Hyde Park is one of London's most exclusive residential areas and boasts some of its best homes, restaurants and shops, particularly around the chic enclave at Connaught Village. This part of London was relatively undeveloped during the city's huge growth period in the 18th century, largely because of its close association with the nearby Tyburn Gallows. At this time it was primarily farmland.
However, as soon as the gallows disappeared the developers came in and Connaught Square was the first large development. Almost immediately, successful merchants and the city's creative elite rushed to claim the area – still called Tyburnia – as their own and demand rapidly exceeded supply in the property market. This situation is still evident in W2 today.
Some of the most architecturally important areas of Georgian architecture and town planning are evident in Hyde Park and these have been carefully maintained and renovated over time. Connaught Village is in the heart of Hyde Park and is greatly sought after for its properties.
The area has had a number of famous residents, including members of the extended Royal Family and former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who is reported to have paid £3.6 million for his home on Connaught Square in 2004.
The Hyde Park Estate is bordered by Sussex Gardens (north), Edgware Road (east), Bayswater Road (south) and Lancaster Gate (west). The area retains a strong feel of period character and charm despite the heavy bombing it sustained in WW2, which destroyed a number of landmark properties. Its visual features include a number of crescents and squares, stucco finishes and colonnades and the architecture is stately and stylish.
The standard of living in the area is exceptionally high, thanks to excellent transport links. The A40 runs to the edge of Connaught Village and the Marble Arch, Edgware Road, Paddington and Lancaster Gate tube stations are within the area. For families seeking to move into the area, there are a number of excellent independent and public schools as well as a riding school at Hyde Park Stables. There are excellent shopping facilities and quite a number of art galleries and interior design studios. London's theatre district and the West End are nearby and Hyde Park residents are perfectly placed to take advantage of both.
When it comes to local events, one of the favourites is the annual Horseman's Sunday, which sees up to one hundred horses and their riders meet at St John's Church in Hyde Park to take part in a service that includes blessings for the horses.