One of London’s eight Royal Parks, Hyde Park covers around 350 acres (1.42 km2) and is situated in Central London. Hyde Park was originally a private hunting ground and deer park created by Henry VIII, but was opened to the public in 1637 by King Charles I. The park is split by the Serpentine River and it holds Green Flag status for the cleanliness of the environment.
The park features a meadow area with a diversity of butterflies and native wild flowers. Trees, shrubs and herbaceous borders are home to song birds such as the robin and dunnocks. The Serpentine attracts many wildfowl species; recent sightings include a black swan and Egyptian geese.
The park includes various sites of interest, including Speakers’ Corner, on the site of the Tyburn gallows; and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
As well as walking, jogging and running, cycling, roller blading and skate boarding are all allowed on all roads and there are designated cycle paths. There are two designated horse riding routes and a specialist horse riding arena. The Serpentine Lido and paddling pool for children is open for swimming and paddling on weekends and Bank Holidays in May, and daily from June to September. The Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre provides facilities for tennis, lawn bowls and putting; and there is a sports field, as well as football pitches available for hire.
There are five London Underground tube stations on or near the edges of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens: Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge (both on the Piccadilly Line) and Queensway, Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch (all on the Central Line).