The opening of the View on Rangers Road in Chingford marked the climax of a major redevelopment of the Epping Forest Gateway.
The visitor centre displays some of the main themes, stories and habitats of the forest. It incorporates sustainable features such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting and also has a cafe.
The £4.8m cost of the gateway project was met by a £4.76m Heritage Lottery Fund award made to the forest's owner, the City of London Corporation.
Landscape improvements included a trail at nearby Connaught Water and new car park resurfacing.
The visitor centre sits next door to the grade II* listed Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, which was built for Henry VIII in 1543.