When are you open?
We are open Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays for 2 sessions each day – from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. The closure in the middle of the day is to allow time for site cleaning and staff breaks.
Do I have to book?
You no longer have to book a visit to the park but we will still be restricting numbers to 18 at any one time and you will have to scan the NHS Test and Trace barcode on your mobile or fill out a quick and easy form.
Do I have to arrive at the start of the session?
You can arrive any time after the start time but allow time to tour the site as you will need to leave by the end time of each session to allow for site cleaning before the next session or end of day.
Can I visit with a group of people?
You may visit in a group of up to 6 from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of 6). You may also visit as a group from two households – there are no government limits to the size of this group but please be aware that we can only accommodate 18 people at any one time on site and want to give everyone a chance to visit. We therefore ask that groups from two households limit themselves to 12 people in total, including children. Sorry, we cannot take larger groups. Get in touch with the wardens if you would like to book a guided tour for a group of people (e.g. walking groups, clubs and societies)
How do I get in touch if I have a query before my visit?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0208 293 1904 but make sure it’s in plenty of time for your visit and not the day before if possible. We may have limited staff on site on days when the site is not open to the public.
What to expect
What happens when I arrive?
On arrival, a member of TCV staff will be on hand in the gatehouse to count people in and out and to ask you to scan the NHS barcode or fill in a simple form for NHS Test and Trace. To manage safe access into the park, you may be asked to temporarily queue on the boardwalk just outside if there are already 18 people in the park. We will let people in on a one in, one out system. Staff will give you any instructions and info you need to visit the park safely.
Will the bird hides be open?
Both the east and west hide will be open this time round but with access for only 2 people or one family/bubble at any one time. There are 2 benches in the hide on either side. We ask that you use the hand sanitiser just outside the hide before entering and that you spend up to 10 minutes at any one time in the hide to allow other people to have access.
Will the whole park be accessible?
Yes. There is a one-way system around some of the boardwalk. You can still access the pier overlooking the outer lake, but we are restricting access to 2 people or one family/bubble at any one time. The walk-in meadow is fenced off, but you can observe it from the boardwalks – this is to protect wildlife that has made this meadow its home during lockdowns but also to maintain safe social distancing.
How will TCV maintain safety and social distancing?
We will have an enhanced cleaning regime and will be wiping high touch surfaces frequently. We have provided hand sanitiser for when you enter the park, when you go into the hide and just before the toilet block. You can also wash your hands in the sinks in the toilet block. TCV staff will be present on site each day that we are open, to help you enjoy the park safely.
Will you have the usual quiz trails for children?
Due to hygiene restrictions, we won’t have our usual children’s trails and clipboards but we will have paper spotter sheets that you can pick up on arrival and take around the site to spot seasonal wildlife. We will have no-touch quiz trails available in the Whitsun half term. Please note that we will not have the usual books, puzzles and colouring sheets available in the gatehouse and the gatehouse will be for access only. Keep an eye on the events page of the website for summer holiday activities.
Access and facilities
Is there disabled access?
Yes, the wide wooden boardwalks are mostly flat with a couple of very minor slopes. There is a disabled access toilet in the gatehouse. The east and west hides, which will be open to the public, also have disabled access.
Do you have toilets?
Yes, we have toilet facilities, with a one-in/one out system (though families or groups can use the facilities together), which are regularly wiped and cleaned. There is also a disabled access toilet in the gatehouse.
Can I bring my buggy/pram/pushchair?
Yes. The wooden boardwalks can accommodate buggies and prams, but we ask you to fold up buggies and leave them in the centre if you can.
Can I bring my scooter/skateboard?
To maintain safe social distancing and to keep noise levels down for wildlife, we ask that you leave scooters and skateboards in the gatehouse as you come in. These are left at your own risk but there will be a member of staff in the gatehouse during each visiting session.
Can I bring my dog?
Sorry, no dogs are allowed in the inner park or along the outer boardwalk, apart from guide dogs and disability dogs.
Do you have a café and can I have a picnic?
There is no café on site so please bring all food and drink with you. Sorry, you won’t be able to picnic on site as there isn’t enough socially distanced space but there are plenty of places to picnic around the park after your visiting session. This includes benches along the Thames Path, Southern Park behind us and Central Park off John Harrison Way. There is a small shop in the Millennium Village Square which is a 5 minute walk away.
Are there places to sit?
Yes, we have several benches around the park which you are free to use as long as you practice social distancing.
Is there anywhere to lock my bicycle?
Yes, there are bicycle racks close to the park outside of the gatehouse. You won’t be able to lock bikes to the park fences as we need to maintain access as wide as possible.
What if it rains during my visit?
Please bring an umbrella if rain is forecast. The park will still be open and will still be beautiful but there are limited places to shelter and the gatehouse is access only.
What if it’s really hot when I visit?
Please come prepared with sun lotion and water or other drinks. There is shade in some parts of the park at certain times of the day (especially in the morning) and in the bird hides but access may be limited to specific areas due to social distancing. After your visit, you can also find plenty of shade in Southern Park behind the Ecology Park.
Can I take photographs?
Yes, please feel free to take as many photographs as you like but please remember not to photograph other visitors. TCV may take photos of people visiting the park but will always obtain your permission first.
Can I smoke?
The park is a no smoking site, but you can smoke by the river just off the Thames Path before or after your visit.
Will you be asking visitors to wear face masks or other PPE?
You can wear face masks if you wish. We have made PPE available to our staff if they need it or wish to use it. Your visit will be outdoors for most of the time and the gatehouse will be well-aired with doors open whenever possible. The toilet block will also have the window and main entrance doors open at all times. The bird hide will have the door and all shutters fixed open. You may pass by other people on the boardwalks on site at times.
How will you ensure social distancing?
TCV have carried out extensive risk assessments, site reviews and staff training to maintain high standards of safety for staff and visitors. We have put in place restrictions on numbers, a dedicated member of staff on site to facilitate the safe flow of people, clear markings and signs, one-way systems on parts of the boardwalk and an enhanced cleaning regime.