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    St Dunstan in the East, a romantic and secluded spot just a stone's throw from the Thames.

The City of London is home to many small green spaces, sometimes known as 'pocket parks', providing the resident and non-resident community with oases of calm in the busy metropolis. Several of the gardens are well-suited to small events and are available for hire.

This page details the application process for small events within the gardens.

Small events

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

  • Performing arts, theatre productions and poetry recitals
  • Guided walks and community events involving local people
  • Celebrations, receptions and themed events
  • Wedding and lifestyle photography

All enquiries for filming and photography (student and commercial) in the gardens are managed by the City of London film team directly. Please visit the Filming in the City pages and apply directly with Film App.

Fees and charges

The event fees vary in accordance with the type, nature and size of the proposed event. A guideline list is available on the event application form (105KB). A refundable deposit is also required to cover the cost of potential damage. A non-refundable application fee for commercial and corporate events is payable at the time of application to cover administrative costs.

How to apply

To apply to hold an event in one of our sites, please complete an event application form (105KB) and return to us by email.

Please note: All small event applications have a lead time of eight weeks minimum.

When submitting your application form please ensure each field is completed with as much detailed information as possible, including choice of site, proposed infra structure being brought into the garden and number of attendees. Please take note that incomplete applications incur a delay in processing time and may affect your chosen event date.

When the event application is received with all relevant paperwork complete it is discussed at the next monthly City Gardens Event Group (CGEG). After this meeting, further requests for information may be sought from the event organiser. The decision to grant or deny the proposed event is discussed at CGEG and the event organiser is notified in due course. It is advisable to await this notification prior to taking out event specific public liability insurance, in the case that the event is not approved.

We issue a City Gardens event licence when your event application is approved and complete - with public liability insurance received and any fees paid. This licence must be kept with you on the day, in case of query by the City Gardens team or City of London Police.

Choosing a garden

We accept applications for events within all our gardens and it is imperative to visit a site prior to application. Here is a selection of popular sites:

Browse our current catalogue of City gardens and explore the City.

If you are a newcomer to the area take a look at the visitor information and maps of the gardens in the square mile and we welcome your comments via our short survey.

How we assess your application

Once your event application is received, we assess site suitability; whether additional licences are required; the track record of the organiser and the event; the event management plan (including risk assessments and health and safety plan); the provision of public liability insurance cover (£5 million) and the overall impact on the garden and local community.

We also measure the specific impact of the event on the residents and surroundings through noise levels, road closures, potential social unrest and other disturbances. There are no public toilets within the gardens we look after, and adequate facilities must be detailed on the application form where appropriate.

The gardens are public open spaces and remain open to the public during regular opening hours. Full details of the opening hours are listed with each individual garden description. Events taking place outside of regular opening hours may incur extra costs.

For larger events, a meeting may be requested between the event organiser and a City of London committee to take a detailed look at health, safety or social concerns. The City of London Corporation retains the right to decline any event application they do not wish to take place within any of their gardens or green spaces.

Event applications that contravene the byelaws will not be authorised including boxing, wrestling or gambling; political campaigning and organised merchandising activities.

For further information and details on assessment criteria, please see our full events policy document (370KB) or contact us.


Certain activities related to an event require a licence including selling food and drink; performing amplified music; theatrical and dance performances, selling alcohol and charity bucket collections. A Temporary Event Notice (TENs) is required to enable alcohol to be sold at an event. There are parking restrictions throughout the City with limited available parking. Applications for parking dispensations must be made well in advance of the proposed event.

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

Health and safety

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.


If permission is not granted for your event, appeals may be submitted in writing to the City Gardens Manager within seven days of being notified of this decision. A further appeal may be sent (within twenty-one days of permission not being granted), to the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, whose decision is final.


​Several of our gardens are subject to byelaws which prohibit certain activities from taking place. To assess whether byelaws affect your proposed event, we request notification of the following activities in the application form:

  • Bringing vehicles into the park
  • Bringing equipment or infrastructure into the garden (e.g. gazebos, mini marquees, tables and chairs)
  • Playing music, amplified or acoustic
  • Displaying signs or banners
  • Selling items/goods
  • Selling food and drink or alcohol

Responsibilities of organisers

​We expect event organisers to assume certain responsibilities during their events to preserve the gardens and uphold the interests of the community.

All event organisers must:

  • Clear away all equipment after the event
  • Remove all litter
  • Adhere to the agreed site area
  • Make arrangements for first aid
  • Be insured with public liability (cover of £5 million for small events)
  • Ensure that children participating in the event are supervised, at all times, by a competent adult
  • Provide adequate stewards if required
  • Carry appropriate licencing documents in case of query on the day by the City Gardens team or City of London Police
  • Provide adequate toilet facilities, if appropriate
  • Follow guidelines on advertising as laid out in our events policy document (370KB)

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
  • Release balloons or confetti
  • 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.

Cancellations by City Gardens

The City of London Corporation 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 of London Corporation 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 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 (370KB).