An English and IT teacher, and would-be writer, living in north London. I like to spend my free time travelling, visiting new places, taking photographs and cooking.
Published July 22nd 2012
Home to The Great British Bake Off, a prime time TV cooking programme and competition, Valentines Park and Mansion is situated on the outskirts of Ilford, near Gants Hill tube station.
The park is one of the largest open spaces in London and is home Valentines Mansion. You can spend your sunny summer days watching county cricket, boating on the boating lake, playing tennis, having coffee in snack bar, playing football on one of the large grass spaces or simply relaxing by the flower beds.
In winter, the trees and the traditional monuments such as the clock tower provide a wonderful backdrop for snow filled photographs.
The park can be entered from Cranbrook Road or Gants Hill.
At the Gants Hill entrance you come immediately into the environs of the mansion. This was the location for series 2 of The Great British Bake Off, a popular cooking programme and competition featuring Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.
The mansion was renovated thanks to a grant and is now open to the public. You can explore the Victorian kitchen, the main house which is Georgian and the kitchen gardens. There is also an exhibition showing the dire state the house was in during the 1980s and 1990s, so can appreciate the hard work which has gone into the restoration.
Various local artists have workshop and sales space in the building, which you can visit. A recently opened tea shop (The Gardener's Cottage Cafe) is an ideal place to take a break.
The Mansion area is also host to a monthly farmer's market.