The Epping Forest Hotel is a handy base from which to explore London’s West End and the City. Situated two minutes from London’s North Circular Road and a mile from South Woodford Tube Station, it has great transport links to the capital as well as access to the forest itself.
Covering over 6,000 acres and home to many ancient trees, Epping Forest is the largest outdoor public area in Greater London. Its many attractions include Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, commissioned by Henry VIII in 1543 as a base from which he could watch or participate in a spot of deer hunting.
Less than three miles from the hotel is the William Morris Gallery, a Grade II listed house in which he lived as a boy. It contains 600 items including his first wallpaper design and other designs, fabrics, carpets and stained glass.
The hotel building is functional rather than pretty, but images of woodland creatures and an imaginative reception area give it a relaxed feel. A friendly receptionist quickly checked us in and our room was spacious with all the usual facilities including free wifi. Having settled into our room and unpacked, we headed out to explore the some of the local places of interest.
Later in the day we made for the bar for a pre-dinner drink. Many hotel bars can be a little impersonal, full of people who don’t know each other and don’t converse. However, this hotel bar also acts as a meeting point for nearby residents, their presence making the bar feel more like a friendly local pub.
The restaurant area adjoins the bar and you can, of you prefer, eat in the bar. The menu offers a good choice of Pub Grub although we were told on more than one occasion that if there was anything else we wanted we should ask. Starters include items such as Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta, Chicken Caesar Salad and Prawn Filo Twisters, which I can personally vouch for. Main courses include a choice of chicken, lamb, salmon, and steak as well as pizza, beef stew, mussels, burgers and gourmet sandwiches.
Portions were on the large side but if you make it to desserts then items such as apple crumble, chocolate pot and Eton Mess are all there to enjoy.
Service was pleasant and efficient and throughout our stay the courtesy and helpfulness of the staff was something we particularly noticed.
And so to bed, but we had exhausted the contents of our hospitality tray so we stopped by reception, with its interesting wall panels, to see if we could re-stock. A large basket of tea, coffee, milk and other items was immediately produced from under the counter and we helped ourselves to the items we needed.
The bed was large and comfortable and the pillows just the right balance between fluffy and supportive. We slept soundly.
Breakfast was the usual buffet style and there was a good choice, although again we were invited to ask for anything we did not see.
We went back to our room, checked messages using the efficient wifi service then packed our case and said good-bye to yet another cheerful and pleasant member of staff.
The Epping Forest Hotel's location is ideal for exploring London, the beds very comfortable, food comes in generous portions and the staff were amongst the friendliest we have encountered.
For more information, visit www.eppingforesthotel.co.uk or call 020 8787 9988
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Epping Forest Hotel
If you go down to the woods today ....