Valentines Mansion is open today for Open House weekend, but it’s also open every Tuesday and Sunday from 11am-3pm (check here for updated opening times).
And it’s free.
I mention it because it’s definitely one of the best equipped old-house-type places I’ve ever been to for young children, making it a good option for a rainy Sunday. And surely we are going to have some of those this Autumn…
But if the rain holds off, it’s set in beautiful walled gardens and with a big children’s playground a few minutes away. See Aline’s review of Valentine Park, here. There are also two cafes – one in the walled gardens, and another over by the playground which I think has more toddler-options.
The house is very grand, beautifully looked after, and flooded with light. So it’s a nice place to wander around for the adults too.
But nearly every room has stuff to do for kids:
One room downstairs has a rack of period costumes, a whole selection of board games, books, old-fashioned children’s toys and building blocks to play with on child-sized tables.
Best of all, the house has extensive kitchens with children’s toys to match the period cooking equipment! I love that they have managed to get a replica Victorian cooking range and fill it with pretend food.
Valentines Mansion, Ilford
Currently Tuesday and Sunday, 11am-3pm but check visitor info here as there are more open days and some events in school holidays.
Facilities and access
The house is wheelchair accessible, with a lift to the first floor. There’s a disabled loo in the house with baby changer. There are disabled badge parking spaces in the car park which is 2 minutes from the house. There are two cafes nearby (one in the gardens, one a few minutes’ walk away by the playground).