Hyde Park is the city's central open green space and it was named after the Hyde Park in London, however, its origins are somewhat different. Originally the Park was a racecourse and sporting ground playing host to all manners of competition. Today the only reminder of its early 19th century competitive heritage is the huge playable chess set that features on the western side of the Park.
The tranquil setting is popular among office workers who want some fresh air, a quick siesta or some time out from the concrete jungle. The central pathway through the park is an impressive, tiled, fig lined road linking two of the parks other features, the Archibald Fountain and the War Memorial.
The War Memorial is a 1934 art deco tribute to the Anzac soldiers who fell in the first world war. The memorial stands 30 metres above the pool of rememberance and there is a photograph exhibition underneath the building.
Over the summer months the Park is a hive of activity, particualrly during the Festival of Sydney when there is plenty of free entertainment.
Admission to the Park and War Memorial is free.
St James and Museum railway stations are both on the Parks boundary. The best Sydney Explorer stop to alight at is stop number 15.