Usually at this time of year, many of us are hitting the sales, braving the crowds to snap up the bargains. But this isn’t a normal year, and once again we find ourselves in lockdown and being told to stay at home unless it’s absolutely essential to go out.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital, due to the pressure of the pandemic on London’s health and emergency services, with hospitals at breaking point and the spread of the virus out of control. The situation is now critical. The Government is clear that you should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once a day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden, and there are few places where people can go outside to get a change of scene and to boost their physical and mental wellbeing. Unprecedented numbers of city-dwellers are therefore turning once again to London’s parks and green spaces for their permitted daily exercise, to interact with nature, to boost their mood and stay healthy during this crisis. Throughout the pandemic, these green spaces have stayed open, they’re free to everyone who needs them and they’ve been a lifeline for many. Put simply, a walk in the park makes us feel better.
As the custodians of some of London’s key public spaces, our dedicated staff are working incredibly hard to keep them beautiful, and to provide a safe refuge for visitors during the height of lockdown. We know how important these spaces are but it is a challenge to deal with the vast numbers of people visiting. Unavoidably, some parts of the parks can become more congested than others, so it is crucial that everyone accepts personal responsibility for protecting themselves and others when they visit. To this end, we strongly encourage you to follow the current Government guidance on Hands, Face, Space, particularly in crowded areas. We ask that everyone shows respect - for the needs of other visitors, for the landscapes of the parks and for the staff working so hard to keep the parks open.
For the next few weeks, we urge you to leave your cars behind and seek out those parks and green spaces closest to home, if you can. Please do the right thing, play your part and help protect others. Thank you to all our visitors who have been following Government guidance and sticking to the rules. London’s parks and green spaces have been a lifeline for so many throughout the pandemic, and they remain here for everyone who needs them now and in the future.
For the most up-to-date information on all our parks, please see below:
Opening hours and closed areas
- All parks have now returned to their normal closing times
- All park offices are closed to the public until further notice.
Visit when the parks are quieter
To avoid crowding we recommend you check the parks' busiest times and plan your visit when there are fewer other visitors. You can find this information on Google.
Buck Hill Playground (opposite Lancaster Gate station) and the Diana Memorial Playground both remain closed this morning due to build-ups of ice overnight. Our teams on the ground will continue to monitor both sites, and hope to open again later this afternoon.
Playgrounds will continue to remain open across the parks during lockdown.
We ask all visitors to observe Government guidelines and stay at least 2m away from those outside your household or social bubble, and that you bring your own hand sanitiser to use before and after touching surfaces. Unfortunately, the water features are not currently in use.
Diana, Princess of Wales’s Memorial Playground, Kensington Gardens
The playground is currently closed. Please see message above.
All other playgrounds
Please avoid using the playgrounds when they are busy in order to maintain social distancing, and please adhere to the signage at the gates. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Please bring your own hand sanitiser and use it before and after you have touched any surfaces in the playgrounds and please observe social distancing at all times.
Please note: It is not possible to guarantee that playgrounds are secure from Covid-19 and visitors use them at their own risk.
While the majority of our playgrounds and outdoor gyms are now open, there is one location which remain closed:
- Kingston Gate Playground in Richmond Park
Please check individual park pages for further information on each playground.
Toilets across the parks will remain open. We have implemented all necessary measures to protect our visitors’ safety and to provide a safe working environment for our attendants. During periods when the toilets are cleaned, we will temporarily close access to the facilities until cleaning is safely completed. We will keep our toilet provision under constant review.
All of our chargeable toilets now work on a contactless system. This accepts credit/debit cards, prepaid cards and mobile wallet payments like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Cash is no longer accepted.
From January 2021 to April 2021 we are making improvements to a number of our toilet facilities such as the introduction of touchless taps and toilet flushes, redecoration works and other essential updates to the buildings. To facilitate these works, toilet blocks will need to be temporarily closed. However, other facilities within the park will be available and signposted. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during these improvement works.
Public toilets* within The Royal Parks will be open at the following times.
Public toilets at catering outlets are for customers only, and will only be available during the outlet opening hours.*
- Hyde Park (Bandstand) 08:30 to 16:00
- Hyde Park (Reservoir) Closed in January and February
- Kensington Gardens (Marlborough Gate and Mount Gate) 08:00 to 16:00
- Kensington Gardens (Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground) open to 16:00
* Please note that the toilets at Café North Lodge, Brompton Cemetery are currently closed to the public.
