Epping Forest in north-east London covers three London boroughs as well as part of the neighbouring county of Essex. Easily within reach from the Central Line, Epping Forest is one of the most accessible natural woodlands in London with activities for the whole family!
“….shall at all times keep Epping Forest unenclosed and unbuilt on as an open space for the recreation and enjoyment of the people”Epping Forest Act 1878
There are four visitor centres where you can pick up maps of the area and suggestions of where to walk:
- The View near the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge in Rangers Road, Chingford
- The Visitor Centre in High Beach
- Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge
- The Temple, Wanstead Park
7 family-friendly things to do in Epping Forest
- Horse riding: High Beech Riding School offer horse riding training for young beginners
- Rambling: There are 9 waymarked circular trails around the forest
- Watch the Ancient Longhorns: You can find the Epping Forest Longhorn cattle around Butler’s Retreat
- Cycling: Great for family cycling as well as mountain biking with several routes crisscrossing the forest
- Tea Huts: Pop in for a brew in one of the historical tea huts at High Beech
- Spot the Asian Muntjac: The cute Muntjac is a small Asian deer that was originally introduced by the 11th Duke of Bedford that escaped and spread to Epping Forest.
- Angling: You can fish in 25 ponds and lakes in the forest as long as you stick to the fishing rules and have a rod license
Other family-friendly activities in the Epping area
- Royal Gunpowder Mills – special events like mad lab includes rocket making and launching
- Epping Ongar Railway – a heritage railway operated by volunteers
- Lee Valley Park Farms – take the kids to see some adorable farm animals
The forest has a range of wildlife and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has a prestigious history, with Henry VIII famously using the area for hunting.