Countdown to Christmas at Valentines

With just a month to go until our much-loved Christmas Fair and Artists’ Open Studios, we’re busy working on the final touches to this fantastic event. Read on for more details of the carefully selected designers, makers and artists that will be taking part and bringing you the most wonderful collection of Christmas gifts.

The Artists Open Studios will take place on both Saturday 2 December and Sunday 3 December, and the Christmas Fair will take place on the Sunday only.


Artists Open Studios
This year, the artists’ studios will be open over two days – Saturday and Sunday. If you haven’t already visited, you’re in for a treat! Venture to the top floor of the mansion, which were historically the servants’ quarters, and browse the interesting and colourful studios from which our artists create their amazing work. Paintings, stained glass, pottery, fused glass, willow, felt and more – you’ll get to meet the artists and see how their work is made. If you’re looking for unique gifts, this is the place to go.

• Why should grown-ups have all the fun?! Artist Amanda Seljubac will be giving our younger visitors the opportunity to make their very own fused glass Christmas Tree decorations. A fun 15-minute workshop suitable for children aged 8 years and above. Drop into her studio anytime between 10am-3pm, £5 per child, payable on the day, no need to pre-book.
• Unicorns are all the rage at the moment, so it’s just perfect that painter Jason Rose will be selling personalised paintings of this mythical creature, complete with glitter to make them shimmer! Simply pop into his studio and ask him to add the name of your choice to your preferred design. 10am-4pm.
• Meet our new artist Cinzia Castellano, and abstract painter from Florence and browse her wonderful collection of work.

Creative Workshops
Although the rest of the Mansion will be closed on the Saturday, we’re holding a few festive workshops to get you in prepared for the seasonal celebrations.

Traditional Christmas Table Arrangement
Impress your guests this Christmas with your very own handmade table arrangement using a mixture of cones, berries and baubles. 11am-12noon or 2pm-3pm, £15 per person. BOOK HERE & FIND OUT MORE

Traditional Christmas Table Ring
Using fresh flowers, Christmas foliage, cones and berries, you will learn to create an amazing centrepiece for your Christmas meal. 12.30pm-1.30pm, £20 per person. BOOK HERE & FIND OUT MORE


It’s back! We’re so excited about this year’s Christmas Fair, and you should be too!! We’ve meticulously chosen the best designers, makers and artists to bring you a brilliant selection of stalls where you’ll find something for everyone. From jewellery and accessories, to candles and home décor, and not forgetting delicious edible treats –  we’ve got it covered. Read on for a taster of what’s in-store…

Interior accessories and gift items made from 100% wool, including cushiosn, slippers, bags and purses.   Sprinkled with Maisey Dust
Personalised gifts made from wood, glass and textiles, including Christmas treat plates and mugs.

The Candy Stop
A variety of locally sourced flavoured fudge and Chocolate baubles.

AK Beads Jewellery
Stunning handmade pieces of jewellery and accessories by a local designer.

Jewelled Buddha
Ethical retailer offering accessories handmade by artisans across the globe.

Iola Henri
Hand printed and handmade collection including lampshades, cushions and printed T-shirts.

Honey Heaven
Hungarian creamed honeys flavoured with herbs and spices.

Kiki’s House Handmade Soaps
Handmade soaps, candles, wax melst and bath bombs that look and smell good enough to eat!

Stepping Lightly Foods
Homemade jams and chutneys in delicious flavours.

Maddog Cottage Creations
Handmade scented soy wax candles and reed diffusers and jewellery inspired by the seashore.

Dr Beekeeper
Luxurious local and worldwide honey in a wide range of falvours.

Pierce Braysher Illustration
Breathtaking portrait prints of wild animals such as Tigers, Bears and Giraffes and a selection of Garden Birds and portraits of robotic animals and insects, plus greeting cards, and hand-printed T-shirts.

Nicky’s Little Kitchen

Take a break from the shopping and treat yourself to delicious crepes in sweet and savoury flavours by Nicky’s Little Kitchen.

This is just a selection, come along for a unique shopping experience at the Mansion. Sunday 3 December, 10am-4pm, FREE ENTRY.

