East London has some of the capital’s loveliest historic houses.
Granted it doesn’t have the grand riverside palaces of west London.
But it’s smaller little known gems offer London kids some of the best ways to step back in time and discover how Londoners used to live.
They’ll all easily accessible by tube or train so you don’t have to drive across London to get to them.
AND they include some of the coolest opportunities to combine a visit to a historic London house with serious outdoor time in London’s biggest forest and oldest marshland.
So here goes, a list of fab historic houses in east London that are perfect for a day out with the kids.
Valentine’s Mansion is a beautiful historic house in Ilford which is a lovely place for kids to step back in time dressing up in Victorian costumes and exploring recreated Victorian & Georgian rooms.
The house has lovely gardens which include a canal and grottos and an animal corner with chipmunks.
The house is just 5 minutes walk from Gants Hill tube and is free to visit.
Clissold House is a lovely 18th Centry House in popular Clissold Park in Stoke Newington. There’s nothing really to see in the house – just a popular cafe – as it is mostly used now for weddings but there’s plenty of fun stuff in the park including play areas, paddling pools and pond dipping.
Clissold Park can be a great meeting place for friends meeting up outdoors in London as it’s easy to get to via the Picadilly line (Arsenal station) all the three main Overgound lines via Canonbury or Rectory Station. It’s about 15 minutes walk from each station to the park.
Eastbury Manor House
Eastbury Manor is a historic house in Barking, east London run by the National Trust. The house was an Elizabethan merchant’s house and is a fascinating showcase for how well affluent Elizabethans knew how to live.
The gardens at the house are not very big so there isn’t enormous for older kids to run around but there are typically lots of family friendly activities.
Eastbury Manor is just 10 minutes walk from Upney Station on the District Line.
Medieval Valence House is a historic house in Barking that is now home to Barking’s local museum and has a small collection of artefacts going right back to the Romans.
I find, these little local history collections are often real winners with kids as they don’t overwhelm. The house is right next to Valence Park which has a playground for younger kids.
Valence House isn’t one of the great London historic houses but it’s a good spot for a local day out in east London, not least because it’s free.
Rainham Hall is a lovely historic house from the Queen Anne period in east London that is now run by the National Trust.
The house doesn’t have a permanent display but the National Trust put on lots of child friendly activities and has 3 acres of pretty gardens and orchard.
The house is just a few minutes walk from Rainham station with direct trains from Fenchurch Street.
Rainham Hall is on the London Loop walk which you can follow by the Thames to visit the fabulous RPSB reserve at Rainham Marsh which is then just a short walk from Purfleet station for the return journey.
Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge
The Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge is a historic Tudor house in east London that lets you combine a little dose of history and culture with lots of outdoor fun as it is set right on the edge of the stunning Epping Forest.
There are exhibitions of Tudor History in the hunting lodge and its conveniently located for the cafes and bike hire in Epping Forest.
The Lodge is less than 10 minutes walk from Chingford Station with direct trains from Liverpool Street.
William Morris Gallery
The William Morris Gallery is a historic house in Walthamstow, east London that was once lived in by William Morris and is now a museum dedicated to his life and work.
The gallery is set in the recently restored Lloyd Park and is free to visit.
It’s about a 10 minute walk from Walthamstow Central station and the 123 bus goes from next to the gallery to the Walthamstow Wetlands nature reserve.
And there you go, some lovely historic houses in east London that are wonderful places for family days out with kids and for meeting up with friends outdoors in east London.
For even more historic houses across the whole of London do check out these guides …
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