Epping Forest: Site Visit to The Royal Forest Hotel, Chingford

As regular readers of my blog will be aware, in February this year I talked about the fact the Heartwood Collection acquired long-term lease from the City of London Corporation on The Royal Forest Hotel in Chingford, adjacent to the Epping Forest Visitor Centre, Queen Elizabeth I’s Hunting Lodge and Butler’s Retreat.

I was delighted to meet with the group’s Property Director, design and fit-out teams on site this afternoon to discuss their plans and see how they’re getting on with the reconfiguration in this historic building. The Heartwood Collection are investing over 4 million pounds of capital into the building and hope to open pre-Christmas 2024.

The exterior of the building will remain structurally unchanged beyond a new restaurant doorway and some outside seating to the front of the property, however, the interior is being reimagined to facilitate a pub to the left-hand-side of the building (if you are facing the building from Ranger’s Road), a restaurant to the right of the building, with outdoor seating area and the car park will remain to the rear, overlooking the beautiful Chingford Plains. There are also plans to create some hotel suites within the left hand side of the building overlooking Chingford Golf Course.

The Heartwood Collection have also now acquired the lease from Premier Inn for the hotel to the rear of the property. Readers may be interested to know that the Heartwood Collection recently opened the doors to their first ‘pub with rooms’, at The White Horse in Dorking. You can click on this link to take a look at the design and charter of that building, which I understand will be similar to that proposed at The Royal Forest Hotel.

I am also informed that there is a desire to ensure the building is welcoming and accessible for Forest visitors, including plans to accommodate dogs in the pub and hotel.

The team have told me that they change menus quarterly to ensure they’ve got the freshest food from each season, which will all be cooked onsite/in-house. They have a 3 star accreditation from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and have also just been awarded a Best Place to Work by the Sunday Times, which I think talks about their culture and ethos. The other award they received this year was Best Pub Group, which celebrated their approach to food, and setting the right atmospheric tone as a great local pub with local cask ales on tap and being a family friendly environment.

From Epping Forest’s perspective, we are looking forward to continued engagement with the new tenants and particularly welcome their desire to respect and celebrate the unique history and heritage of the building and its surrounding ancient woodland.

Outlined below is some of my candid images showing the work in progress as part of the internal strip-out.

10 thoughts on “Epping Forest: Site Visit to The Royal Forest Hotel, Chingford

  1. I hope you have left the beautiful staircase as you walked in the foyer,my mother worked there many years ago when it was a thriving venue and hotel.It had a wonderful dance hall,with many famous acts performing,looking forward to seeing the end results.

  2. Well done for posting this information x there has been so much uncertainty around the site and this is wonderful news x thank you

  3. Sounds very tastefully (excuse the pun) done and in keeping with character and surroundings- can’t wait to visit ❤️ thank you for this!

  4. Look forward to the finished restaurant will you be taking reservations for Christmas Dinner on the 25th have NZ family coming over for Christmas it would be a beautiful place to go eight persons if so can you provide costs thankyou x

  5. Looking forward to the new project with excitement as for many years this beautiful historic building has not been to its full potential for all the community and visitors to the forest.

    My thoughts are a deli somewhere as you can not buy a loaf of bread or pint of milk for the thousands of visitors from London off of the trains. You can only purchase at Tesco the other end of the high street. Many years ago we had Cheney’s a beautiful typical English deli way ahead of its time that serviced all traffic and residents nothing has ever replaced this need.

  6. Fantastic! A superb building, fantastic location, if the food, service and interiors are as good, it’s a win win for all! Looking forward to the opening as the new must go to destination.

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