Did you know there is a 16th century English Tudor mansion in Richmond, Virginia even though the English colony of Jamestown wasn’t founded until the 17th century? Agecroft Hall and Gardens in Richmond’s West End is a beautiful example of preserving and protecting history and makes a fun outing for families to learn more about Tudor history.
Agecroft Hall was built in the late 15th century in Lancashire, England and served as the distinguished Langley family’s home. By the 20th century, the estate had fallen into disrepair, and the land surrounding the home was swallowed up by commercial development and coal mining. Instead of tearing it down, an enterprising and wealthy Richmond family, the Williams family, purchased the home at auction and had it disassembled, piece by piece. The clearly marked pieces were then shipped to America and reassembled on the banks of the James River to serve as the family home. While the home is not in its original layout, the original building materials from the 15th century are the same ones you see at today’s Agecroft!
Agecroft is open for self-guided tours, and with beautiful spring weather just around the corner, this is the perfect time of year to visit with your kids. Be sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time to ensure your spot on the socially-distanced tours. There are two tour options – house and garden or garden only.
Your house tour will start with a 9-minute video explaining the history of the home in both England and Virginia. The pictures of moving the home piece by piece to Virginia are quite astonishing! If you have children who love to build things out of Legos or blocks, ask them to imagine this overwhelming job!
After the video, your group will be released into the home to begin the self-guided tour. My children were fascinated by the Tudor-style rooms, from the massive tapestries to the original stained glass.
Docents are spread throughout the house to answer any questions about the home or life in the 16th century. My son had lots of questions about the massive Great Parlor downstairs, and we learned that this impressive room was used for overnight guests as well as a place for the family to play games or enjoy music.
The massive fireplace and unique chairs were favorite items in the room.
The dining room is set for a typical dinner from Tudor times, and my children enjoyed learning about the food they ate, especially the desserts.
As you make your way up the staircase, you’ll get a chance to view the great hall from above.
We also liked seeing the ornate furniture and the 16th century toys.
The first two bedrooms upstairs have intricately carved beds and lots of fascinating details. My boys liked seeing the children’s items in the bedrooms and comparing them to what we have for today’s kids.
The study has many interesting artifacts and maps that my children enjoyed seeing.
Our favorite room was the Williams library. This room remains as the family left it in the mid-20th century and any book lover will be amazed at the close to 4000 books in it!
As you leave the home, take time to marvel at the intricate woodwork on the outside of the home and one of the original doors.
Don’t miss the Tudor kitchen across from the gift shop (currently closed).
Agecroft has beautiful and extensive gardens so that should be your next stop. We visited on a mild day in December but spring is really when the gardens shine.
Stand on the back patio and soak in the view of the James River below. During the summer, Agecroft hosts a Shakespeare festival complete with live performances here. Fingers crossed that this can happen in 2021!
Your children will love the turf maze laid out behind the house.
If your child is studying the Tudor period in history class, be sure to check out Agecroft’s extensive online learning activities, including videos and virtual learning days!
Agecroft Hall and Gardens is a wonderful place to bring your family to learn more about Tudor history and life. It transports you to 16th century England without a plane ticket or time travel!
- House and garden tour: $10/adult; $6/children 7-18; free/6 and under
- Garden tour only: $5/adult; $3/children 7-18; free/6 and under
- Recommended: house tour – ages 6 and up; garden tour – all ages
- Tour time: 1 hour
- Gift shop located onsite (currently closed)
- Transportation: Agecroft Hall is located in a residential community accessible only by car. There is plenty of parking at the site.
- Dining options: Nearby Carytown is full of family-friendly eateries. Our favorites include Baker’s Crust, Burger Bach, Can Can Brasserie, and Mellow Mushroom. Don’t miss dessert at Carytown Cupcakes or Kilwins!
- Nearby hotels: Check out my Richmond guide for ideas!
- Nearby attractions include: Virginia House (drive by the next-door reassembled English manor house, also from the 16th century!), Mary Munford Playground (one of the best in Richmond!), Wilton House Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Virginia Museum of History and Culture
Books to Read:
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- 10 and up:
- 6 and up: