If you stick around in your little bubble of the big city, chances are you might not experience nature to its fullest all that often. And with autumn winging its way to the city, and the leaves starting to fall, there’s no better time to head out on a leaf-crunching wander around a forest. We suggest poking around on the outskirts of the city to experience the wonder of the lovely London forests that await you. Who knows? You might forget you’re in London altogether!
A slightly longer-than-usual trip along the Central line brings you to the edge of Epping Forest. A north-east London forest that spreads well into Essex, Epping Forest boasts over 6,000 acres of space to explore. It makes up London’s largest open space and makes for the perfect spot to unwind and get away from the stress of the city. An abundance of lakes, rivers, cute little bridges and plenty of Instagram-worthy spots live in this not-so-little gem.
🚇 Nearest stations are Epping and Woodford.
Between East Finchley and Highgate hides this gorgeous 28-hectare London forest—an ancient woodland nestled into the background of suburbia. 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 Wood offers you a little escape to the countryside without ever having to leave the city. And you’re sure to come across plenty of cute dogs as you stroll through these forests!
🚇 Nearest stations are Highgate and East Finchley.
3. Queen’s Wood
Queen’s Wood is situated on Muswell Hill and is grouped with four other ancient woods that are thought to have descended from the original ‘Wildwood’, which covered almost the entirety of Britain over five thousand years ago. It’s now a bit smaller and is a humble yet gorgeous example of one of London’s forests. With some remarkable walking paths, we’re sure this little patch of earthy heaven will leaf you feeling rejuvenated.
🚇 Nearest stations are Archway and Highgate.
4. Petts Wood
Petts Wood is part of the London Outer Orbital Walk and travels through the village-esque Bromley suburb. So, if you feel like a trek through the forests but don’t want to stray too far from home, then this is the woodland for you.
🚇 Nearest station is Petts Wood.
Fancy a picnic? Then all aboard to the Railway Fields Local Nature Reserve, a beautiful environment of wildlife and nature laid out on former railway land. Endorsed by Haringey Council, this north London space is in the heart of the local community. A little smaller in size than the other woodlands in this list but still boasting a wide variety of plant life, anyone with a green thumb is sure to love this reserve.
🚇 Nearest station is Haringey Green Lanes.
This secret spot in Hackney is full of surprises. The Wick Woodland is hidden away from the rest of Hackney Wick, but easy to find for those in the know. Just off the canal, it’s easy to get lost in this place—but I promise you won’t mind.
🚇 Nearest station is Hackney Wick.
Also published on Medium.