(Click above to listen to the podcast. See below for information and pictures.)
This London – Hyde Park and Knightsbridge post, podcast and walking tour with maps has it all….from the Wellington Arch through Hyde Park, past three of the world’s greatest museums (that are free to visit), and ending at Harrods – possibly the world’s greatest department store! It is the third of three podcasts featuring London in my One Perfect Day in Travel podcast series. See the bottom of this post for links to my other London podcasts and for a link to a one-day London itinerary.
The letters beside each of the 11 highlights described below correspond to the letters on the screenshots of the maps. These maps are also interactive on the website www.walkli.com. (For now, Walkli is a desktop application, but it will be available as a mobile application soon. Find this tour by searching for “London” on Walkli and then look for the Hyde Park and Knightsbridge tour.)
London Highlights Podcast– Hyde Park/Knightsbridge Area Things to See and Do
1-A- Wellington Arch
A nice walk through Hyde Park and the Knightsbridge area of London could begin at the Hyde Park Corner tube station just across from Hyde Park. Take a minute to admire the huge stone Wellington Arch in the middle of the small circular park at Duke of Wellington Place and Grosvenor Place. The arch was originally built as an entry way to Buckingham Palace. Later it was commemorated as a memorial to honor the Duke of Wellington after committees were formed to determine how to honor two war heroes of the early 1800’s, Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. (Lord Nelson was honored with Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.) An equestrian statue was added to the top of the arch here to honor the Duke of Wellington. The equestrian statue was removed and replaced by the current four-horse chariot after the arch was moved to its current location in the late 1800’s.
Learn more about the Wellington Arch, including how you can visit the inside and/or climb to the top for a view over Hyde Park, here:
2-B-Hyde Park Bandstand
Walk across S. Carriage Drive to the large Hyde Park across the street. Walk down the center pathway of the park toward the lake and take a right (just before the public toilets on your left) to take the circular path around the Hyde Park Bandstand. Concerts have been held at the bandstand, constructed in 1869, since it was first moved here from Kensington Gardens in the late 1800’s. Its octagonal roof helps produce fine acoustics.
Read more about the Hyde Park Bandstand here:
Circle back to the main path and keep moving toward the 40-acre man-made lake in the center of Hyde Park, named The Serpentine. At the lake, turn left. (The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen is located here at the lake just as you turn to the left.) Rowboats are available to rent on the lake. There is a swimming area near the center of the long oval-shaped lake, and in the summer ferries take passengers from one end of the lake to the other. The 2012 Summer Olympics triathlon and marathon swimming events took place here. As you walk with the lake on the right, look for the Serpentine Waterfall on your left at this end of the lake flowing from water coming over the dam that created the lake.
4-D-Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
Continue to walk with the lake on your right, passing the Lido swimming area and the Lido Bar and Cafe until you come to the Diana Memorial Fountain. There are three bridges where you can cross the fountain. Visitors are asked not to walk on the memorial.
Read more about the Diana Memorial Fountain at the official website here:
Turn to the left after you cross over W. Carriage Drive and you will see the Serpentine Gallery on your right. It is housed in a former tea pavilion. This free art gallery is one of two art galleries in Hyde Park. Both are free to visit and have rotating exhibits. The Serpentine Gallery on this side of the lake has a permanent work at the entrance dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales. It has hosted works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, and Jeff Koons, among other notable artists. The other art gallery, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, opened in 2013. It is located just on the other side of the bridge that crosses the lake in a former gunpowder store. The Magazine restaurant is also housed in this building.
Learn more about both Serpentine galleries at their official website:
6-F-Prince Albert Memorial
This memorial honors Prince Albert, the beloved husband of Queen Victoria. Prince Albert died of typhoid at the age of 42. Look for the painters, poets, musicians, and architects in the frieze, commemorating Prince Albert’s love of the arts.
