Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How much to rent London Hyde Park's deckchairs - you didn't think that it's free, did you?

I first saw the deckchairs at Hyde Park a couple of summers back. I hesitated plonking myself on one simply because I wasn't sure whether I had to pay for it and to whom if I had to. There wasn't any signs and there was certainly no attendant as far as I could see.


I did eventually settle on one and after spending a blissful fifteen minutes on it in the warm English summer (we don't get many of that here), a chap with a metal box strapped to his waist came up to me.

'That'll be £2, Sir'.

Till this day, I have not the faintest idea why I handed over a two quid coin so readily. Then again, you don't argue with someone with a metal box strapped on his belly. I realized later from a receipt that I got in return for the two quid that I am entitled to spend the next four hours on the deck chair. Not a bad deal really.

It started drizzling twenty minutes later.

I stubbornly persisted. But the dour English weather got the better of me as the raindrops got larger and it's frequency increased after awhile. I headed for the nearest shelter. For those who are familiar with Hyde Park, that pretty much means getting out of the park altogether.

But... but, why should I pay?

The charges for deck chairs must be an issue of contention for I've witness quite a number of incidents where some people were unwilling to pay and yet refused to vacate the chairs as well.

'But I'm a tourist!' protested a guy. He was with a lady friend and he sure wasn't backing down from the man with the metal box without kicking up a fuss. Others simply sat on the grass beside the deck chair until the attendant is out of sight before settling comfortably back onto the deck chairs again with a smug smile.


I was at Hyde Park just the other day. Lo and behold, there's now a sign with all charges prominently installed on a patch of grass surrounded deck chairs, all opened up and ready for business. There's a leap in the price of deckchair rental though: instead of four hours for £2, it's now 3 hours for £4, an increase of almost 200%!

Well, instead of the familiar striped designed deckchairs, you now get some really tacky designs. Other than polka dots, there are even some with dubious looking Japanese calligraphy printed on them.

Would the sign make the job of the man with the metal box any easier? Well, that remains to be seen. That said, if you had paid for the full three hours and had to leave halfway, why not just leave your receipt on the chair for the next guy that comes round? No point wasting it really.

Have you tried one of those deckchairs before? If so, where was it and how was the experience? For more on what to do in London, check out 1000 things to do in London.

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William K Wallace said...

I have never hired a deck chair, anytime I go to the park I take my travel rug with me and a couple of cushions and that is perfect for me.

£1.50 for an hour seems a fair price...

C K said...

Having paid just £2 for four hours makes £1.50 per hour seems dear.

That's quite a full load to carry for an outing isn't it? I can't imagine myself dragging the whole lot if it start drizzling.

Which is your favourite park? Mine's definitely Hyde Park. Love the space!

Lady Banana said...

I can't sit still long enough to make any charge worthwhile. I always find a bench!

I wonder how many season tickets they sell! lol

William k Wallace said...

My personal favourte park is Greenwich Park, I just love all the trees and the amazing views.

C K said...

@Lady Banana,
Ah... you'll be surpised how many people spend a whole day in the park... Then again, the thing about deckchairs is that you could jolly well set it up anywhere in the park. Benches are somewhat restricted to along paths, which can be rather discomforting if the traffic is high, isn't it?

You did mention this before, didn't you? Fully agreed, the views up Greenwich Park is superb and not even the one at Primrose Hill can beat. If only if it's less crowded.

Eyes Wide Digital said...

We created all those tacky deckchairs for the Royal Parks, you can have your own tacky one made up too

Unfortunately it seems like you have to pay for almost anything in London!