Cyclists have always enjoyed a somewhat turbulent relationship with the Royal Parks of London, with many cycling enthusiasts eager to take advantage of the stunning beauty spots but frequently finding themselves limited in where they can go.
Cycling in Hyde Park isn’t nearly so complicated, however, as the park is extremely welcoming to any cyclists wishing to visit. With several cycling routes taking you through Hyde Park, whether you’re passing through as part of your regular commute, or visiting for a day out, there’s a lot to entice you in, and many reasons to stay. And as shortcuts through London go, it doesn’t get more picturesque than Hyde Park.
With The Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain located within Hyde Park, as well as other prominent attractions such as the Serpentine Gallery, there are a lot of wonderful features to enjoy. It’s a particularly good spot for families and children to enjoy, and for tourists, it’s well situated in close proximity to some excellent places to stay, such as the Holiday Inn’s London Mayfair hotel. The park itself is well suited to cycling, with Cycle Hire Docking stations situated all around the park.
Here is some essential information for anyone cycling in Hyde Park (open daily from 5:00am to midnight).
Getting to Hyde Park
Situated in the heart of London, Hyde Park is extremely accessible via public transport, or to anyone commuting through the city by bicycle. Due to the ease of access via public transport, parking is limited, and it’s highly recommended that you take advantage of alternative means of transportation, other than coming by car.
There are several Santander Cycles docking stations (Boris Bikes as they are affectionately known), in the immediate vicinity of Hyde Park. Soho Square is the closest on the east, while Santander Cycle Dock on Thurloe Street lies to the south. To the west, you’ll find Santander Cycles on Abbotsbury Road. If you’re looking for the nearest Boris Bikes docking station to you, check out the handy London docking station finder.
The perfect way to cycle in Hyde Park
If you’re looking for the ideal family ride through Hyde Park, or an interesting route to take for a change on more regular visits, there are several excellent routes you can take. One particularly enjoyable ride begins at the Serpentine Bridge and allows you to take full advantage of the surprising amount of green and open space within Hyde Park. Once you’ve crossed the bridge you will forget you’re in the nation’s capital, but as you continue along this route you will be able to enjoy several excellent views of some of London’s most famous landmarks.
To the south of the Serpentine Bridge is West Carriage Drive’s car park. Approaching from the north via the A402 (Bayswater Road), or from the south via the A315 (Kensington Road), simply cross the road to the Serpentine Gallery, and join with the cycle track along the pavement, to the western side of the road (West Carriage Drive). Take a moment to admire the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, which is to your right, before the trail drops down over the Serpentine Bridge. Just across the bridge the cycle path on the road ends and resumes along the pavement.
When you reach Victoria Gate, continue across the road before following the cycle path through a traffic-free stretch of road to The Ring. When you reach the Marble Arch and Cumberland Gate, keep an eye out for a cycle route signpost for the Chelsea Bridge. When you see it, cross over the road and rejoin the cycle path along Broad Walk. This area often sees crowds of pedestrians, so you may need to slow down around Speakers’ Corner. Head south down Broad Walk and enjoy the pleasantly wide boulevard, lined with trees.
When you approach the Queen Elizabeth Gate on Hyde Park Corner, you will see signs for Rotten Row and West Carriage Drive. Leaving through this gate will take you to The Wilton Arms. If you continue along Rotten Row, stay to the left side, as it’s a fairly narrow area and you’ll likely encounter both rollerbladers and pedestrians. When you reach West Carriage Drive, cross at the traffic lights and rejoin the cycle track to the west, taking you before the Serpentine Gallery and back to where you started.
If you’re looking for a longer ride and a few more of the sights, you can extend the route by making a foray across the exceptional cycling track at Constitution Hill, which will afford you a spectacular view of Buckingham Palace. Alternatively, head west and discover Kensington Gardens. If you’re at all unsure about where you’re permitted, there are clear cycling signs posted at all park entrances.
Allow at least an hour for this ride (longer if you intend to extend it). The basic circular route is about 2.5 miles (or 4km). It’s an easy ride, and the facilities at the park are excellent, with public toilets available, and the London Bicycle Tour Company located on Gabriel’s Wharf offering bicycles for hire if you haven’t brought your own. If you’re looking for a little refreshment, The Wilton Arms pub is close by and excellent. Do keep an eye out for pedestrians, however, and particularly for rollerbladers, who have a habit of coming out of nowhere!
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