Family adventures at Red House

On the outskirts of London in the suburbs of Bexleyheath hides an unlikely antipodean surprise. Join us this summer to hunt for a wisdom of wombats and explore the creative home of William Morris.

A wisdom of wombats

The Pre-Raphaelites were first introduced to these furry marsupials by their friend Thomas Woolner who travelled to Austrailia in 1852 after his career as a sculptor failed to take off.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was particularly enthralled by this curious creature and wombats started appearing in many of the Pre-Raphaelites' works. There are endless sketches by Edward Burne-Jones, thought to be the best at drawing wombats, and they even appear in the Oxford Union Murals which were completed in 1859.

Not content with just images Rossetti bought himself a pet wombat from the famous nineteenth century exotic animal supplier Jamrach. 

Rossetti called his wombat Top, the same nickname he gave Morris. Top got into all sorts of mischief, burrowing into visitors waistcoats and falling asleep on Rossetti's dining table.

If you visit Red House today you may still see a Pre-Raphaelite wombat. On the impressive wallpainting done by Edward Burne-Jones hides a small furry wombat taking a nap. Come and see if you can spot him for yourself.

During the school holidays and at half-term this little wombat is joined by his friends and it's up to you to find the 9 wombats hiding around the house.

Get creative

Open from 1:30pm visit Jenny & May's old bedroom and let your creativity run wild. Morris took inspiration from the garden at Red House to create his patterns. Sketchbooks are out for you to do the same and create your own pictures and patterns inspired by the house.

Morris specifically chose red bricks for his house, and got them shipped from a local quarry. Build your own Red House in our lego corner - with red bricks of course!