriptions on each. Of the many statues spread across the park, the statue of Achilles is probably the most famous. The towering bronze was the first statue to be installed in the park in 1822, and commemorates the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. 

Statue of Achilles in Hyde Park London UK-shutterstock 182138195

Kensington Palace

Located at western end of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens was originally part of the park, forming King Henry VIII’s enormous hunting grounds. One of London’s most important royal residences, Kensington Palace is the official home of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family, and is where Queen Victoria spent her childhood. There’s plenty to explore both inside the palace and in the gorgeous grounds, from the State Apartments and the King’s Gallery to the romantic Sunken Garden and manicured Formal Gardens.

Exterior of Kensington Palace in Hyde Park London-shutterstock 689448691
Beautiful path in the Hyde park in London with a Shard skyscraper on the horizon-shutterstock 568702429
Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park London UK-shutterstock 81248977

Getting active

From boating on the lake to running routes and horse-riding trails, Hyde Park provides plenty of active pursuits. The park has two specialist stables on North Carriage Drive and South Carriage Drive, with riding routes taking you around Serpentine lake and along Rotten Row. The Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre offers six pristine tennis courts, as well as a putting green and team sports facilities, while those who prefer to get out on the water can rent a rowing boat or pedalo during the summer months. 

Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park London UK-shutterstock 81248977

Explore London’s most magnificent park when you stay at 45 Park Lane or The Dorchester. Whether you want to start your day with a morning run, or simply want to wander around the Serpentine, Hyde Park is quite literally on your doorstep.

More like this

Collect issue 27

Collect Magazine

View the latest issue of Collect, our bi-annual magazine featuring a curated mix of culture, art and lifestyle, together with the latest news from Dorchester Collection hotels.

Discover more