Is this tiny island the only coronavirus-free zone in London?

Is this the only coronavirus-free zone in London? Residents of tiny island on the Thames say they feel like they’re ‘on holiday’ as they ban members of the public from visiting and kayak down the river for their daily exercise

  • Taggs Island lies on a peaceful stretch of the river in Richmond upon Thames
  • Houses just over 100 residents who reside on approximately 60 houseboats
  • Each has garden with vehicle access by road bridge near Hampton Court Palace
  • Resident Carol Sinker says a sign stops people from visiting who don’t live there
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

While many of us crave outdoor space where we can exercise without fear of picking up a Covid-19 infection, these lucky London dwellers are spending lockdown with the Thames on their doorstep.   

One of the capital’s floating communities, Taggs Island is tucked away from the city on a peaceful stretch of the river in Richmond upon Thames.

A close-knit community, the urban oasis houses just over 100 residents living on around 60 houseboats – with some 40 on the shoreline and around 20 in the central lagoon.

Although living on a river may not float everyone’s boat, residents are grateful to live on Taggs Island as they follow the government’s lockdown guidelines and stay at home. 

One of the capital’s floating communities, Taggs Island, is tucked away from the city on a peaceful stretch of the river in Richmond upon Thames

These lucky Taggs Island dwellers are spending lockdown with the Thames on their doorstep

Diane Mayor who is a resident and isolating on Taggs Island on the river Thames, south west London

Carol Sinker, who lives on the island, said her daily exercise during lockdown has been kayaking down the river.

‘I know there is a world crisis going on and it’s awful for the UK, but if you’ve got to be locked down, living here is as good as it gets,’ she told the PA news agency.

Ms Sinker, who has lived on the island for 23 years, said she had not left the area other than to get food supplies.

She added: ‘In the light of people not being able to go on holiday, when the weather is nice, and we’ve just had a blinding April, this is like being on holiday.’

During the lockdown, residents of the island have put up signs discouraging tourists and members of the public from exercising there

Carol Sinker, who lives on the island, said her daily exercise during lockdown has been kayaking down the river. Pictured: a view of a home on the island

Taggs Island resident Carol Sinker said: ‘In the light of people not being able to go on holiday, when the weather is nice, and we’ve just had a blinding April, this is like being on holiday’

Nick (no last name given), a resident on Taggs Island on the River Thames in south west London

Houses are not permitted to be built on Taggs Island, but each houseboat has a small garden, with vehicle access by a road bridge near Hampton Court Palace.

During the lockdown, residents of the island have put up signs discouraging tourists and members of the public from exercising there.

‘People have made a sign on the other side of the bridge saying please try not to come onto the island because we’re trying to just keep it to people who live here,’ Ms Sinker said.

Houses are not permitted to be built on Taggs Island, but each houseboat has a small garden, with vehicle access by a road bridge near Hampton Court Palace. Pictured: Carol Sinker

A man sits and reads on a boat off Taggs Island on the river Thames, which is ‘closed’ to non-residents during lockdown

The capital remains the area of the UK with the highest number of overall cases at 24,828, while the North West is second with 20,125 – but Taggs Island has no cases

Carol Sinker said she has noticed more people cycling around the island. Pictured: a woman runs past Taggs Island

‘But there have been definitely more people cycling around.’

The capital remains the area of the UK with the highest number of overall cases at 24,828, while the North West is second with 20,125. 

London’s number of coronavirus patients peaked at 4,813 on April 8, the highest daily total in the UK, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson among the patients battling the virus in hospital in the capital at the time. 

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