Royal Parks open in London – but severe warnings remain in place

The Royal Parks in London are open to visitors to the parks to boost wellbeing – but the charity which runs it has warned it is not “business as usual”.

Staff are working hard to open sports and outdoor catering facilities by putting safety measures in place to protect visitors and staff.

But some services, including toilets, remain closed. Visitors are warned not to rely on public toilets and to plan ahead.  

Visitors are also asked to show respect to others and to the natural environment, so everyone can enjoy the parks: Hyde Park, The Green Park, Richmond Park, Greenwich Park, St James’s Park, Bushy Park, The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, and Kensington Gardens. 

People must continue to follow Government guidance around social distancing. They are permitted to meet with one person from outside their household, as long as they stay 2m apart, they can exercise in the parks as often as they wish, and they can spend time sitting in the sunshine. 

 BBQs are not allowed: Fires are a hazard, especially in the current dry conditions, putting an additional strain on the emergency services and potentially harming wildlife. Visitors are asked to take their litter home with them, as it can harm wildlife and spoil the park. People are also reminded to keep their pets under control, advising that dogs are kept on a lead.

 The latest updates are as follows. Please check the website  before travel for the most up-to-date information on each park: 

  • Toilets in all Royal Parks remain temporarily closed until further notice.
  • Several outdoor catering kiosks will re-open this weekend in Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and St James’s Parks for takeaway only.
  • Several sporting facilities will re-open:  In Hyde Park and The Regent’s Park the tennis courts have re-opened and in Hyde Park the Serpentine Swimming Club will re-open from Monday (18th May).In Richmond Park, the golf course will reopen this weekend.
  • Playgrounds and outdoor adult exercise areas such as the outdoor gym in Hyde Park and the Trim Trail in The Regent’s Park remain closed. The Hub in The Regent’s Park remains closed.
  • Car parks will not re-open this weekend. Please follow the Government’s guidance on transport by walking or cycling to the parks and, wherever possible, stick to your local green space.
  • Cycling in Richmond remains temporarily suspended but will be returning as soon as possible.

 Tom Jarvis, Director of Parks at The Royal Parks, said: “We welcome visitors to enjoy the parks for relaxation and exercise. But please remember: we’re still in the middle of a crisis and must work together to show kindness to others and to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“If areas become crowded, people may be asked to move on. We urge everyone to respect that and to be kind in their response to staff who are working hard to keep the parks open. And please look after your parks – take your litter home with you so that the parks remain a tranquil oasis for everyone to enjoy.”

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