Reminder of what’s happening:
Saturday 2 December – Artists Open Studios & Creative Workshops (rest of the Mansion will be closed)
Sunday 3 December – Christmas Fair & Artists Open Studios

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Artisan Market to brings delicious treats to Valentines

On Sunday 29 October, pop along to Valentines Mansion and pick up a selection of delicious food and drink to share with friends and family, and enjoy a glass of bubbles (or two!) while you’re here.

From creamed honeys and vegan cakes, to hot paella and fresh olives, we’ve got a fine selection of edible specialties for you to choose from. Below are just some of suppliers we’ve handpicked for you:

Simply Brownies

Simply Brownies are handmade using Guernsey butter, organic chocolate and quality ingredients, to ensure that you get the most delicious brownies. Once you’ve tried one, no other brownie will do!

The Fizzical Company

A beautifully quirky and charming van serving up Frizzante, a light Italian sparkling wine made from Glera Grapes.

Pots of Passion

A selection of handmade chocolate goodies, including hot chocolate spoons in a variety of flavours.

Honey Heaven

A gorgeous selection of creamed honeys in a selection of mouth-watering flavours.

Pimento Paella

Aromatic fresh paella from Pimento Paella – experts in fusing flavours and creating authentic flavours.

This is just a taster of the food and drink stalls we’ll have at Valentines Mansion on Sunday 29 October – make sure you come along with the whole family for a great day out!


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Young Photographer of the Year to Exhibit at 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 October, Valentines Mansion will host a 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 strikingly beautiful winning photo, “The Moon and the Crow” was taken on a cold January, whilst Gideon was shooting by the lake which had frozen over, when he was struck by the beauty of a carrion crow, perched among the spindly branches of a sycamore, and silhouetted by an almost full moon rising through the blue twilight. Gideon was quick to capture the sight, which led to him bagging this prestigious award.

Gideon’s love of photography started at a very young age, and what started out as a pastime, has turned into a passion for wildlife.

“I’ve been taking images since a young age, but it wasn’t until I was about eleven that I started photographing wildlife. It all began for me as a method of recording the birds I’d see in my garden and has led from there into a medium for artistic expression and a way to convey to people the beauty of the natural world.” comments Gideon.

The prestigious title has opened many new doors for Gideon, with him being featured in several magazines, including the Amateur Photographer.

“The competition has opened new doors for me and should lead to some exciting opportunities in the future.”

The exhibition in the Mansions’ Gallery will be open every Sunday and Tuesday between 1 and 31 October, with free entry to visitors. The display also includes a special collaboration with studio artist Amanda Seljubac, who’ll be re-creating the winning photograph as a fused glass lightbox. “I’m thrilled to be working on this project supporting a local young local talent. Gideon’s image is breath taking, and the colours and style are the perfect combination to be fused on to glass.” said Amanda.

Gideon went on to say “I grew up in Ilford, and over the last six years Valentines Park has been the place I’ve done most of my photography. To have my work displayed here is a great honour, and I hope that it encourages people to notice and appreciate the wildlife of the park.”

Valentines Mansion is proud to be supporting another local talent and promoting and highlighting their work and achievements, not only locally, but to a much wider community.  Gideon is exceptionally gifted, and we are honoured and  proud to have his outstanding work on display in our Gallery.  As soon as we discovered Gideon had been awarded this very prestigious prize, we contacted him with a keen interest in working together, as we knew his story would be an inspiration to many, and we are pleased to have been able to assist him in reaching an audience that are sure to love his work.

Wildlife of Valentines, 1 – 31 October (Tuesdays and Sundays), free entry.

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Show your love for Valentines Park!

People’s Choice vote to find the UK’s top 10 favourite parks is now open!

This is the your chance to show much your favourite park means to you – vote for your best outdoor space People’s Choice Awards 2017.

All the UK’s 1,797 award winning Green Flag Award parks are eligible, of which Valentines Park is one.  Last year, Valentines Park made it into the Top 10 – that’s a staggering achievement given the huge number of parks included.

This year, we’re aiming high – for the top spot, and with your help, we can get there!  Voting is quick and simple, no personal data needs to be entered, just click to vote.

The closing date for votes is the 30th September – so there’s no time link the present to have your say!  You can vote for more than one park, but you can’t vote for the same park twice from the same device. If you would like to vote for the same park more than once please use another device.

