Valentines Mansion

Cooking pretend food in the Valentines kitchens.

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.

Light coming into the pantry and some strange pretend cheese…

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.

Brilliant 18th-century style wallpaper at Valentines Mansion

But nearly every room has stuff to do for kids:

Lots of period costumes to dress up in…

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.


The real ovens…

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.

…and the play version right next to them.


Valentines Mansion, Ilford


Ilford – click here for a map and here for info on public transport options.


Currently Tuesday and Sunday, 11am-3pm but check visitor info here as there are more open days and some events in school holidays.

How much?


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).


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