Into the green: What are the best forests in London?

Are you stuck in the rut of your daily commute, endlessly circling your local park? It’s time to break free from the monotony and stretch those city-weary legs on a tranquil woodland walk. 

Whether you opt for a spontaneous day trip or decide to immerse yourself in an overnight forest odyssey, the options are as diverse as London’s eclectic neighbourhoods. 

So, pack your bag, embrace your inner tree-hugger, and savour the sweet, sweet freedom that awaits you beyond the confines of your city flat. Here, we present our top forest picks, all within easy reach of London!

Epping Forest

Media from irene_slytherclaw

Location: High Beach, Loughton, Essex IG10 4AE, United Kingdom

Stretching over a whopping 6,000 acres, Epping Forest is London’s largest public open space. So, if you’re seeking an escape from the urban chaos, this place has you covered. 

You can meander through the ancient trees, explore winding trails, and immerse yourself in nature without a care in the world.

Epping Forest is also steeped in tales of yore, and you can even stumble upon ancient earthworks and remnants of Iron Age forts. It’s like a living, breathing history book.

Highgate Wood 

Media from nickvangelder64

Location: Muswell Hill Road, Highgate, London N10 3JN, United Kingdom

Highgate Wood dates back to the 17th century and has witnessed centuries of London’s evolution. From being a royal hunting ground to a place of recreation for Londoners, it’s soaked in stories and historical significance.

This forest boasts a diverse ecosystem, with ancient oaks, hornbeams, and an array of wildlife. It’s a hotspot for birdwatching, and you might even spot a cheeky squirrel or two. 

Queen’s Wood

Media from malcmellon

Location: Queen’s Wood Rd, London N6 6UU, United Kingdom

Queen’s Wood is a pocket-sized wilderness that transports you far from the urban hustle. It’s one of London’s oldest surviving woodlands, dating back to the Ice Age. Yep, Ice Age!

Here’s the best part – Queen’s Wood is easily accessible. Just a short hop from Highgate or Archway stations, you can escape to this green haven without breaking a sweat.

Ruislip Woods

Media from pinkkimono

Location: Reservoir Road, Ruislip HA4 7TP, United Kingdom

Want to experience some serene waters without leaving the city? Ruislip Woods boasts picturesque ponds like Ruislip Lido and Batchworth Lake. They’re perfect for a stroll or a spot of birdwatching.

Plus, Ruislip Woods is crisscrossed by the Hillingdon Trail, a 20-mile-long pathway that takes you through some of the most scenic parts of the wood. It’s your ticket to a mini-adventure right on London’s doorstep.

Wanstead Flats

Media from london

Location: Aldersbrook Road, London, E12 5DN, United Kingdom

Wanstead Flats is like the Central Park of London’s East End. It’s a sprawling, open expanse of grasslands that’ll make you feel like you’re in the countryside, not the city.

Despite its flat-sounding name, this place is far from boring. It’s home to diverse habitats, from meadows to ponds. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife – you might spot skylarks, butterflies, or even a cheeky fox.

Oxleas Wood

Media from seanolivermyers 

Location: Shooters Hill, London, SE18 3JA, United Kingdom

Nature enthusiasts take note – Oxleas Wood is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and home to rare barbastelle bats. It’s like a VIP club for nature lovers.

Plus, Oxleas Wood is part of the South East London Green Chain Walk, a network of green spaces that connects to the Royal Borough of Greenwich. So, you can explore the woods and continue your adventure into Greenwich’s historic sites.

Chislehurst Common

Media from chislehurstsociety

Location: Chislehurst, Bromley, London, BR7, United Kingdom

These woods are home to some truly impressive trees, including ancient oaks and sweet chestnuts. Some of them are so grand that they’ve earned the coveted title of “Veteran Trees”.

Hidden within the woods, you’ll discover serene ponds that add a touch of tranquillity to your stroll. It’s the perfect spot to watch the world go by or engage in a bit of birdwatching.

Sydenham Hill Wood 

Media from petrajw

Location: Crescent Wood Road, London, SE26 6SB, United Kingdom

This woodland is a vital remnant of the expansive Great North Wood, a once-vast forest that stretched from Deptford in the north to Selhurst and South Norwood in the south. 

But what makes this forest truly special is the Cox’s Walk, a tree-lined path straight out of the 18th century. It was conceived by Francis Cox, a visionary publican, in 1742.

Many even consider it one of the most delightful forest walks in all of London.

Richmond Park 

Media from sijadobox

Location: Richmond, London, TW10 5HS, United Kingdom

Richmond Park has regal roots. It was created by King Charles I in the 17th century as a royal hunting ground. To this day, it retains an air of regal grandeur, and you can practically hear the echoes of history as you stroll through its majestic avenues.

Covering a sprawling 2,500 acres, Richmond Park is practically a forest empire. You could explore for hours and still not see it all. It’s a haven for those seeking a sense of wilderness within the city limits.

Wendover Woods

Media from wendover.woods

Location: St Leonards Road, Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, HP22 5NF, United Kingdom

If you fancy a mental workout along with your physical one, Wendover Woods offers orienteering sessions. You can challenge yourself to navigate through the woods using only a map and your wits.

And if you’ve ever dreamed of swinging through the trees like Tarzan or Jane? Well, you can! Wendover Woods is home to Go Ape, an exhilarating treetop adventure course that lets you do just that. It’s a high-flying, tree-hugging, adrenaline-pumping good time.

Hainault Forest 

Media from lohkwayne

Location: Romford Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 4QN, United Kingdom

As one of the last remnants of the ancient Forest of Essex, Hainault Forest is steeped in history. You can explore and you might stumble upon traces of a bygone era, reminding you of London’s storied past.

And with so much to see and experience, Hainault Forest is a place that invites return visits. Each trip here unveils discoveries and a deeper connection to this natural treasure.

Ashdown Forest 

Media from ashdownforest

Location: Romford Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 4QN, United Kingdom

If you’re a fan of a certain honey-loving bear named Winnie the Pooh, you’re in for a treat. Ashdown Forest served as the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, the whimsical setting for Pooh’s adventures.

Unlike many woodlands, Ashdown Forest is largely open access. You can roam freely and explore to your heart’s content, whether you’re an avid hiker, a horseback rider, or simply someone in search of a serene stroll.

Interesting Facts about Great Fire of London

Previous Post

Blazing revelations: What are the most interesting Great Fire of London facts?

Next Post

Marylebone mystique: What are the top activities to do in Marylebone?

Top Things To do in Marylebone