Let’s show everyone how fantastic Valentines Park is – vote here now!

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Spicing It Up!

Artist Jason Rose has been spicing it up in his studio at Valentines Mansion in preparation for the Studio Artists upcoming exhibition.

Throughout August, Valentines Mansion will be taking part in the UK/India Year of Culture celebrations, a nationwide initiative to celebrate the long standing relationship between the two countries. There will be a variety of themed events during the month, including the Studio Artists Exhibition, which will showcase their interpretation of this celebration, in the year which also marks 70 years since India’s independence.

Jason’s piece for the upcoming exhibition will be cleverly painted using spices commonly used in Indian cuisine – tumeric, masala, mango powder, rose petals, cardamom & more.

“I always like to try new things” commented Jason, “and I like experimenting with textures, and this exhibition provided the perfect opportunity.  I’m enjoying trying all the spices for colour to create the perfect tones and shades for my exhibition piece.”

His totally unique masterpiece will go on display when the exhibition opens on Tuesday 1 August with free entry, and every Sunday – Wednesday thereafter until Wednesday 31 August.

Can you guess what he’s painting?

From Bollywood Dance classes to encounters with exotic animals, and even a very special tea party, we’ve got lots coming up for all ages during August.  Click here for full details.


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Coming Soon – In Search of Gold

This September, The Gallery at Valentines Mansion will be host to a very special exhibition – “In Search of Gold” by local artist Eliyah Quereshi from Barkingside.

In Search of Gold is portraiture which gives prominence to bees, subtly crafted from gold acrylic and ink. The bee is vulnerable yet commands great power within nature, and the collection seeks to accentuate the melancholy of this paradox. The exhibition will be accompanied by workshops and meet the artist session.

Eliyah Qureshi

“I make art to show my soul I am listening. Art is what defines me; I talk in paint and ink, not vowels and consonants. Through art, I process what I have experienced in life.” – Eliyah Qureshi

Eliyah is a Pakistani-born contemporary artist who is known for her conceptual ink drawings and portraiture. The artist has lived and worked in East London for over a decade and is currently exploring the concepts of beauty, acceptance and adaptation. Her most recent work includes a series of abstract acrylic paintings which feature striking, poignant portraits of performers such as Adele, Beyoncé and the inimitable Amy Winehouse.

Eliyah’s solo exhibition, ‘In Search of Gold’ is inspired by the search for a remedy to cure the ‘incurable’. Having personally contended with terminal sickness, her search for the cure felt non-existent.

Eliyah utilises Manuka Honey as a natural remedy that is kinder, and more healing to her body, in comparison to harsh prescription medication. Though bees are known to be vital to life on earth, their value increased exponentially with the introduction of Manuka Honey (which is revered for its medicinal properties) to mainstream society. To those suffering from the untreatable and incurable, bees hold more value to them than gold; an idea that imbues itself in the gold and ink of her works.

In many parts of the world bees are considered to be able to grant the gifts of poetry, eloquence and song to mankind. For the women who strive for the desire to be beautiful, the value of the bee and what it produces maintains significance for these women. Eliyah believes the bee to hold immense power.

Pen and ink is utilised in most of Eliyah’s works, to instantaneously capture and preserve emotions as they are felt. Her resilience exists in every piece, and is a testament to her survival.

Alongside her practice as a professional Visual Artist, Eliyah’s artistic approach to teaching and learning is focused on using art for a cause. ‘Barkingside Art Club’ has been newly established with the aim of bringing local creatives together, which also intends to deliver art workshops to children and adults. Providing a space for local creatives to meet regularly, network, and collaborate with one another. She will also be facilitating exhibitions thereby promoting individual businesses. Local creatives will also be given the opportunity to volunteer in helping children with SEN learn through creative activities.

On exhibiting at Valentines Mansion, Eliyah says “The scenic location provides a synergetic combination of a rich, green environment which compliments the bees in my series, In Search of Gold. Most of my art career has been about giving back to the community and taking part in community based projects; the mansion is a historical artefact in our local community, and I’m very enthused to exhibit my work there.”

