Created in 1730 as part of the general redevelopment of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for Queen Caroline, wife of George II, and involved constructing a dam on the River Westbourne and the loss of several natural ponds. The park was later redesigned by Decimus Burton in the 1820s and John Rennie built the Serpentine Bridge in 1826 thus formally dividing the lake into the Serpentine (eastwards) and the Long Water (westwards).
In 1816 the pregnant wife of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Harriet Westbrook, committed suicide here by drowning. Immediately below the dam a secluded garden contains London's Holocaust Memorial.
There are rowing boats for hire on the north bank, and swimming is available during summer months at The Lido on the southern bank.
Hyde Park: 5am until midnight
Telephone: 0207 298 2100
Address: Hyde Park, W2 2UH
Website: Royal Parks
Hyde Park Corner Station
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