What are the ingredients for a great family day out this summer?
Not familiar with Forty Hall? The Grade I Listed Jacobean mansion was built in the 1620s, and went through several transformations before being magnificently restored and reopened to the public in 2012.
As well as three tours to choose from, The Hall houses an exhibition, aimed at both adults and younger visitors, about the history of the estate and offers bespoke tours for groups. Why not get to know your surroundings before exploring further?
Beautiful gardens and parkland
Forty Hall sits in 260 acres of parkland which form part of the Green Belt around London, making it easy to feel like you're in the heart of the countryside, without venturing outside the M25.
The Grade II Listed Estate is a rare example of an intact 18th century landscape. Wander among an ornamental lake, medieval fishing ponds and streams. Explore a walled garden and pleasure grounds, and take in Georgian and Victorian flora and fauna. Forty Hall Estate is even home to one of the oldest Cedar of Lebanon trees in England.
Forty Hall Estate from Kingstreetimages on Vimeo.
Children's play areas
Looking for somewhere for younger explorers to let off steam? The children's play area, nestled in a copse in the parkland, was designed in conjunction with local school children — who better to know what kids want? There's plenty of climbing equipment, swings, a slide, and perhaps most exciting, a zip wire.
Of course, no trip to the countryside is complete without an animal or two. Forty Hall Farm is open to the public on weekends. There's a community orchard and vineyard on site, all maintained by volunteers, and a market garden, which supplies ultra fresh vegetables and salad to the Nice Green Cafe in the Hall and also to the Farm Shop, if you fancy taking home some greens. The Farm has a variety of animals, including rare breeds some of which will also end up on sale in the Farm Shop as organic meat. Adults £2, kids go free.
If you're looking for a special reason to make the trip, keep an eye on the events calendar for things happening in the hall, the parkland, and the farm. Here are a few of our picks for the summer:
Forty Hall has some of the best wildlife habitats in London. Get up close to the flora and fauna on this family wildlife walk through the grounds. Free, 18 July
Watch the English Civil War break out all over again with a weekend of re-enactment, complete with Musketeers and Pikemen. Talk to the soldiers, try on their armour and handle the weapons. Free, 25-26 July
Let the little ones get closer to nature at the Children's Family Fun Day, taking place in the parkland surrounding the Hall. Keep them busy with games on the lawn, or let them take to the stage in the talent show. Free, 2 August
Forty Hall has been reincarnated several times, as a Carolean house, a Georgian villa, and most recently a Victorian country house. The architecture tour offers an insight into these changes, and how and why they were made, plus a chance to get a closer look at some of the architectural features of the Great Hall. £5, 23 August
Who needs Glastonbury when Enfield has its own music festival on a farm? Livestock brings local musical talent to the stage (and the barn) for a family-friendly day of dancing. £4-£15, 29 August
Forty Hall is open to the public six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is free.