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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



Update - 15 May 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s update on Sunday 10 May, we know many residents will be thinking about visiting our parks, especially Victoria Park. New opening hours and revised safety measures for Victoria Park can be found here.

London has already seen the biggest impact of this virus and sadly many of our own residents have lost loved ones. That threat hasn’t gone away and we are working with other London councils as well as Public Health England to keep our communities safe as the response moves into its next phase.

As some of the limits on activity in parks are lifted from Wednesday 13 May, it is essential that social distancing is not forgotten. If you do decide to visit one of our parks, please stay two metres from those around you, follow the rules in place and be respectful to staff and volunteers as they work to keep everyone safe and our parks open for you. 

New guidance on spending time outdoors states you may go outside alone, with other people from your household or to meet one other person only from another household.

You can read the government's full guidance document or select information on specific topics.

There is also a set of frequently asked questions about what you can and can't do in the coming days and weeks. 

Victoria Park is open

Victoria Park is open with reduced opening hours of 7am to 8pm on the east side of the park, and 7.30am to 8pm on the west side.

In addition to regular patrols by our parks team, Tower Hamlets enforcement officers (THEOs) and the police, there have been several new control measures introduced which will be clearly signposted in the park.

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.

To read the latest government guidance click on the following links:

You must:

  • Stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily
  • You should only go outside alone or with members of your own household
  • Always keep at least two metres (six feet) apart from anyone outside your household
  • Gatherings of more than two in parks or other public spaces have been banned and the police will enforce this
  • Take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors

You are not permitted to visit parks in groups, but under the guidance you are able to leave your home for daily exercise – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with. 

Do not meet friends, and if you need to walk a dog you should do this locally without the need to drive a car to a larger open space. Always wash your hands as soon as you get home.

All visitors must maintain social distancing guidance and stay at least two metres away from all other visitors at all times.

Playgrounds, tennis courts and cafes are all closed until further notice.

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.

Controlled measures for park facilities and services

Please see below for the latest changes to our park services and facilities.

Cafes: Closed until further notice.

Leisure centres: Closed until further notice.

Organised activities: Suspended until further notice.

Outdoor gyms, playground equipment and skate parks: Do not use the outdoor gyms, playground equipment or skate parks. Where possible they will be locked, and signs will advise people not to use the equipment. 

Tennis: Closed until further notice. 


Following discussions with organisers and operators, a number of markets in Tower Hamlets will close until further notice. We are also limiting the number of stalls at remaining markets. These measures are important to ensure traders and customers can follow social distancing guidance.

Brick Lane, Columbia Road, Petticoat Lane, Roman Road Sclater Street and Victoria Park markets will be closed until further notice.

Bethnal Green, Chrisp Street, Roman Road Square, Watney Market and Whitechapel markets will be limited to sales of non-prepared food and household items only.

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

To date, the following council events have been cancelled:

  • Brady Club exhibition and events due to take place from 1 April at the Brady Arts and Community Centre.
  • St George’s Day tea dance scheduled to take place on 23 April at the Art Pavilion, Mile End Park.
  • Boishakhi Mela, scheduled to take place on Sunday 28 June at Weavers Fields.

In addition, the following venues are closed until further notice:

  • The Brady Arts and Community Centre, Hanbury Street, Whitechapel
  • The Kobi Nazrul Centre, Hanbury Street, Whitechapel

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.

We’ll look forward to reopening when the time is right, and welcoming you back to future events. For now, the message is clear: stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

All Points East

The event organisers have announced that All Points East 2020 will be cancelled. The much loved festival was due to take place in Victoria Park in May.

You can find out more about this on the All Points East website.

Please stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.