Young Photographer of the Year returns to Valentines Mansion

In 2016, the Natural History Museum of London ran its annual Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and the winner was none other than a local resident of Redbridge. Just 16 years of age at the time, Gideon Knight triumphed over thousands of international entrants and was awarded this highly prestigious award, often referred to as the ‘Oscars of wildlife photography’.

Throughout September, Gideon Knight will be returning to Valentines Mansion with another very special exhibition, featuring not only the winning image, but a selection of Gideon’s favourite images of wildlife, all taken in our very own Valentines Park.

The stunning photographs have captured the wildlife that can be found in Redbridge, and highlights the colours, behaviour and weather of each of the year’s seasons. From the flowers of the spring, the new born animals of summer and rich russets of autumn to the bleakness of winter. The images will take you through a year in the life of the animals that call the borough their home.

Autumns Russet by Gideon Knight

A red fox vixen rests among a fall of autumn leaves. The warm oranges and reds of the leaves blend with the fox’s rich coat.

Gideon first exhibited at Valentines Mansion in 2017 with ‘The Wildlife of Valentines’ and will be returning with a new set of images, as well as the strikingly beautiful photograph, The Moon and the Crow, which won him the Natural History Museum award.

Gideon commented “I am really honoured to be exhibiting once again at Valentines Mansion with a selection of new images of local wildlife. This exhibition aims not just to show the beauty of wildlife that can be found in Redbridge but to also celebrate the natural beauty and colours of the four seasons”.

The exhibition, ‘The Four Seasons of Redbridge’ will be open every Sunday & Tuesday between the 1 and 29 September, 11am-4pm, with free entry. Prints of the stunning photographs will be available to buy at the Mansion.

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Master the art of floristry at Valentines Mansion

Get creative in the new floral masterclass at Valentines Mansion. Led by a qualified florist, not only will this class be great fun, but also the chance to learn a skill for life.

Paying tribute to the colourful history of the Mansion, the class will take you back in time and recreate a traditional table arrangement, typical of what would have been used to decorate Valentines during the Victorian and Georgian eras. During the time of Sir Charles Raymond, as well as the Holcombe’s and Ingleby’s, the Mansion would have been adorned with such arrangements, using flowers freshly picked from the Valentines Gardens.

With all materials supplied, including a stylish ceramic planter, all you need to bring is yourself. Fresh flowers in seasonal colours will be used to create your masterpiece, and our expert tutor will equip you with lots of tips and techniques to get the most from your blooms – guidance we’re sure will come in handy when you practice your new skill back at home. Flower arrangements make wonderful gifts, which you’ll be able to make yourself after this workshop!

The ‘English Cottage Garden Floral Masterclass’ will take place on Friday 23 August at 7pm to 8.30pm, and tickets are now on sale for just £45, which includes all materials, as well as refreshments. Pre-booking is essential via

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It’s Party Time at Valentines Mansion!

Valentines Mansion turned 10 this year and the celebrations continue this summer with a big party for little visitors. With all the things that make a fantastic children’s party, this not-to-be-missed event promises to be a great day out for all.

Taking place on Thursday 22 August, children can look forward to a day of party games, including the all-time favourites, pass the parcel and musical chairs. There will be arts and crafts including a big birthday cake which needs decorating with lots of candles. Also, no celebration would be complete without a birthday card – children can get busy and creative making their special one for the Mansion.

The Mansion’s birthday is the perfect excuse to get glammed up – face painters will be available throughout the day with lots of designs perfect for boys and girls to choose from.

No party would be complete without a good old sing-along! Visit the Gallery and join in with party songs and perhaps even a little wiggle!

Guests are in for a treat with the main event – Mr Kinder, a fantastic children’s entertainer will be at the Mansion entertaining guests with some very special magic shows that are sure to WOW both the children and parents.

And that’s not all! Children will also enjoy badge and mask making, as well as joining in with fun trails around the house and gardens (with prizes at the end!).

Tickets are now on sale for ‘Birthday Fun’ via the ticket office at £8 per child, the event is suitable for 5 years plus and will take place on Thursday 22 August between 11am-4pm. Pre-booking essential although there may be a small number of tickets available at the door, please call 020 8708 8100 for further details.

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An Artistic Tribute to Ten Years

Valentines Mansion will come alive during the summer with celebratory art, made by some of the most talented artists in the borough. In celebration of the grade II* building having been open to the public for 10 years, the Mansions’ studio artists have each created a piece in their specific medium to mark this special milestone.