Watch this space for more information about the exhibition, meet the artist sessions and workshops. The artwork will be available for purchase, alongside various prints during the exhibition.

In Search of Gold
Open to the public on Sundays and Tuesdays between the 3rd and 26th September
Free entry

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Valentines Mansion joins the UK-India Year of Culture Celebrations

An Indian Summer at Valentines

The British Council, the Indian High Commission and the UK government recently launched the UK-India Year of Culture, a celebration of the long-standing relationship between the UK and India which will see cultural events, exhibitions and activities taking place in both countries throughout 2017.

Throughout August, Valentines Mansion will join the celebrations with a series of events throughout the month. This theme is of particular relevance to Valentines – three of its previous owners during the eighteenth century were involved in with the East India Company (EIC) – Robert Surman, Sir Charles Raymond and Donald Cameron. You can read more about them here:

Highlights include:

Memories of India
The Bird Room Cabinets will showcase our crowd sourced show, a collection of people’s memorabilia, photographs and souvenirs picked up from visits to India or gifts they have been given. To take part and display an item, please get in touch by calling 020 8708 8100 or email Tuesday 1 – Wednesday 30 August, during the Mansions’ normal opening hours, Free entry

Studio Artists Exhibition
Come and see our artists’ interpretation of this celebration, in the year which marks 70 years since India’s Independence, featuring works in fused glass, ceramics, paintings and more. Tuesday 1 – Wednesday 30 August, during the Mansions’ normal opening hours, Free entry

India and Redbridge – An Exhibition
This special Redbridge Museum exhibition explores the 400 year old links between India and Redbridge. From local East India Company merchants to the different communities who have lived in Redbridge for over 50 years, the displays feature objects and local stories from the collections of Redbridge Museum. Sunday 30 July – Sunday 3 September, during the Mansions’ normal opening hours, Free entry

Indian Tunic Block Printing Workshop
Block print an Indian tunic called a Kurta with artist Sba Shaikh.

The workshop includes a 10 minute presentation on block printing with a short film screening followed by a practical session. There will be an object handling courtesy of William Morris Gallery as well as looking at batik, Indian textiles and resources from the Anokhi Museum, Jaipur and Calico Museum, Ahmadabad India.  Sunday 13 August, 11am-3pm.  Early Bird Offer – book on or before 31 July, pay only £25 per person. Normal price £30 per person, includes refreshments. Limited spaces, book early to avoid disappointment.  Valentines Box Office


And not forgetting the little ones, we’ve also got some fantastic events coming up for children:

Exotic Animal Encounters
Get up close to lots of weird and wonderful creatures native to India, including a peacock, snakes and lots of interesting bugs. Brought to you in association with Animals Work, whose animals have often been used in TV and Film. You will also get to make your own peacock to take home. Monday 14 August, choose from two sessions: 11.30am–1pm and 12.30pm-2pm, £10 per child, suitable for 5 years plus, pre-booking essential here: Valentines Box Office

Bollywood Fever!
Get your groove on at Valentines Mansion in our energetic & upbeat Bollywood dance classes for kids led by professional dance company D Style Dance. Limited spaces, book early to avoid disappointment. 11am-11.45pm (4-7 yrs – £5), 12noon-1pm (8-12 yrs – £8), 1.15pm-2.15pm (13 yrs+ – £8), pre-booking essential here: Valentines Box Office

Look out for Tea Parties and other events throughout the month on our web site

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Valentines Mansion on 9th April 2017Here’s a look back at the wonderful day had by all at out Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Sunday 9 April – thanks to everyone involved – all staff and volunteers, Vision RCL Nature Conservation Team, Parnham Funfairs, ISS Education and most importantly, all the visitors for making this such a fun packed day!


Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Valentines Mansion on 9th April 2017

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We’re All Mad!

The office at Valentines is a bit crazy at the moment! It’s all hands on deck with the preparations for our Mad Hatters Tea Party on Sunday – we’re all super excited, it’s going to be a great day!

Ticket holders are in for a right treat, we’ve got a fantastic day of fun and laughter in store – here’s a quick look at what’s happening on the day:

Mad Hatter Arts & Crafts
Get creative & make a mad hatter clock and hat! (Over 5’s ticket holders only). Sessions throughout the day, first come, first served.

