ROYALTY opened a brand new visitors centre next to one of Henry VIII's old hunting lodges this morning.

The Duke of Gloucester, the official Ranger of Epping Forest, cut the tape to open The View visitors centre in Rangers Road, Chingford, today (July 12).

The centre explores the history of Epping Forest and the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, which dates back to 1543, built for England's infamous king just four years before his death.

The building, which opens to the public tomorrow, includes a timber walkway upstairs, from which people can enjoy similar views of the forest witnessed by King Henry and his cohorts in the hunting lodge nearly 500 years ago.

It follows the reopening of the 19th century Butler's Retreat Cafe in Chingford Plain in February, and both projects were made possible by a £4.76 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to owners the City of London Corporation.

The money also funded the resurfacing of a car park and a new nature trail at Connaught Waters, off Rangers Road.

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