Break away from sightseeing and check out these family activities in Hyde Park. Easily within reach from the busy shopping streets and attractions of central London, there is plenty of space for everyone to find their own little green spot and wind down.
5 family activities in Hyde Park
- The Diana Fountain great place to dip the feet during hot summer days
- Boating on The Serpentine lake in the spring and summer months
- Speakers’ Corner, the most famous speakers’ corner on the planet (see below)
- Lido and paddling pool for kids during the summer months
- The South Carriage Drive Playground offering children adventurous play space
The Diana Memorial Fountain
Not to be confused with the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, the Diana Fountain was not intended as a children’s paddling pool, but during hot summer days, it’s very tempting to dip the feet in and cool down. It’s a tranquil and relaxing place to come late in the afternoon when most of the daytrippers have left and it’s quieter. One of our favourite family activities in Hyde Park!
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?? The Diana Memorial Fountain: A fitting tribute? ?? ~ ~ The memorial fountain shaped like a ring of flowing water divided opinion when it was opened back in 2004 with critics saying it didn’t justify her memory, being too plain and lacking grandeur. ~ We visited the fountain a few times, the last time just as autumn started and the water was getting cold, with little brother only dipping his feet in for a few minutes. This was late in the afternoon, the sun laying low, children playing and there was a quiet, relaxed vibe about the place. ~ Children enjoy to walk in the water and watch the forms it takes flowing through different textures carved out in granite. Personally, I love the fact that the fountain is so simple, standing in contrast to all the pompous traditional memorials. For me this is how a memorial should be; alive and interactive, inclusive and open for everyone – all qualities that Diana stood for. ~ ~ Have you visited the Diana Memorial Fountain? Did you like it?
Events in Hyde Park
If you are looking for some fun and educational activities for your kids during the half-term, you might want to check out the Hyde Park Education Centre. They offer free Discovery Days, where you can join the friendly staff and learn about the wildlife that lives in the park. You can also take part in fun activities such as pond dipping, bug hunting, bird watching and nature crafts. Discovery Days are suitable for children aged 3 to 12, and you don’t need to book in advance. Just drop in and enjoy some fresh air and nature in the heart of London.
The park is also famous for hosting major concerts like BST Hyde Park, BBC Radio 2 Live Hyde Park and BBC Proms in the Park. London tourists looking for something more peaceful should check out the beautiful Rose Garden and the wildlife of the meadow.
Speakers’ Corner – Climb Up on Your Soapbox
When visiting London, Speakers’ Corner is a destination you cannot miss. It is a part of Hyde Park near Marble Arch, which has been set aside for people to speak their mind, and exercise their right of free speech. This makes for a unique experience for anyone listening; it is unscripted and freewheeling street theatre. Topics usually are those intended to provoke intense debate, such as religion, politics, and current events.
Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park has its roots in the 1850s when workers were protesting and assembling in groups in Hyde Park. There was a push for the protection of the right to speak, and in 1872, the Parks Regulation Act did that. The free assembly has seen many famous people speaking, such as Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, George Orwell, and William Morris.
These days, you are more likely to see people standing on stepladders instead of soapboxes, but the same spirit of grassroots democracy lingers on. There are regulars who come to speak or listen frequently and tourists who are just passing through, each are equally welcome to tell their tale or comment on that of another.
It is a totally open and classless forum; your presence is the only admission ticket you need. However, if you do choose to participate, be forewarned and perhaps thick-skinned, as hecklers abound and what may start out as a civilized discussion can quickly devolve into a loud and fierce debate.
Some of the speakers may seem bizarre or even mentally imbalanced, their obsessions having taken over their better judgment. Obviously this street theatre attracts the extremists, but that’s not all there is to see. Many people consider this to be one of the best places to take the pulse of public opinion and feel that it is a window on the mood of the population, albeit a small sample.
For an authentic taste of London, this bastion of British free public speech is unsurpassed. As a family activity in Hyde Park, its probably more interesting for teenagers and older children. The best time to visit is on Sundays.