Forty hall is a charming giant 17th century dolls house, set in 107 acres of grounds on the very northern edge of London (see the Wikipedia article). It is owned and run by the London Borough of Enfield. Since its construction, it has been somewhat extended and a couple of very odd windows added. Otherwise, it is perfect. Its simple gardens are ideal for stolling and contemplation. Alongside it is a farm, run by Capel Manor, the local horticultural college. This includes a vineyard that produces very good, if rather expensive wine sometimes available in its student-run farm shop and some very authentic looking animals.
The high-roofed café is in part of what was the stables. It is pleasantly higgledy piggledy, with touches of junk shop in its decor. As well as the usual tea, coffee, home-made soup etc., they sell a selection of cakes baked with gusto on the premises. The radio is sometimes on, but is not intrusive, even to my sensitive ears.
The athmosphere is usually very calm and definitley condusive to conversation. It has terraces both front and back, both very sheltered, one in a large, bright, partly arcaded courtyard with delightfully bucolic Jacobean looking gateway (Wikipedia says 1650, but it looks as if the maker was remembering the style of his long lost youth) . The other faces into a grove of splendid trees, foremost among which is a cedar or Lebanon that was planted in 1770. Look out the splendid mid 19th century magnolia.
It gets busy on warm weekends, and there are always a few dog-walkers and retired folk around. There are pleasant walks to be had from the house,
Definitely, a favorite, in easy cycling distance from Enfield Town or Turkey Street stations. For those with the time, the best setting off point for a walk is probably Gordon Hill station about 1½ miles via Hillyfields park and the old course of the New River.
Forty Hall is a short walk by footpath from the beautiful gardens of Middleton House.
Café open: 7 days a week. 10-4 (November – March) 10-6 (April – October)
Enfield Middlesex EN2 9HA