Covid-19 restrictions

A national lockdown is now in place to control the spread of Covid-19 as rates rapidly increase across London and the country.

Everyone must now stay at home, and only leave home for specific reasons. Full details of what you can and cannot do are available on the government’s website.

Remember, advice around Covid-19 can change quickly, so keep up to date with the latest information.


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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 - 5 January 2021

The government announced on Monday 4 January, following a rapid increase in Coronavirus (Covid-19) infection, that there will be a new national lockdown. The instruction is to Stay at Home.

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where necessary.

The impact of the new lockdown impacts parks and leisure in the following ways:

  • Indoor gyms – CLOSED
  • Outdoor gyms – CLOSED (please do not unwrap or use outdoor gyms)
  • Tennis courts – CLOSED
  • Basketball courts - CLOSED
  • Skate parks - CLOSED
  • Sports facilities – CLOSED
  • Swimming pools – CLOSED
  • Golf courses – CLOSED
  • Cafes – TAKE AWAY ONLY (please do not gather)
  • Markets – CLOSED
  • Team sports – NOT ALLOWED

Please use the following responsibly and follow government current guidance.

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

You can exercise outside in a public place (but minimise the time spent outside your home):

  • by yourself
  • with people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with ONE person from a different household (including personal trainers)

Read more about the new 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

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

  • 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.

  • All Idea Store face to face classes are cancelled until it's safe to resume them.
  • Local History Library and Archives have closed and all appointments have been suspended. The online service continues to operate. 
  • 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.