St. James's Park
- St. James's Park (Marlborough Gate and Horse Guards) 09:00 to 18:00
- St. James's Park (Playground) 11:00 to 16:00
From Monday 23rd November, the toilet block at Ham Gate will close permanently. This will enable the Royal Parks charity, which manages Richmond Park, to focus its remaining resources and service levels on the areas of greatest demand in order to provide the best possible visitor experience. The nearest open toilets are at Kingston Gate, Pembroke Lodge, Petersham Gate and Isabella Pegs Pond.
- Richmond Park 08:00 to 19:00
- Bushy Park (Playground) 08:00 to 18:00
- Greenwich Park (Lower Avenue) 08:00 to 17:15
- Greenwich Park (Rockery) 11:00 to 17:30
- Greenwich Park (Playground) 11:00 to 16:00
The Regent's Park
- Regent's Park 09:00 to 16:00
- Regents' Park (Playgrounds) 11:00 to 16:15
Catering outlets currently remain open across the parks for takeaway only. There are social distancing measures in place and no seating is available. Café toilets will be closed, unless they are positioned outside of the café building. Alcohol will not be available for sale.
Please see the full list of open outlets on each tab below, which includes ‘toilets open’ where available. If an outlet name is not included then it remains closed.
- Boathouse Kiosk
- Speakers Corner Kiosk
- Serpentine Bridge Kiosk
- Triangle Kiosk
- Hyde Park Corner Kiosk
- Hyde Park Corner Lodge Café
- The Serpentine Lido Café – toilets available
- Serpentine Bar & Kitchen
- Will2Win Café
- Italian Gardens Café
- Broad Walk Café
- Albert Memorial Kiosk
- Palace Gate Kiosk
- Café North Lodge
St. James's Park and The Green Park
- Storey’s Gate Cafe
- Canada Gate Kiosk
- Marlborough Gate Kiosk
- Artillery Memorial Kiosk
- St James's Park Playground Kiosk (weekends)
- Ritz Corner Kiosk
- Roehampton Café
- Broomfield Hill Kiosk
- Pen Pond Kiosk
- Pembroke Lodge Kiosk
- Pheasantry Café – toilets available
- Pheasantry Kiosk
- Diana Car Park Kiosk
- Pavilion Café
- Wolfe Statue Kiosk
The Regent's Park
- Regent’s Bar and Kitchen
- Espresso Bar
- Primrose Hill Café (weekends)
- Broad Walk Café (weekends)
- Will2Win Tennis Centre Café
Parking at the parks
Exercise for health and wellbeing is vitally important during this time, but the latest government guidance makes it clear that you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.
We therefore strongly advise visitors to walk or cycle to the parks where they can, but we will continue to keep our car parks open for those who need them.
Outer parks - Bushy Park, Richmond Park, Greenwich Park
- The car park in Greenwich Park is open all week.
The car park can be accessed via Blackheath Gates entrance only, and opening hours have returned to normal.
- Car parks in Bushy Park are open all week.
The Pheasantry car park can be accessed from the north side of the park only via Chestnut Avenue and the Diana Fountain car park can be accessed from the south side of the park only via Chestnut Avenue. The car parks will be open during normal park opening hours. Clapperstile car park is also open to blue badge holders every day including weekends.
- Car parks in Richmond Park are open all week
As part of our Movement Strategy we are trialling a scheme that reduces vehicle cut-through traffic while providing access to car parks. Details can be found on our Movement Strategy page for Richmond Park.
Inner parks - Hyde Park, The Regent's Park, St. James's Park and The Green Park
- In Hyde Park, pay and display car parking is available from Monday to Sunday, 08:30 to 18:30. This includes car parking facilities on West Carriage Drive, which is now open to vehicles.
- In The Regent’s Park, pay and display car parking is available from Monday to Sunday, 09:00 to 18:30.
Minibus service, Richmond Park
- We have taken the decision to cancel the free minibus service for the remainder of 2020 due to the recent alterations in the road layout at Richmond Park that make it difficult to access the request stops, and concerns over the safety of passengers and volunteer drivers during the current crisis. We hope to resume the service next year and will update on this when we have news.
