Bordered by Mayfair, Bayswater, and Kensington, these two conjoined areas are the largest park in the middle of the city. Hyde Park is home to a meandering lake called the Serpentine, the famous Speakers’ Corner, and the Diana Fountain. The most famous promenade is Rotten Row, probably a corruption of “Route de Roi,” or King’s Way, which was laid out by William III as his private road to town; it runs along the southern edge of the park from Hyde Park Corner. Kensington Gardens, which flows seamlessly from Hyde Park, only opened to plebes like us in 1851, and it hasn’t yet shed its country-manor quality. You’ll also find the Serpentine Gallery (west of W. Carriage Dr. and north of Alexandra Gate; www.serpentinegallery.org; [tel] 020/7402-6075; free admission; Tues– Sun 10am–6pm; Tube: South Kensington), a popular venue for its modern art exhibitions and an art bookshop. Each summer (mid-June–Oct), a leading architect creates a fanciful pavilion there. Volunteers sometimes run guided tours of the park’s quirks; check the bulletin boards at each park entrance to see if one is upcoming. Borrow a Boris Bike and cruise around this giant green playground, and don’t forget to look for Sir George Frampton’s marvelous bronze statue of Peter Pan (1912) near the west shore of the Long Water.
Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
Hyde Park, W2
Our Rating Hours Daily 5am– midnight Transportation Tube: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, or Lancaster Gate Phone 0300/061-2000 Prices Free admission Web site Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
MapHyde Park, W2 London
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.