Healthy Eating Activities
Join ISS, providers of school meals in Redbridge, and get fit on their special Smoothie Bike and make yourself a delicious drink at the same time! Try your hand at decorating playing card cookies – a fun activity that will run throughout the day.

Outdoor Interactive Theatre
Enjoy three interactive and hugely entertaining scenes in which audience participation is much needed!

Movie Time
Enjoy Disney’s animated classic in the beautiful surroundings of Valentines Mansion – 3 screenings throughout the day.

Sit back, relax and enjoy storytelling throughout the day.

Mad Hatter Trail
Go in search of the Mad Hatter and other characters around the house and gardens – find them all and you’ll win a prize! (included in ticket price for over 5’s, £1 for under 5’s)

Other activities raking place throughout the day include garden games, children’s rides, face painting and the chance to meet some very cute animals. Please note that some activities may incur an extra charge.  The gardens are a  great spot to enjoy a picnic, bring yours along and enjoy the sunshine at Valentines!

Please note that tickets for this event have now sold out.

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Handmade Crafts Celebrated at Valentine Mansion

This Sunday, Valentines Mansion will re-open to the public after the winter closure with “Made with Love” – a special handmade craft fair offering visitors a unique shopping experience in the Grade II* listed building – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

As well as carefully selected stalls throughout the house, the top floor, home the Mansion’s studios artists, will be open for visitors to explore. The studios open twice a year, so it’s a great opportunity to meet the artists and catch a glimpse of how their work is made.

Here’s a closer look at some of the fabulous products you can expect to buy on Sunday offering some fantastic gift ideas for Valentine’s Day:

A wonderfully innovative collection of accessories to keep your cash safe – all made from beautiful fabrics.

enstage-2Woodford & Warner
A delicious range of cordials, drinks an jelly made from a Hibiscus flower – a traditiona drink in the West Indies called Sorrel.

newlandingpage-2400x1638Kiki’s Soaps
A gorgeous collection of handmade soaps and candles.

kikis-soaps-2Dainty Kate
A contemporary illustrator who uses nature and animals as her inspiration, transforming them into beautiful products:


Gilli’s Flowers
A unique collection of hand folded origami jewellery.  Original and affordable!

gilllis-flowers-2M C Chocolatier
Handmade chocolates, brownies and tarts – truly scrumptious!

The Wild Irish Skincare Company
Handmade natural skincare including soaps, body butters and more – this is sure to go down a treat on Valentine’s Day!

cs-soap-1A K Beads
Gorgeous and unique designs from a very talented beaded jewellery designer maker.

anna-kepinski-9Yianna’s Baking Delights
Tantalise your tastebuds with these delicious baked goodies by Yianna – including cupcakes, shortbreads, biscuits & more – all made with love!

Seaside & More
High quality art works, wall plaques and jewellery.

Maddog Cottage Creations

Helping you set the scene for Valentine’s Day (& every other day!) – soy candles, reed diffusers and lovely jewellery.

Purple Seasons
Unique handmade cards, including 3D box cards.

The Den
Handmade jewellery – the ideal Valentine’s Day gift.


Conscious Souls
Stunning jewellery made from silver, copper, brass & semi-precious stones.

sakinaLove The Idea
Adorable textile greeting cards, notebooks and pictures, as well as original hand drawn art.

Inga Pia
Ceramic art tiles, dishes and candle holders – all handmade to perfection.


Sunpatch Quilts
Hand embroidered cards, patchwork and quilted items.

Cool Caricatures
How about a fun gift for your Valentine?  Pose for a caricature – they only take 5 minutes and are sure to go down a treat!

caricature-from-photo-01-228x228Blue Can Cafe
After all that shopping, treat yourself to a yummy hot Belgian Waffle, smothered in chocolate & strawberries (plus lots of other flavours too!), washed down with one of their extra special hot chocolates – heaven!

Gardener’s Cottage Cafe
The cafe in the walled gardens will be open throughout the day for hot drinks and lunch.

Don’t miss – our new exhibition, “Young Artists” celebrating the work of some super talented artists, some as young as 6 years of age!

Sunday 12 February, 10am-4pm, FREE ENTRY

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