Filming in the parks
Filming in our parks will continue as usual.
The Royal Parks is continuing to accept enquiries for filming and photography shoots across all Royal Parks, subject to following Government guidance on coronavirus and social distancing regulations, which is currently a minimum of 2 metres. Please be aware that it may not be possible to film in some locations under these circumstances. We will continue to review our guidelines in accordance with the Government advice.
Please find more information on our Filming and Photography webpage.
- Therefore, The Royal Parks will continue to accept enquiries for small scale filming and photography shoots across all Royal Parks (up to 10 people), subject to following social distancing regulations , which is currently a minimum of 2 metres. Please be aware that it may not be possible to film in some locations under these circumstances. We will continue to review our guidelines in accordance with the Government advice. Please discuss your requirements for a larger crew size, if required, directly with the filming team.
- The Royal Parks has a duty of care to the public and will not agree to any filming or photography request that does not contain realistic proposals to protect the public, each application will be assessed on a case by case basis. Please find The Royal Parks COVID-19 filming guidance here. This is in line with the Film London COVID-19 Guidance for Location Filming in London, the full version of which is available at http://core.filmlondon.org.uk/library/documents/COVID-19GuidanceforLocationFilming.pdf.
- Please submit your online application for filming/photography via our online form. The following documents must be uploaded during submission of The Royal Parks online filming and photography application form:
- Risk Assessment/Method Statement in accordance with the TRP Covid-19 Filming Guidance, specifically addressing the mitigation measures taken to reduce Covid-19 related risks
- Public Liability Insurance to a minimum of £5 million
- A signed copy of the TRP COVID-19 Filming Guidance
- Please find more information on our Filming and Photography webpage.
- We have been closely following the Government’s announcements, WHO guidelines and recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of Covid-19.
- As guidelines are continuously changing and there is currently a temporary ban on the organisation and planning of mass gatherings, it is extremely difficult to ensure health and safety of the public in line with moving risk assessments. We will continue to follow the UK Covid alert level for the easing or increase of restrictions for the remainder of this year.
- Small events, as categorised by The Royal Parks, have an enormous amount of variables from event concept (cultural, sporting, charitable) to their capacity, size, infrastructure, management and safety. Event organisers would need to submit plans which meet moving health and safety regulations in line with the Covid alert level.
- For the reasons above, the Royal Parks has decided not to licence any new small events for the foreseeable future.
- Due to the popularity of our parks and the uncertainty of the ongoing Covid-19 virus, we regret that it will not be possible to offer any dates in 2021 at this time.
- We understand how disappointing this news will be for you and your participants, customers, and supporters but our priority is to support the national effort in coming out of this crisis, provide open space for the public and protect everyone’s health.
Sport, leisure and personal fitness
All sporting facilities are now closed until further notice due to the Government’s new lockdown restrictions.
This includes the Hub, the Trim Trail and the running track in The Regent’s Park and all outdoor gyms. The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, all tennis courts, all group fitness training, the football pitches in Hyde Park and golfing in Richmond Park are also closed. Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.
One-to-one personal fitness training is currently permitted to take place. This remains under review.
The Hub Sports Facility, Regent's Park
The Hub remains closed until further notice.
Although The Hub will be closed, Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill remain open for visitors to enjoy spending time in nature and for relaxation. Staying fit and well is particularly important at the moment. Lockdown restrictions must be observed at all times.
- The visitor centres are currently closed until further notice.
Learning, community programmes and volunteering
There will be a wide range of digital learning resources available on our website to help families discover and learn about the parks’ natural environment remotely. Face-to-face learning activities in all parks are now on hold until the February half term due to the Government’s new lockdown restrictions.
The Holly Lodge Centre in Richmond Park is closed until further notice.
All volunteering, including the Volunteer Ranger programme, is on hold until mid-February, when there will be a review of activities.
Burials at Brompton Cemetery
All immediate burials will continue to take place at Brompton, however advance bookings are on hold. A maximum of 30 people are permitted to attend a burial and a maximum of six people are permitted to attend related memorial events.
Our concessions will be subject to an ongoing review.
Galleries situated within the parks, and the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, are closed.
Booking for the Shire Horse carriage rides is now closed until Spring.