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Hyde Park: sport, family activities and special events in one of central London's Royal Parks.

Updated on April 8, 2011

Hyde Park is one of the glorious Royal Parks in London.

As a family, we spend quite a lot of time here, usually cycling from our home in Bloomsbury to the Park, and then cycling around getting off to play in the playground, walk or just sit on the grass and chill.

We’ve also several times hired boats on the Serpentine, which is great fun.

Together with its neighbouring parks, Kensington Gardens and St. James' Park, Hyde Park's 350 acres provide greenery, sports facilities, plants, trees, flowers, birds and space for Londoners and visitors to London.

Because there is a great deal of space, there’s an awful lot of room to do all the different things that people enjoy doing in Hyde Park.

And most of the activities and areas are free to enter, so it's a family outing that won't break the bank.

Boats on the Serpentine, Hyde Park. Copyright Loz Flowers @ Flickr
Boats on the Serpentine, Hyde Park. Copyright Loz Flowers @ Flickr

Sports and activities in Hyde Park

Sport is an important part of Hyde Park.

Cycling, rollerblading and skateboarding are allowed on all the roads in the Park, and there are also designed cycle tracks throughout it.

Walking and running is common as well in the Park.

Field sports are played in the south area of the Park, between Rotton Row and South Carriage Drive.

Games of football, rugby, cricket and rounders are all commonly played here, and access is entirely free.

The Serpentine Lido has a paddling pool next to it, and it’s open to both adults and children.

There is also a café there for when you’ve finished swimming.

There is a specific Sports Centre, the Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre at the western edge of the sports field, where South Carriage Drive and West Carriage Drive meet each other.

There are six tennis courts here, and changing rooms. There are also six bowling greens available, and these can be booked and hired.

There is a putting course for those who want to practice their golf.

Horse riding is allowed and encouraged in Hyde Park in the Manege area, near the children’s playground, and is also allowed on the North Ryde and South Ryde.

There are two stables nearby, and the police and Household Cavalry also exercise their horses here.

The Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre can be contacted by phone on 0207 262 3474 and they give information on bookings and also on opening hours.

Brigg Stables are available on 0207 723 2813, and Nye Stables on 0207 262 3791.

The Serpentine has boats which anyone can hire, either peddle boats or canoes and rowing boats.

For disabled people, there are free electric buggies which can take wheelchairs.

They tour around the Park, on the roads, allowing people to see it.

Passengers can get off one electric buggy to enjoy a particular part of the Park and be collected later.

Children, families and swans next to the Serpentine, Hyde Park. Copyright Frank Wales @ Flickr
Children, families and swans next to the Serpentine, Hyde Park. Copyright Frank Wales @ Flickr

Children's facilities in Hyde Park

Hyde Park has a children’s playground. It's very good, with soft safety outdoor mats under slides and swings, and a great variety of activities suitable for different ages.

There is also the Lookout, a former police post which has now been turned into an education and play centre for children, with information about nature and wildlife.

Entry is free, and the standard of the exhibits and staff is very high indeed There are also public toilets.

Cartoon from Punch, 1851, headed “Dinner Time at the Crystal Palace” and the statue says “One touch of nature makes the whole world King”.
Cartoon from Punch, 1851, headed “Dinner Time at the Crystal Palace” and the statue says “One touch of nature makes the whole world King”.

Special events, concerts, and occasions in Hyde Park

Events have been held in Hyde Park for a considerable time.

In 1851, the Great Exhibition was set up in Hyde Park.

It was housed in a vast building made of iron and glass known as the Crystal Palace.

After the Great Exhibition finished, in 1852, the building was dismantled and rebuilt piece by piece in south-east London.

Although the Crystal Palace burnt down in 1936, the area of London where it was reinstalled is known as Crystal Palace to this day.

Live 8 was held in Hyde Park in 2008, and a list of forthcoming celebrations can be found in the link to the right of this page.

Many of the events are free, others such as concerts by Blur and Bruce Springsteen have to be paid for.

As well as concerts and events, the Park runs free guided walk tours, with specific focuses such as plants, bats, birds or statues, which are fantastic and the guides really know their stuff.

Mass running events are common such as the London Marathon and the Race for Life.

If you'd like to know more about Hyde Park, there is an article here about the history, layout, buildings and wildlife, and information about the statues and war memorials in and around the park.

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    • profile image

      dawn 

      7 years ago

      cool

    • profile image

      Panic Attack Cure 

      9 years ago

      Hyde Park seems like such a great place to make some family memories... I plan on being in London soon and will definitely make it part of the itinerary...

    • Gin Delloway profile image

      Gin Delloway 

      9 years ago

      I've never been to London and Hyde Park in particular, but after reading this hub I have a great desire to visit this place of London! Thanks!

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      Thanks Tom - better get my arse into gear on Kensington, then!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      You certainly write a lovely article. Looking forward to Kensington Garden.

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      JG, my hub on Kensington Garden is already half-written!

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      It's a great place, get your arse back over there and re-discover it (-:

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I *love* Hyde Park (sigh)...and Kensington Gardens...and St James's Park...and the Green Park. Oh fine, I love them all! ;D If there's one thing London does better than most cities, it's parks.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      9 years ago from London UK

      London girl, Its been so long that Ive been to Hyde Park and have forgotten how much fun it is!!

      Ill be at Hydepark and holland park which is my favorite park, and Clapham Common by the Windmill pub..

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