From Sunday 4 August, visitors will enjoy browsing ceramics, paintings, lino prints, willow weaving, wood engravings and more, all created in the artists’ studios on the top floor of the Mansion. Through their individual approaches and interests they have reflected on the past ten years, with unique creations in their individual style.

One piece already on display brings together the house and gardens in a truly innovative way. Jason Rose’s organic painting of a secretary bird, made using leaves, flowers, feathers and twigs, pays homage to one of the Mansion’s previous residents, Sir Charles Raymond, who is thought to have adorned the Mansion with exotic imports from the East during his time with the East India Company. A secretary bird, native to Africa, is thought to have roamed the Mansion grounds during the mid-17th century. “I felt this exotic bird would be an ideal subject for my piece – fusing the Mansion of today with the Mansion of yesterday” commented Jason.

Visitors will have to get up close to admire the beauty of some of Julian Walker’s work. His miniature pieces measuring just 9cm by 7cm, have been skillfully engraved with images of Valentines Mansion. “Wood-engraving is a printing method that uses the end grain of hardwood as the printing surface. Allowing fine details and white-line drawing, the technique has been widely used in book illustration. These images were cut on boxwood slices” comments Julian.Artist Lisa Atkin’s work is centred around the strange and ghostly goings on recorded on a “Frank’s Box”, a device used to supposedly communicate with the dead, during an evening of paranormal investigations at the Mansion. A group of ghost hunters set up a specially made device in Lisa’s studio and tuned in to communications from the other side. “The results were alarming indeed!” says Lisa. Her second installation combines her love of willow weaving with this paranormal activity – an impressive woven Ghost Catcher will hang in the Victorian Kitchen for the duration of August.

Other works include a three-part ceramic vase by artist Cinzia Castellano, made specifically to hold a cutting of the Hampton Court Vine, which is already on display at the Mansion, as well as framed lino prints depicting the Mansion’s last resident, Sarah Ingelby, by artist Sadia Ur-Rehman.

The other artists taking part are Louise Moore and Amanda Seljubac.

The studio artists exhibition ‘Decade’ will take place every Sunday to Wednesday between 4th and 28th August, 11am-4pm, with free entry.

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Schools almost out and the fun’s about to start at Valentines Mansion

Don’t worry about having to keep the kids entertained during the school holidays, bring them over to Valentines Mansion & Gardens! We’ll be open an extra two days each week during August, meaning even more fun days out at the Mansion. And we’ve got lots of activities planned to keep the little ones entertained:

Let the kids get crafty using a variety of craft materials, including twigs from the Valentines gardens to create their own Jolly Jellyfish & Crazy Crabs. Wednesday 31 July, 11.30am-12.30pm, 5yrs+, £5 per child.

Enjoy watching the children getting hands-on and learning to weave! Using cardboard looms and colourful yarn, children will make a lovely keepsake to take home. Wonderful Weaves, Wednesday 7 August, 11.30am-12.30pm, 5yrs+, £5

If you’re looking to keep the kids energised during the holidays, this next event is perfect! Let them get their groove on in our fun and energetic Bollywood dance classes led by D-Style Dance. Monday 12 August, 11am-11.45am (4-7 year olds) and 12pm-1pm (8 years plus) 4yrs+, £6 (4-7 year olds), £8 (8 years plus).

Another chance to get crafty with ‘Cats & Dogs’ during mid-August. In this workshop, kids will be taught to make their very own cardboard cats and dogs and decorate them using a variety of craft materials. Wednesday 14 August, 11.30am-12.30pm, 5yrs+, £5

In our next workshop, we’ll practice the intricate art of origami to make cool caterpillars and lovely ladybirds – the kids will love showing these off to friends and family back at home! Origami Insects, Wednesday 21 August, 11.30am-12.30pm, 5yrs+, £5

End the holidays feeling sky high in our final activity! Participants will enjoy getting crafty and creating hot air balloons hanging from a happy cloud. Flying High, Wednesday 28 August, 11.30am-12.30pm, 5yrs+, £5

As well as these activities, a visit to Valentines is always so much fun. Have fun getting dressed up in Victorian and Georgian costumes as you step back in time and explore the Mansion and spot the portraits of the previous owner. Pick up a free visitor guide from Reception – we’ve picked out all the highlights and this fantastic leaflet also includes child-friendly questions and activities. The gardens are always lovely to stroll through. With the kitchen garden packed full of fruits, vegetables and herbs to spot, as well as the long water to take a picnic by, and the Gardener’s Cottage Café to pick up an ice cream from, a day out at Valentines is always so much fun!

