Service updates between Christmas and the new year

Snow on Domestic bins-3

Snow on domestic bins

Christmas and the new year are right around the corner, which means there will be service changes to normal council opening hours. You’ll find all the information you may need over the next couple of weeks as we work to ensure our communities are supported at this time.

Children and Family Centres

Children and Family Centres will be closed from 5pm on 22 December 2023 and will reopen at 8.30am on 2 January 2024.

Christmas/New Years rubbish, recycling and food waste collections

During the holiday period, your rubbish, recycling, food and garden waste collection will change.

All weekday collections will be one day later than usual. For example, if your collection is normally on a Monday, it will be on a Tuesday.

Find out more on the rubbish and recycling collection page.

Christmas tree recycling

You can recycle your real Christmas tree from 8 to 19 January 2024. If you get a food and garden collection, take off the decorations and leave your tree out on your scheduled day.

If you don't get a food and garden collection, ask your landlord or management company to arrange a collection. You can also bring your tree to the Reuse and Recycling Centre on Yabsley Street in London.

Reuse and Recycling Centre (RRC)

The Reuse and Recycling Centre (RRC) will be open every day except Christmas Day.

Opening times will be 9am to 4pm on the following days:

  • Boxing Day
  • New Year’s Day

Housing Options and homelessness

The Housing Options Service is closed from 4pm on Friday 22 December 2023 to Tuesday 2 January 2024.

Emergencies during the bank holidays, weekends and evenings will be covered within the council’s out of hours arrangements by calling 020 7364 4079.

People who need an emergency homeless service between Wednesday 27 December and Wednesday 29 December 2023 (11am and 4pm) can go to

  • Idea Store Chrisp Street
    1 Vesey Path
    East India Dock Road
    E14 6BT

  • Idea Store Whitechapel
    321 Whitechapel Road
    E1 1BU

Staff can contact Housing Options staff by phone.

Idea store and contact centre

All Idea Stores and Libraries (excluding Local History and Archives)

  • Saturday 23 December, 9am to 5pm
  • Sunday 24 December, 11am to 3pm
  • Monday 25 December, CLOSED
  • Tuesday 26 December, CLOSED

From Wednesday 27 to Sunday 31 December Idea Store Whitechapel and Chrisp street will be open as follows:

  • Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 December, 11am and 4pm
  • Saturday 30 December, 9am to 5pm
  • Sunday 31 December, 11am to 3pm


  • Idea Store Chrisp Street
    1 Vesey Path
    East India Dock Road
    E14 6BT

  • Idea Store Whitechapel
    321 Whitechapel Road
    E1 1BU

The Local History Library and Archives Service will close from 7pm on Thursday 21 December 2023. Our exhibition will be open for visitors on Friday 22 December, 10am to 1pm, 2 to 5pm. The full service will reopen at 10am on Tuesday 2 January 2024

Idea Store Bow, Idea Store Canary Wharf, Idea Store Watney Market, Bethnal Green Library and Cubitt Town Library closed from Monday 25 December to Monday 1 January 2024 included. All sites back to normal hours on Tuesday 2 January 2024.

Contact centre

The Contact Centre will be closed starting at 5pm on Friday 22 December 2023. It will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2024. The Residents' Hub will also be closed during this time. If there is an emergency that could cause harm to people or property outside of these hours, please call the Out of Hours Service at 020 7364 7070.


Parking enforcement by the council is relaxed on national bank holidays but please park responsibly.

Personalised disabled bays and all other restrictions are enforced, including but not limited to all types of yellow lines, dropped kerbs and footway parking.


Whitehorse Adventure Playground

The playground will be closed from Thursday 14 December 2023 to Monday 8 January 2024.

Adventure play sessions will restart on Tuesday 9 January and take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday 3 to 6pm

Mile End Park Play Pavilion

Stay and Play sessions for under 5s will close from Friday 8 December 2023 - Friday 5 January 2024.

Sessions will restart on Monday 8 January and will take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 12.30 to 3.30pm.

All play sessions at Whitehorse Adventure Playground and Mile End Play Pavilion are free and all Tower Hamlets children and families are welcome.  All children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

Stepney Green Astroturf

The Astroturf will be closed during the Christmas and new year holiday period from Monday 25 December 2023 to Tuesday 2 January 2024.

The last session will be Sunday 24 December.  Sessions will resume on Wednesday 3 January 2024.

All other parks and spaces remain open as normal over the holiday season.

Tower Hamlets has over 120 parks and open spaces for you to visit and enjoy over the holiday period.

Register office

 The Register office is open during the festive period but with a reduced service. Please visit our opening hours and access page for details.

Severe weather

Our highways and street cleaning team will be on duty through the holidays to keep roads and pavements clear and safe.

We have two spreading vehicles, a mechanical loader and more than 2,000 tonnes of salt at our winter service depot.

As temperatures continue to drop, there are a few things you can do to benefit your health and home over the winter months. Find more information on staying warm on our winter wellness page.

Posted on Monday 11th December 2023