Getting out and about in nature is an easy way to improve both physical and mental wellbeing, and we're betting that a lot of you could do with a bit of a boost in those departments right now. That's why all eight of London's Royal Parks will, for the the foreseeable future, remain open during these uncertain times.
Providing you follow government guidance on social distancing, you're welcome to explore Bushy Park, Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park, Richmond Park and St James's Park at your leisure. In a press release, the charity that manages the Royal Parks stressed that it is "following the advice of Public Health England" and "taking all appropriate measures to keep visitors safe and healthy during this time".
As a result, all playgrounds will be closed to the public from Wednesday 18 March. Royal Parks is also pausing its community and education programmes. Furthermore, all sports and event bookings are cancelled until at least 19 April and 30 April, respectively. However, cafes and some catering kiosks remain open for now, and park toilets remain free of charge so visitors always have access to hand-washing facilities.
Of course, not all Londoners are lucky enough to live within walking or cycling distance of a Royal Park. And although public transport remains (somewhat) in operation, the government has advised the public to avoid large gatherings and unnecessary journeys. Luckily, plenty of other green spaces in London remain open for the time being, including Victoria Park in the East End, Herne Hill's Brockwell Park, and Hampstead Heath.
The National Trust has also announced that as many as possible of its gardens and parks will be free to access during this time of social distancing, to allow the public to "relax and refresh".
We're aiming to open many of our gardens and parks for free during this difficult time, so the nation can use open spaces to relax and refresh, while following the government’s social distancing guidance. We will be closing our houses, cafés and shops this week. pic.twitter.com/ETY1oEo8VZ— National Trust (@nationaltrust) March 17, 2020
Of course, all of the above comes with the caveat that if you or someone you live with experiences coronavirus symptoms, you should self-isolate at home. Meanwhile, those who are able to go out for a breath of fresh air should adhere to NHS guidance aimed to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus. Basically, remember that now is not the time for a mass game of capture the flag, and always wash your hands!