School holiday opening times:

Every Sunday – Wednesday (from Sunday 29 July – Wednesday 28 August), 11am-4pm, Free entry.

All school holiday activities must be pre-booked. Visit for full details.

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Valentines Mansion – Celebrating a Decade

Ten years have passed since Valentine’s Mansion opened its doors to the public for the very first time. Since that Valentine’s Day in 2009 when thousands of visitors queued excitedly for their first glimpse of the newly restored building, the public’s’ love for the Mansion has grown and grown.

We’ve had some fantastic moments over the last decade, from brilliant exhibitions and events, to beautiful weddings and celebrations, and lots of high profile activities that shot Valentines into the limelight – The Great British Bake Off, Her Majesty The Queens Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay – no name but a few.

To mark this important anniversary, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and asking you to share your fondest memories of Valentines Mansion from the last ten years. So cast your mind back – perhaps you took part in a creative workshop, enjoyed a family outing, or did you get married at the Mansion? Whatever it is, we’d love to hear from you. Send us your memories and help us create a special display for visitors to enjoy over the summer. If you don’t have photos of your visit to Valentines, write us a quote, a limerick, send us a sketch of your memory – whatever you fancy!

We’ll start you off with a few, these are some of our best bits from the last decade….

Opening Day - Saturday 14 February 2009

Opening Day – Saturday 14 February 2009

Crowds gather for Her Majesty The Queen, 2012

Crowds gather for Her Majesty The Queen, 2012

Her Majesty The Queen visits Valentines Mansion as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012

Her Majesty The Queen visits Valentines Mansion as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012

The Olympic Torch is carried past Valentines Mansion

The Olympic Torch is carried past Valentines Mansion

Recognise this - The Great British Bake Off at Valentines Mansion

Recognise this? The Great British Bake Off at Valentines Mansion

There are lots of ways you can get involved.  Share your memories on our social media pages:

Alternatively, you can email

We look forward to hearing from you! This display can be seen at Valentines Mansion every Sunday – Wednesday during august, 11am-4pm, free entry.

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Feathers and Petals Create Exhibition Masterpiece

This summer, in the year which marks ten years since the restoration of Valentines Mansion, our studio artists will be coming together for a special exhibition which opens at the beginning of August. For “Decade”, each of the artists will showcase a piece in their individual specialisms, be it painting, ceramics or fused glass or other.

Jason Rose, a painter, has created something completely unique which celebrates the history of Valentines Mansion in an innovative and interesting way. Using natural materials found in the Mansion’s gardens, such as petals, twigs, blossoms and feathers, he has created an organic painting made entirely of gifts offered by Valentines Gardens. And what makes this creation all the more special is the subject matter of the artwork.

A secretary bird is the chosen concept for Jason’s exhibit, for this his snake-eating exotic creature, native to Africa, once roamed Valentines Gardens. During the in the mid-17th century, when Sir Charles Raymond resided at Valentines, it is though the retired East India Company ship’s captain adorned the Mansion and it’s gardens with imports from the East, one of which included this impressive bird of prey.
“I felt this exotic bird would be an ideal subject for my piece – fusing the Mansion of today with the Mansion of yesterday.

It was no easy task creating this masterpiece and took over two months from start to finish, from originally collecting the materials from the gardens to adding the finishing touches. But it was a process Jason enjoyed thoroughly.

Picking feathers from Valentines Gardens

Picking organic material from Valentines Gardens

“It was lovely to be out in the beautiful Mansion gardens collecting material. It was a satisfying process – separating all the materials into different tones and seeing the image come alive. I love the idea of a changing organic image – some of the flowers such as the dandelions have been pressed to keep their colour. Other flowers and elements will change colour.”

Work in progress

The artwork will be on display in the Mansion’s Gallery as part of the Studio Artists Exhibition “Decade”, every Sunday to Wednesday between the 4th & 28th August, free entry.

For more information, visit

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Traditional Crafts Make A Comeback to Valentines Mansion

As Valentines Mansion celebrates 10 years of being open to the public, two of the resident studio artists have come together to offer a unique selection of creative workshops to the public.

For the first time, artists Sadia Ur-Rehman and Amanda Seljubac have joined forces to create Artlab, a collaboration bringing their creative skills and expertise to a series of workshops throughout the year, each giving participants the chance to try their hand at a variety of traditional crafts.

Several of the workshops have already taken place, including soapstone carving, mosaic making and lino printmaking – and they’ve been hugely popular.

