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The City of London is home to small green spaces, sometimes known as 'pocket parks'. These provide the community with calm spots in our busy metropolis. A number of these are well-suited to small events and are available for hire.

This page covers everything you should need to know to submit a booking with us for a small event.

Small events

A small event can be any event with less than 500 attendees, including:

  • guided walks
  • performing arts events, theatre events or recitals
  • community events to involve local people
  • celebrations, receptions or fetes
  • wedding photography and events

For filming and photography in a City garden please visit the Filming in the City pages and apply directly with Film App.

Guidelines for events

Guidelines are available at the foot of this page and are recommended reading. They detail our gardens, how we will assess your application, our Byelaws, and the responsibilities of events organisers using our sites. Our cancellation policies are also detailed there.

If you have any further questions, please see our full events policy document (185B) or contact us.

Fees and charges

The fee for the event itself scales according to the type, nature and size of the event you're holding. A refundable deposit will also be required to cover the cost of potential damage. An application fee is also payable at the time of application to cover our administrative costs, this is non-refundable.

Full fees and charges are available in our event application form (95KB).

How to apply

To apply to hold a small event in one of our sites, please complete an event application form (95KB) and return it to us by email.

Please note: all applications must be received at least eight weeks ahead of the date of the event.

When submitting your application please provide as much information as possible, as this will help us to process your booking more quickly.

Booking acceptance

If your booking is accepted, we will write to you giving you written permission and a licence. These documents should be kept with you on the day, as you may need to provide them to City Gardens staff or City of London Police as proof of your event.

Gardens available for hire

The following gardens have been assessed as suitable for small organised events:

Please see each garden's information page for descriptions and details of location, available area and attendee capacity.

If you are interested in hiring any of our other gardens, please contact us.

How we assess your application

Once your event application is submitted, we look at it to assess its potential impact on the community and on the garden you want to hire. We also look at health and safety and licencing concerns.

The assessment criteria include looking at:

  • if the event is suitable for the garden requested
  • if separate applications have been made for any necessary licences relating to the Licencing Act 2003 (see below)
  • the track record of the organiser and the event, and whether the event has previously been problematic through disturbance, antisocial behaviour or outstanding costs
  • safety management plans, risk assessments and method statements if your event is complex or will involve electrical equipment, staging or similar
  • if details of Public Liability Insurance cover (£5 million) have been provided
  • the potential impact of the event on the community through noise, road closures, social unrest and other disturbance
  • evidence that the organiser has consulted with residents, churches, business and schools regarding potential disturbance - named contacts must be provided
  • if your event is a community event, that no commercial interests are involved
  • if your event is a charity event, that any surplus is given to the charity in question

A meeting may be requested between your organisers and a City of London committee to look at safety, health or social concerns, and the City of London Corporation retains the right to decline any application they do not wish to take place within any of their gardens or green spaces.

An event will not be granted permission if:

  • we feel it is likely to have an unacceptable impact on the site
  • it contravenes Byelaws specific to the Garden
  • its organisers cannot provide adequate documentation when it is requested
  • it is refused support by the emergency services
  • there is risk of serious injury or ill health to participants, contractors or members of public, and
  • measures to reduce risk to an acceptable level are not available or considered.
  • it discriminates against any individual or group on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability
  • it has a political agenda inconsistent with City of London Corporation policies
  • it is a boxing, wrestling or gaming event

For more information, please see our full events policy document (185KB) or contact us.

Licencing Act 2003

As mentioned in the assessment criteria, some activities related to an event will require a licence, these include: selling alcohol, selling food and drink, performing amplified music, theatrical and dance performances, charity collections. In particular, a Temporary Event Notice will be required to enable alcohol to be sold at an event.

For more information on how to comply with these requirements, please see our licencing policy document (370KB).​

Health and safety

Some useful guidance on how to plan and manage events safely, including how to carry out a risk assessment is available on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

Appeals

If we decide not to grant permission for your event, appeals may be submitted in writing to the City Gardens Manager within seven days of the permission not being granted. One further appeal may be sent within twenty-one days of permission not being granted to the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, whose decision will be final.

Byelaws

​A number of our gardens are subject to their own Byelaws which prohibit certain activities. We will advise you when you make your initial enquiry/application whether Byelaws will affect your proposed event.

However, you must include a request in your application if you wish to do any of the following:

  • Bring vehicles into the park
  • Bring equipment or infrastructure into the garden/open space (ie gazebos, mini marquees, tables and chairs)
  • Play music, amplified or not
  • Display signs or banners
  • Sell items/goods
  • Sell food and drink or alcohol

This will not guarantee permission being granted. All requests need to be discussed with the City Gardens Manager before they are allowed.

Responsibilities of organisers

​To aid in the preservation of the Gardens and the interests of the community, we will expect events organisers to take up the following responsibilities during their events.

All event organisers are expected to:

  • Clear away all items and equipment after the event
  • Remove all litter
  • Adhere to the route and area of the site agreed
  • Make arrangements for first aid
  • Be insured for Public Liability with cover of £5 million per incident
  • Ensure that children participating in the event are supervised at all times by a competent adult
  • Provide adequate stewards if required. For example, sponsored walks will be expected to provide stewards at road crossings
  • Be able to produce appropriate licence papers if requested by City Gardens staff or City of London Police on the day
  • Follow guidelines on advertising as laid out in our events policy document (185KB)

Event organisers must not:

  • Fix items to trees, railings, fences or any other structures in the park
  • Drive stakes into the ground
  • Cook or barbecue any food, or light fires or flaming torches
  • Sell alcohol without obtaining an alcohol licence
  • Leave items or equipment unattended
  • Let the event interfere with or obstruct other park users
  • Hand out literature at an event, unless special permission has been given
  • Solicit donations from park visitors ie bucket collections or similar
  • Release balloons
  • Stage pyrotechnic displays
  • Disturb wildlife
  • Climb, or allow others to climb on statues, monuments or infrastructure
  • Move benches, fixtures and fittings

Cancellation policy

​Cancellations by the hirer

In the event of an organiser cancelling an event, we reserve the right to retain the organiser's deposit. If the cancellation request is submitted less than 60 days before the event, we also reserve the right to recover the full balance of the hiring fee as debt due.

For full terms and conditions, please see our events policy document (185KB).

Cancellations by City Gardens

The City may cancel an event in case of an emergency, security alert or advice from higher authorities, or in the case of extreme weather. In the event of an event being cancelled under this clause, City Gardens will not be held liable for any fees, costs, damages, loss sustained by the hirer as a result the cancellation, but will refund the hirer's charges and fees.

The City reserves the right to require a hirer to reschedule the date of an event should it become necessary and provided a reasonable amount of time is given to the hirer. In the event the hirer is unable to reschedule, the City will repay all monies paid by the hirer within 10 working days; but will accept no liability for other fees, costs, damages or loss incurred by the hirer.

For full terms and conditions, please see our events policy document (185KB).


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