Valentines Park is one of the flagship parks in the London Borough of Redbridge providing an extensive and diverse green space with a range of recreational facilities. 2013/14 sees Valentines Park retain its prestigious Green Flag Award, making it the fourth successive year. This means it achieved a national benchmark standard for the best green spaces in the country. Find out more here.
People’s Choice Award
Valentines Park also saw off stiff competition to take 6th place out of a staggering 1,424 parks and green spaces all holding Green Flag Status, in the prestigious People’s Choice Award for 2012/13. A big thank you to everyone who voted and perhaps, with your help, we could make it into the top 3 this year!
The park contains many features of historical and environmental interest such as:
- the recently Heritage Lottery funded restored Mansion and Gardens
- prestigious mature trees
- ecologically important water bodies and
- wide expanses of grassland.
The park is important for local people and wildlife because of its heritage landscape, local recreational resource and diversity of habitats.
How to find Valentines Park
Valentines Park on our map.
Main entrance on Cranbrook Road, Ilford
Vehicle entrance Melbourne Road, Perth Road and Cranbrook Road
This award-winning park is next to Valentines Mansion & Gardens, and was once the parkland to the house. It offers a wide range of activities for all including:
What’s on in the park
- Outdoor Theatre – Oddsocks Productions perform annually and will be back in June 2014
- Running – weekly sessions for Us Girls or weekly 5km timed run for adults and children 8 yrs+
- Tennis Coaching – every Sunday for children 10-16 yrs part of Active Young People.
- Walking – Organised walks part of Walk to Health or if you prefer a self guided walk in and around the park at your own leisure.
- Valentines Mansion and Gardens events and activities all year round!
- Basketball Court
- Bowling Green
- Valentines Park Cafe by the bandstand
- Cricket pitch for hire
- Diverse tree collection including a 300 year old field Maple
- Guided tours
- Lake (Rowing boats for hire)
- Ornamental Gardens and Flower beds
- Outdoor gym
- Play tennis for free
- Spring and Summer flowering meadows
- Two Children’s Play Areas
The park is open from 8am to dusk throughout the year.
For more details of exact closing times please download our Parks Closing Times under related pages or alternatively please check time boards at the entrance of each park.
From 1 October 2011 the following car parking charges apply:
- Up to 1 hour – 70p
- 1-2 hours – £1.30
- All day – £3.00
History of Valentines Park
The park was once the parkland of Valentines Mansion a gentleman’s residence built in 1696. The landscape reflects the changing tastes of the last three hundred years and the main elements surviving today relate to the changes made to the Mansion itself in the 1720s, the 1810s and the 1870s. During all these periods, the house was in private ownership. The greatest change was from 1912 when the whole estate became a public park and began to be used by greater numbers of people than ever before.
The heritage value is of great importance in terms of the survival of formal Rococo features in a suburban park near the Central tube line, the M11 and the main London to Norfolk trunk road.
Valentines Park is, at 52 hectares (130 acres), the largest green space in the London Borough of Redbridge, between Ilford and Gants Hill. It was acquired in various purchases and gifts of land, starting in 1898 and culminating in the 1920s. The Valentines Estate had been in private hands since long before the 1690s, when the present Valentines Mansion was built.
In 1899 the Cranbrook Estate, to the west of Valentines, was about to be sold for housing. The Municipal Borough of Ilford had acquired its first section of parkland a year previously and was keen to enlarge its size as land became available. Local officials realised that, unless an area of “relaxation and pleasure” was retained for the growing urban population, all traces of an undeveloped rural Ilford would be lost.
County Cricket was first played at Valentine’s Park in Ilford in 1922 and a pavilion was completed a year later. The first ever county match with Sunday play was played here, this proved to be a success with 6000 spectators attending.
Valentines Park has undergone an extensive renovation during 2007–2008 financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and by the owners, the London Borough of Redbridge. There are a number of Grade II and Grade II* features within the park and part of the formal garden layout of the early 18th century park itself is included in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England at Grade II. Brief (English Heritage) listing details for these can be found at Images of England.