Visits to London’s central parks are back up to pre-pandemic levels but weekday commutes are far less popular, according to new data.
Footfall in Regent’s Park has returned to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, while Hyde park has seen 80 to 99 per cent of normal levels, according to provisional figures gathered by City Hall.
“It’s clear that our wonderful parks have seen more people return than anywhere else, and it shows how much Londoners and visitors have really cherished our green spaces,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Weekday workers are still avoiding the city, the data showed, with 30 per cent of the usual number coming in to central London, while the government “work from home where you can” advice remains in place.
The number of Tube passengers in central London is only at 33 per cent of normal levels, though the total across the capital’s transport network (including buses and trains) is about 60 per cent.
Areas with green space are recovering the fastest, as well as areas that have more of a “residential leaning” – but there was wide variation in central London.
Visits to east London’s Borough Market stood at 60 to 79 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, for example, while footfall in Clerkenwell and Spitalfields – where many offices are located – remained extremely low.
Londoners are mostly choosing to venture out in their free time, with weekend footfall recovering quickest at around 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Weekday visits are recovering more slowly at around 54 per cent, the data showed.
It’s clear that city dwellers are preferring to explore their city for leisure rather than work, with Saturday evenings witnessing the strongest recovery in visitor numbers, at around 73 per cent of normal levels. Weekday evenings are a slightly less popular choice for a night in town, with an average 62 per cent of normal footfall.
Although Londoners are enjoying their city’s green spaces free of charge, spending in central London remains far off normal levels at around 60 per cent compared with 2019.
City Hall collected the data on London’s popularity to monitor the impact of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s “Let’s Do London” campaign to encourage visitors back to the capital as lockdown restrictions were eased. The transport data was collated from the number of people “tapping in” at underground stations up to June 13; the worker numbers were based on O2 mobile data up to June 11; and the spending figures were obtained from Mastercard spending data.
The Mayor was concerned about the low levels of spending, and urged Londoners and those living outside London to venture out and support businesses that “really need our support.”
“Our unique array of restaurants, bars, shops and cultural venues are open and ready to safely welcome visitors once again, and now is a brilliant time to visit many of London’s famous attractions without the usual queues,” the Mayor said.