If you’re stuck nicely in your comfort zone, which we’re gonna assume is somewhere between zones 1-3, then it’s likely that you don’t get to be at one with nature very often. Unless you count bonding with the pigeons outside your local chicken cottage, which so doesn’t count. We suggest that it’s time to poke your heads out of said comfort zones and experience the beauty of these forests and outdoor green spaces, you might actually forget you’re in London all together!
1. Epping Forest
A slightly longer than usual trip along the central line brings you to the edge of Epping Forest. Boardering north-east London and spreading well into Essex these 1700 approximate acres of forest make up London’s largest open space and are perfect to unwind away from the stress of the city. An abundance of lakes, rivers, cute little bridges and plenty of instagram perfect spots live in this not solittle gem.
Near stations: Epping, Woodford.
2. Highgate Wood
Between East Finchley and Highgate this gorgeous 28 hectare area of green space is an ancient woodlands nestled into the background of suburban north London. Supporting a variety of wildlife habitats you’ll see plenty of nature and little critters playfully contrasting the usual fast paced life of a Londoner. Highgate Woods offers you a little escape to the countryside without ever having to leave the city, how poetic.
Near stations: Highgate, East Finchley.
3. Queens Wood
Situated on Muswell Hill and grouped with 4 other ancient woods (including Highgate Wood) that are thought to have descended from the original ‘wildwood’ that covered almost the entirety of Britain over five thousand years ago (I say!) With some truly remarkable walking paths we’re sure this little patch of earthy heaven will LEAF you feeling refreshed before tackling London’s greyness again.
Near stations: Archway, Highgate.
4. Petts Wood
A little further out for those of you pearls too afraid to leave the oyster (zone 4 that is – yeah ok we’re trying a little too hard here). Part of the London Outer Orbital Walk travels through this village-esque Bromley suburb of south-west London. So if you feel like a trek but don’t want to stray too far from home (think the opposite of Bilbo Baggins’ I’m going on an adventure!) then this is the ‘forest’ for you.
Near stations: Petts Wood.
5. Railway Fields Local Nature Reserve
Okay so this definitely isn’t a forest, but if we could just pretend that it’s a fun-sized forest that would be really helpful. Okay thanks. Fancy a picnic? Then all abroad to Railway Fields reserve. A beautiful environment of wildlife and nature laid out on former railway land. Endorsed by Haringey council this north London green-space is in the heart of the local community. A little smaller in size than the other woodlands, (especially in comparison to Epping Forest), but still boasting a wide flora of various plant life, any one with a green thumb is sure to love this reserve.
Near stations: Haringey Green Lanes.