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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 - 3 August 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

With the exception of playgrounds at Locksley Street, (Mile End Children's Play Park) and Bartlett Park, we have re-opened all 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:

Visting an outdoor space 

You can spend time outdoors, including exercise, as often as you wish. This must be with people you live with, in your support bubble or in a gathering of up to six, which can include people from outside your household. You should keep two metres apart from people not in your household or support bubble at all times.

From 4 July, you can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household). You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.

You should continue to avoid public transport other than for essential journeys so should make journeys by cycling, walking or driving in a private vehicle where possible.


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.

You can:

  • Leave your house for recreation, sport and other activities, with people from your household or support bubble - or in groups of up to six people from another household or support bubble.
  • Always keep at least two metres (six feet) apart from anyone outside your household - or one metre with risk mitigation (ie mask) where two metres is not viable.
  • Take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors.

We will open our playgrounds once our risk assessments and annual safety inspections are complete – delayed due to Covid-19.

DO NOT enter playgrounds or use the equipment as they may not be safe. We anticipate they will be open in August. Thank you for your patience.

Outdoor gyms, basketball courts, football cages, and some cafes remain closed as preparations continue, to open them safely as soon as possible.

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 the latest changes to our park services and facilities.

  • Cafes: Some are closed until further notice

  • Leisure centres: Closed until further notice

  • Organised activities: Suspended until further notice

  • Outdoor gyms, playgrounds, basketball courts and football cages: Closed until further notice as preparations continue, to open them safely as soon as possible. Where possible they will be locked, and signs will advise people not to use the equipment. 

  • Skate Parks: Open

  • Tennis courts: Open, by appointment only

  • Toilets: Open in Victoria Park


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

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.