Participants are enjoying the chance to have a go at these traditional handicrafts; many of them have been forgotten. But thankfully, they’re making a comeback and it’s fashionable now to weave and get involved in a bit of block printing” commented Amanda.

Soapstone Carving

Soapstone Carving

Lino Print Making

Mosaic Making

And where better to have a go than in the historic Valentines Mansion, where many of these crafts would have been practiced by former residents many years ago?

Still to come in the series of workshops is:

Tapestry Weaving, Wednesday 12 June. Participants will learn how to set up and warp their loom, create a fringe for their unique wall hanging and start weaving.

Hand Applique, Wednesday 10 July. Discover the art of applique – a versatile sewing technique using layers of fabric.

Tea Cup Painting & Make Your Own Tea, Wednesday 14 August. Design and paint your very own tea cup and saucer in this unique workshop. During the session you will also make your own tea bags using loose leaf tea and a variety of spices.

Block Printing, Wednesday 11 September. Create your own custom-printed tote bag. You’ll not only learn how to block print, but also how to carve designs on to printing blocks, giving you a totally unique and personal creation.

Mark Making with Natural Tools, Wednesday 16 October. A unique workshop exploring a series of easy and exciting ways to create imagery and pattern using natural and unusual tools.

Punch Needle Embroidery, Wednesday 13 November. A modern take on the ancient craft of rug hooking, you will create your own piece of wall art after practising the skill of punch needle embroidery.

Christmas Printmaking, Wednesday 11 December. Using the traditional method of lino printing you will learn how to design and create your very own cards, gift tags and wrapping paper in this festive workshop.

Sadia commented “What’s great about these workshops is that participants will go away having learnt a skill for life, which is invaluable.”

The classes are each priced at £45 per person and all take between 11am-2pm.
All materials for each 3 hour workshop are provided, plus refreshments.

For full details and tickets, visit

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Half Term Fun at the Mansion

If you’re looking for ways to entertain the children during the half term break, why not bring them over to Valentines Mansion & Gardens?  With hundreds of years of history to explore and the gorgeous outdoors, it’s the perfect day out for the whole family.

Inside the Mansion, which is free entry, you can step back in time and visit the restored period rooms, and get a feel of what is was like to live in this wonderful house from when it was built over 320 years ago!  The Victorian kitchen is a real treat for kids and adults alike, with its pantry, scullery and kitchen packed full of lots interesting objects – have fun guessing what they were used for!

Victorian Kitchen at Valentines Mansion & Gardens

The little ones will love dressing up the Victorian and Georgian costumes and really getting a feel for what it would have been like to live here.  These are available every open day for younger visitors to enjoy.

Visit on Bank Holiday Monday and you can take part in the Indoor & Outdoor Explorers trail.  Just £2 per child, they’ll have fun hunting around the house and beautiful gardens for hidden objects and clues before picking up a treat at the end.  11am-4pm, last trail 3pm.

The gardens are always a real treat, with lots to see and explore – have a look around the kitchen garden and see all the fruits and vegetables growing out there, take a walk along the Long Water, pose for a photo with our tree-carved owl and stop for an ice-cream at the Gardener’s Cottage Café – you’ll have a great day out at Valentines Mansion.

IMG_55401 Valentines Mansion will be open during half term between Sunday 26 May and Wednesday 29 May, 11am-4pm.  Free entry (events charged for separately).

For more information visit

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Looks Whooo’s Moved in!

The gardens at Valentines are home to many species of bird, including Blue and Great Tits, Sparrows and Starlings, and not to mention the chirpy characters in the aviary.

And now, we have a new member – a Tawney Owl, but not as you know it! The sycamore tree which previously stood tall between the Mansion and gardens, has been transformed by a chainsaw artist from Natural Garden Sculptures, into a giant version of the wise creature.

The tree, which was rooted here for approximately 80 to 100 years, sadly became diseased. Fortunately, rather than losing the tree altogether, the artist was commissioned to create a permanent work of art for visitors and park lovers to enjoy.

Marshall, a local artist who has previously worked his magic in other parts of the borough, was commissioned to create the 8ft sculpture. Simon Litt, Valentines Park Manager commented “We wanted to celebrate 10 years since the restoration of Valentines Gardens with something special and this seemed like the perfect choice. The chance to save a tree that has lived here for many years with a piece of art for all to enjoy.”


The structure can be found just by the entrance to the walled kitchen garden.

For more information contact Valentines Mansion on 0208 7088100.


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