Londoners are flooding back to parks... but not the office

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Londoners are flooding back to the Royal parks but are far less keen on returning to the office, new data reveals.

Regent’s Park has seen visitor numbers return to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with Hyde Park at 80 to 99 per cent, according to provisional figures gathered by City Hall.

But Government orders for people to work from home if they can have seen the number of weekday employees in central London plateauing at about 30 per cent of normal levels.

The number of Tube passengers in central London is only at 33 per cent of normal levels, though the total across the capital’s bus and Tube network is about 60 per cent.

The data, based on passenger numbers “tapping in” at Tube stations up to June 13, O2 mobile phone calls to June 11 and Mastercard spending, was gathered by City Hall to assess the impact of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Let’s Do London campaign to encourage domestic tourists back to the capital.

It suggests that people who are aware of the £6m initiative are almost three times more likely to have visited London.

Visitor numbers to central London in May exceeded the busiest part of last year, and visitor numbers at weekends have returned to three-quarters of normal levels.

Between May 10 and June 7, there was a 55 per cent increase in weekday visitors. Week night visitors are at two-thirds of normal levels.

Mr Khan said: “It’s clear that our wonderful parks have seen more people return than anywhere else.

“But with spending in central London still less than half of what it was before the pandemic, our venues and business in London really need our support. Now is a brilliant time to visit many of London’s famous attractions without the usual queues.”

However the data shows a wide variation across central London, with some areas bereft of visitors. Clerkenwell is a ghost town and Brick Lane is struggling.

But the area around Battersea power station and Nine Elms has seen a return to “normal”, though that may be because developments such as at Battersea power station and the US Embassy are now coming on stream.

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