Acquired from the monks of Westminster Abbey by Henry VIII in 1536, it was Charles I who opened the park to the general public in 1637. At over 350 acres, Hyde Park is one of central London’s largest green spaces, and the biggest of the stunning chain of four Royal Parks, including St James’s Park and Green Park, that provide an awe inspiring walk through many of London’s famous sights.
Teaming with dogs, for Londoners the park is part of their everyday lives; from a game of tennis, to an open air concert, it is at the heart of London life and is dog walker central for some of Capital’s most pampered pooches, lucky enough to call this their daily walk. Leave more than an hour or two to fully explore, or rent a deck chair and you’ll be all set for a fantastic paw and people watching session.
Dogs can run free here, with the vast majority of the park available for pooches to explore off the lead. A couple of small areas where dogs are not allowed, such as the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, are clearly marked, as is the Rose Garden, and path skirting the banks of The Serpentine where pups are politely asked to stay on their lead to avoid any ‘swany’ situations. Unusually for a London park, there are large open sways, and towards the north, meadow environments filled with long grasses and wild flowers that dogs adore – one of All Four Paws’ spaniel Rigby’s favourite rolling grounds by far!
Both the Lido Bar & Cafe and Serpentine Bar & Kitchen are worth a stop. With water bowls filled at the ready for thirsty dogs post play, and tantalising treats such as specialty pizzas and British classics on offer, grab a table outside, refuel and relish the stunning surrounds. Visiting at sunset? Enjoy a drink at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen as you watch the sun go down across the water. There are also a plethora of refreshment stands throughout the park.
With many a statue to grab the eye, and skirted by some of London’s most famous streets (including Park Lane to the East), have the camera at the ready; they’ll be many a paw-to-hand selfie worth capturing! Keep an eye out for The Animals in War Memorial, located just outside Hyde Park near Brook Gate.
Strolling west past The Serpentine and across West Carriage Drive, you will find yourself in dog-friendly Kensington Gardens – commonly mistaken for Hyde Park. With 256 acres of greenery, these gardens are more than worth a paw stop. With a more intimate tree and flower spotted environment than the wider open spaces of majestic Hyde Park, these gardens are charming and include many of these two adjoining parks’ most famous sites, such as The Albert Memorial – and let’s not forget HRH Lupo’s home, Kensington Palace.
As with Hyde Park, dogs can roam lead free across almost all the gardens, with those areas (such as the Palace) where dogs are not permitted clearly signed. The Round Pond, which lies in front of the Palace, has a circumferential pathway where pups are asked to stay on a lead to prevent any geese-clearing exploits. Stay on the outer path around the pond if you’re keen to let fido burn off some more energy.
Don’t let your dog miss the Tiffany & Co Foundation drinking fountain on The Broad Walk. Cleverly designed, as you press for water at the top, the doggy drinking area is also filled below – pawtastic!
Be sure to walk to the Physical Energy Statue, where you will gaze down a tree-lined walkway to the magnificent Royal Albert Hall – a perfect selfie spot, while to the left you will gaze across a rolling green to The Arch, by Henry Moore.
There are handy refreshment points in the Gardens but for a full meal with fido, Hyde Park offers more choice.
Toilets for humans and doggy bins are dotted around the parks, so you shouldn’t have to look far to find them.
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens lie just to the west of Mayfair in Central London, starting at Park Lane to the East, and running to Kensington Palace, off High Street Kensington, to the West. The parks run from Bayswater to Kensington from north to south.
Right at the heart of bustling London you are spoilt for choice for dog-friendly hotels and restaurants to try together. For inspiration see our dog-friendly London destination page.
For dog-friendly venues in the area, check out our ‘Also in the Neighbourhood’ recommendations below.
Address: Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, London, W2 2UH
Should you be driving, limited pay and display parking is available on West Carriage Drive as well as in the car parks at either side of the Serpentine Bridge. You will also find pay and display bays around many of the roads off the main tributaries skirting the park, with easier to find spots around Kensington Gardens to the north and south.
You are spoilt for choice for tube options, depending which end of the parks you would like to join from. For Hyde Park, use Lancaster Gate or Marble Arch, both found on the Central Line; or Hyde Park Corner or Knightsbridge, which are on the Piccadilly Line. For Kensington Gardens use Lancaster Gate or Queensway on the Central Line, or Bayswater or High Street Kensington, on both the Circle and District Lines.
Many buses pass along the north, east and south edges of the parks. To find you best route use Transport For London’s route planner.
One of Rigby’s favourite walking spots, his tail can’t not stop wagging as we go through the gates. He’ll be pawing his review of these sniffing spots soon.
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