Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

London has eight royal parks and I’m lucky enough to work near one of the finest of these, Hyde Park. This green swathe of trees, meadows, flowerbeds and sports pitches is a calming and fascinating place to wander in, amidst an otherwise frenetic and heavily built-up city.

IMG_4361 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

IMG_5330 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

I visit the park whenever I can, dodging the early morning and evening commuter traffic on the underground or buses, or walking around its central lake, the Serpentine, at lunchtime. And with 350 acres to explore, each visit is different from the last.

IMG_4288 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

IMG_5099 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

IMG_4715 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

Hyde Park changes from day to day, and from one season to the next. I’ve watched Royal Gun Salutes, Lido swimmers and soapbox speakers, attended rock concerts, admired its statues and memorials, and often simply watched the world go by from under a shady tree, or from a park bench or grassy patch.

IMG_5351 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

IMG_5164 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

Like the city that surrounds it, the park has a long and interesting history. Acquired by Henry VIII from the monks of Westminster Abbey, it was used as a private hunting ground for a century before being opened up to the general public by James I in 1637.

Almost 400 years later it’s a great place to see Londoners and tourists enjoying time out. People walk, jog, cycle, ride horses and play football and tennis in the park. Others enjoy picnics, take pedaloes out on the lake or feed the ducks.

IMG_5008 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

IMG_5214 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

IMG_4855 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

There’s wildlife here, too. Geese, swans, herons and moorhens are frequent sightings. There are also inquisitive squirrels and insects buzzing around the vibrant flowerbeds.

IMG_4501 Hyde Park – London’s Green Heart

The next few months promise to be especially exciting, with lots of live music and the Olympics being broadcast on big screens, and I’ll be photographing as much of the action as I can. Over the next year I’m aiming to upload a photo every day during the working week, taken that day – whatever the weather, come rain or shine.

If you’d like to see more park photos or to follow the series as it develops then please do take a look at oneyearinhydepark.

Written by Duncan Mills

Duncan Mills is a journalist and editor with a passion for travel and photography, good food and the great outdoors. He’s visited more than sixty countries on six continents and was the deputy editor of Traveller magazine prior to joining the AB internal communications agency in 2013. He lives amid the scenic woodlands and rolling green hills of England’s South Downs National Park.


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  1. I was fortunate to have an apartment on Eaton Square just across the road from Hyde Park and had many memorable weekends and evenings relaxing and watching the world go by. Its an amazing place to visit and not mentioned in the article, at weekends the northern side of the park there ia a gigantic art display where artists can display their works. Not mentioned is the statue of the never grew up fella Peter Pan and on the south side is the famous Albert memorial put up by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband. Thanks for all those fab photographs!

    Ian Hargraves,
    New Smyrna Beach

  2. I had the chance to pass this park when we went to Buckingham palace last autumn 2008..hope to visit it again! love ur blog!

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