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Leisure, parks and markets

We are supporting the nation's efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, 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 since March.

On this page you will find updated information about changes to


Updated - 29 March 2021

The government has begun the process of 'easing' lockdown, based on their four principles or tests. Lockdown restrictions are not over yet, and will they will be removed gradually and in stages, beginning on Monday 8 March.

From Monday 29 March, you can meet outside (including private gardens) up to a maximum of SIX people or TWO households.

Go to the Government website for more information about how the rules will change or read COVID-19 RESPONSE - SPRING 2021.

Current restrictions impact on parks and leisure in the following ways:

  • Indoor gyms – CLOSED
  • Skate parks - CLOSED
  • Swimming pools – CLOSED
  • Cafes – TAKE AWAY ONLY
  • Markets – CLOSED

Please use the following responsibly and follow government current guidance.

  • Parks – OPEN (please try your best to avoid busy areas/overcrowding)
  • Outdoor gyms - OPEN
  • Basketball/Tennis courts - OPEN
  • Cricket nets - OPEN
  • Playgrounds – OPEN (wash your hands before/after use)
  • Public toilets - OPEN (wash your hands before/after use and cover your face).

Read more about current guidance on GOV.UK.

We update our guidance regularly in response to new government guidance. If you, or anyone in your household has symptoms, you should all stay at home.

We know many residents will be thinking about visiting our parks for exercise, especially Victoria Park.

Read about the safety measures for Victoria Park.

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.  

Please put your litter in a bin or take it home with you.

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, or with one other person.

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.


  • Columbia Road Flower Market and Petticoat Lane Market will be closed from 5 November.
  • Other markets across the borough will remain open to sell food. All market stalls selling non-essential goods must close.
  • Victoria Park market is currently closed

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 open to customers from 12 April and Cubitt Town Library is reopen.

Idea Store BowIdea Store Canary WharfIdea Store Chrisp StreetIdea Store Whitechapel and Cubitt Town Library will be open during the following hours:

Monday to Friday: 10am to 6pm.
Saturday and Sunday: 12pm to 4pm

(Cubitt Town Library closed on Sundays)

You can just pop in, (there may be a queue at busy times). If you want to use one of our computers, book ahead to guarantee your slot.

Idea Store Bow, Idea Store Canary Wharf, Idea Store Chrisp Street and Idea Store Whitechapel are currently open at these times:

  • Monday to Friday: 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: Midday - 4pm

You can book your visit online.

Idea Store Learning returns on Monday 19 April

Due to Covid restrictions our face to face classes will have reduced capacity . Many programmes will remain on line to help with participation.

Online enrolment is now open.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives will reopen from Tuesday 13 April

This will be on Tuesdays and Fridays for pre-booked visitors only. Access will be in line with government national regulations. The online service continues to operate.

Visit our what's on page for online events. See our free online resources for material you can access from home.

Keep updated on changes to our services, subscribe to our newsletter.

Residents are encouraged to use our online services, including our extensive catalogue of e-books, audio books, magazines and much more. 

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.

Many events have been cancelled this year, and many venues are temporarily closed. Please check with the event organiser or venue directly for up to date information.

Looking forward, you can contact our arts and events team if you are interested in holding an event in one of our parks or open spaces.

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