We might be biased, but London is simply the best city in the world.
But there are times when even we want to escape the hustle and bustle for some greener pastures.
And there’s a brilliant place not too far away that’s just the ticket.
High Beech in Epping Forest is your classic charming country village, with a horse-riding school, two pubs and many forest paths to meander along – yet it is in the Greater London Urban Area, which means it is technically counted as being within London.
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(Image: City of London Corporation)
Travelling a mere 11 miles north east from Central London, you will encounter High Beech, the only settlement inside Epping Forest.
You might pass the quaint Holy Innocents church surrounded by forest, or make a stop at either The Kings Oak or The Owl pubs when you get there, or maybe a local tea hut.
The pub itself has been around for the last 200 years. Its name is linked to the legend that an oak tree was planted here in memory of King Harold who died at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
(Image: Nigel Cox)
An alternative legend is that it was so named because King Henry VIII rested here under a tree while waiting for the news that Anne Boleyn had been beheaded.
Epping Forest itself is a 2,400 hectare ancient woodland stretching some 12 miles from Manor Park in East London to just north of Epping in Essex.
It is nationally and internationally important for conservation, with two thirds of it being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.
(Image: supplied anon)
The Forest offers a great range of activities, including walking, dog walking, orienteering, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, football, golf, cricket, boating, seasonal running events and family-friendly events all year round.
Near its heart is the Epping Forest Visitor Centre at High Beech, which has a huge amount of information on London’s Great Forest’s wildlife.
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In fact, as soon as warm weather hit the UK during lockdown, High Beech was one of the destinations people descended on to gather for drinks and picnics – so many that Epping Forest’s managers had to urge people to stick to Covid rules and only visit the site if they lived locally.
If only to see what all the fuss is about, it must be worth a visit now.
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