Read more about the memorial and/or book a guided tour at the official website here:
7-G-Royal Albert Hall
If you look away from the park and the lake and toward the road, you can now see Royal Albert Hall across Kensington Road. Walk toward the road, crossing at Queen’s Gate, and turn left so you can stand directly in front of the large round terracotta building. The building is now a concert hall that holds over 5,000 people, but it was originally built to fulfill the vision of Prince Albert to raise awareness of Arts and Sciences. Queen Victoria herself opened the hall in 1871.
Read more about Royal Albert Hall and/or purchase tickets for upcoming concerts at the official website here:
Keep walking past Royal Albert Hall until you come to the corner of Kensington Road and Exhibition Road. Turn right here and walk two blocks to the Science Museum on your right.
This museum is the first of three major museums in this area. Exhibits here focus on energy, space, flight, medicine, and the history of the industrial revolution. There are a number of interactive exhibits. Over three million visitors, including many school groups, visit the museum each year. The museum is free, except for movies at the Imax theatre, some special exhibitions, and flight simulators. It is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.
Check out the current exhibitions, screenings, and book tickets for special exhibitions at this website:
9-I-Natural History Museum
From the Science Museum, keep walking on Exhibition Road to the corner of Cromwell Road and the Natural History Museum will be on your right. Exhibits in the museum include Dinosaurs, a Wildlife Garden with butterflies, Mammals, Fossils and Minerals. The museum includes specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is free, except for some special exhibitions. It is open from 10 am to 5:50 pm daily.
Check out the current exhibitions and book tickets for special exhibitions with an online discount at the official website:
10-J-Victoria and Albert Museum
Just to your left, on the other side of Exhibition Road facing Cromwell Road is the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design. The foundation stone was laid by Queen Victoria in 1899. It houses much of the United Kingdom’s national collection of furniture, fashion, painting, sculpture, and textiles. The large Chihuly glass hanging in the lobby is not to be missed, as are the full-scale Raphael paintings that form the basis of the Raphael tapestries that hang in the Vatican Museum just before entering the Sistine Chapel. The museum is free, except for some special exhibitions and events. It is open from 10:00 am until 5:45 pm daily, except on Friday when it is open until 10:00 pm.
For current exhibitions and up-to-date information, check the official website here:
If you exit the Victoria and Albert Museum and turn left on Cromwell Road. Keep walking when the road changes names to Thurloe Place and Brompton Road. The famous Harrods Department Store will be on your right at the intersection of Hans Road and Brompton Road. Many consider shopping at Harrods to be the essential London shopping experience. Harrod’s has over 300 departments and 32 restaurants. Do not miss the food hall to see the cheeses, meats, chocolates, and pastries. At the Harrods shop, there are a number of items with the Harrods logo, as well as souvenirs. Harrods is open 10 am until 9 am Monday through Saturday and 11:30 am until 6 pm on Sunday.
Check the latest Harrods information at the official website here:
For my podcast with walking tour, pictures, show notes and maps of a Westminster area walk, go to One Perfect Day in Travel podcast 11 or click here:
For a podcast with a discussion of London travel in general, go to One Perfect Day in Travel podcast 10 or click here:
For a one-day itinerary with walking directions and discount links, check out the London menu tab of this website here:
Amazon Page for Dr. Loe’s book, One Perfect Trip to London
($8.99 Paperback, $5.99 Kindle)
Check out Dr. Loe’s Amazon author page for other paperbacks and Kindle books at:
One Perfect Trip to Washington, D.C. 2017 (Kindle book and Amazon paperback)
One Perfect Day in Copenhagen (Kindle book and iBook)
One Perfect Day in Fort Lauderdale (Kindle book and iBook)
One Perfect Day in Nashville (Kindle book and iBook)
One Perfect Day in Disney World: Epcot 2017 (Kindle book, iBook, and Amazon paperback)
One Perfect Day in Disney World: Magic Kingdom 2017 (Kindle book, iBook, and Amazon paperback)
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