Hyde Park occupies 350 acres in central London. London is remarkable for its great expanses of parkland even in the city centre, and Hyde Park is a wonderful example of theses oases, remaining one of the largest green spaces in the city.
Wandering up from Knightsbridge, perhaps after visiting the Science Museum, V&A and Natural History Museum, you can follow the roads, or branch off sideways to enjoy the paths through trees, across lawns and around monuments.
Looking over the Serpentine in one direction all you can see is water and trees, while in the other skyscrapers, the London Eye and church towers, every side of London life. The Serpentine was built into the park when it was given to Queen Caroline. Later a lido (outside swimming pool) was added, which is open to the public June-September.
Other sights in the park include a fountain memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales, and a memorial to the victims of the 7th July London bombings. Back in 1851 it was the site of the Great Exhibition, and the original Crystal Palace building. It still boasts unusual artworks, installations and buildings, including the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.
As you cross the Serpentine you come to the Sackler Gallery. The newer gallery has won acclaim for its unusual design and is worth a visit in its own right. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am-6pm, these free galleries aim to bring the best of contemporary art and architecture to the public, building on London's reputation for free museums and galleries.
Over towards Marble Arch you find Speakers' Corner. Physically there is only a round café, but this historic corner of the park is worth stopping by. It's traditionally been a place where free speech and political debate has been allowed in public, and many famous orators including Karl Marx and George Orwell have spoken here.
The scenery is lovely all year round, but when these photographs were taken, the early evening autumnal glow made it look truly splendid.
Hyde Park provides a great reason why fewer people should travel on the stuffy, over-crowded Tube, but should walk those short distances across London which can provide such great escapes from the city hustle. If you have the time to wander around in a more relaxed fashion, you could easily spend the whole day making the most of everything on offer here. For more information see the Royal Parks website.