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Leisure, parks and markets

We are supporting the nation's efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus, while running our most critical services that our residents rely on, including some of the most vulnerable. As a result, there have been a number of changes to our services in recent weeks.

On this page you will find updated information about changes to


Updated - 1 September 2020

We know many residents will be thinking about visiting our parks, especially Victoria Park. Read about the new safety measures for Victoria Park.

Play and gym equipment

We have re-opened our playgrounds following annual safety inspections by an independent company.


It is essential we don't forget social distancing. If you visit one of our parks, stay a safe distance from those not from your household, follow the rules in place and be respectful to staff and volunteers as they work hard to keep everyone safe and our parks open.  

To read the latest government guidance:


Victoria Park is open

Victoria Park is open from 7am until dusk, daily. For further information and updates visit our Victoria Park page.

Other parks

Other parks owned and operated by Tower Hamlets council will remain open and we encourage visitors to use them to for a walk, run or cycle, alone or with others from the same household.

It is important in these uncertain times that people do what they can to boost their physical and mental wellbeing, and going outside near their home for exercise each day can help with this.

We are doing everything we can to keep you safe and healthy during this time.

Thank you for you cooperation and we hope you will continue to enjoy our award winning parks in Tower Hamlets.

We ask that all visitors follow the latest government advice, and look after themselves and each other.


In line with government guidelines, stalls at our markets have reopened as part of a staged return with new layouts to facilitate social distancing and manage the capacity of market areas.

Our officers have been planning for the reopening of markets for some time, exploring options to do so in a safe way. There are significant challenges involved and it is clear that in the short term at least, our markets will look and feel quite different from what we are used to.

Traders are being asked to look at their operating models and to put plans in place that would allow them to operate in a safe and socially distanced way. Market officers are providing advice and support. Traders who cannot demonstrate that they have proper plans in place will not be allowed to reopen.

For enquiries please email streetmarkets@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Youth hubs

Following the government's announcement on Friday 20 March 2020, that places where people gather should close, our youth hubs will be closed until further notice.

Idea Stores and libraries

All of our Idea Stores are now closed until further notice, in line with the government’s latest advice.

We’ll look forward to reopening when the time is right, but for now, online membership is free and we have a wide range of materials available for you. From e-magazines, e-comics and audio books, we’re upping our offer every day. Check it out: www.ideastore.co.uk

We are also continuing to explore other ways that we can reach out and support our residents who need us most. 

Our Bethnal Green Library, Cubitt Town Library and Local History Library & Archives are also closed until further notice.

Please visit the Idea Store website for the latest information.

Arts and events

Tower Hamlets has a vibrant arts scene, and a host of family and community activities for you, many of which are now online.

Due to Covid-19 we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s fireworks display in Victoria Park, which was set to take place in November.  Ultimately, the safety of our residents comes first – we cannot risk the potential spread of Covid-19 in large crowds.

Unfortunately, we will not be holding our popular Halloweek events this year.

Contact our arts and events team if you are interested in holding an event in one of our parks or open spaces.

Many other events in Tower Hamlets have now been cancelled, and many venues are temporarily closed. Please check with the event organiser or venue directly for up to date information.

For  information about events taking place in Tower Hamlets sign up to our monthly Arts and Events newsletter.