ellaslist Reviews Vaucluse House Children’s Tour

By: Tully Rosenberg, ellaslist explorer

When I think of Vaucluse House, I think of decadent high teas, lovely kids storytime sessions and exploring their picturesque gardens. Strangely, it had never really occurred to me to step inside the actual house – a magnificent colonial mansion that has miraculously stood the test of time. Despite living in this neck of the woods for most of my life, I was yet to set foot inside one of its most famous historic residences. So, even though we were booked in for a tour aimed at kids, I was as excited as my offspring to get a glimpse into this bygone beauty.

vh 2

Source: Sydney Living Museums

Meet the Servants!

Created especially for the school holidays, the Children’s Tour – Meet the Servants – takes you and your little ones back in time, about 200 years or so. It’s an eye-opening look at a time before cars and dishwashers, iPads and Shopkins, and all the mod cons we could never live without!


Once a small stone cottage, Vaucluse House was the pride and joy of William Charles Wentworth. One of Australia’s richest men at the time, he transformed it to its current grandeur, not only as a reflection of his high status, but to accommodate his wife, 10 children and 40 servants! Yes, there was a lot of work to do around this palatial home, and on the tour our kids get a taste of some of that hard yakka.


Source: Sydney Living Museums

Being A Servant!

Starting outside in the horse-stables, then into the courtyard, we began to learn all about our predecessor’s way of life, while the kids were encouraged to muck in along the way – carrying wood, collecting eggs and picking herbs. Inside we are guided through the staff quarters and regaled with stories of what it was like to live and work here in the olden days. The kids get hands-on experience of some of the daily tasks including filtering water, folding linen and sweeping the floors!


The house retains some of the original furniture, and the formal spaces, lavish decor and grand scale of the house are thoroughly impressive. It is full of delightful details and fascinating curios, interesting tales and peculiar secrets. The kids loved getting a sneak peak into the children’s rooms, with the vibrant wallpapers and vintage toys, and were awe-struck with the opulence of it all. It’s funny how everything old is new again – the antique wrought iron beds are all the rage these days!

vh 3

Source: Sydney Living Museums

Art For Kids

Keeping little kids entertained and engaged for almost an hour is no mean feat, but our charming guide Karl kept them involved every step of the way. It’s a fun exploration that genuinely got our little history buffs thinking about how different it was for children growing up two centuries ago. They could also turn their observations into art! Kids on the tour are offered a clipboard, paper and pencil, and encouraged to sketch anything that inspires them inside the house.


The Perfect Time To Visit

Spring is the perfect time to visit Vaucluse House – the gardens are in full bloom, the vege patch is thriving and the
resident farm animals are smiling for the camera. The grounds are full of lush greenery and beautiful flowers, including the pretty Pleasure Garden – a serene spot to while away some time before your tour. At the back of the property the enviable kitchen garden is packed with fresh produce, some of which is brought into the house for pickling. There are also beehives that produce the honey supply for the gift store. Taking your time to take an outdoor adventure around the estate is a must-do, and I simply can’t leave Vaucluse House without my favourite old-world indulgence – a delicious Devonshire Tea at the famous Tea Rooms terrace.


vh 1

Source: Sydney Living Museums

The Overall Experience

The Vaucluse House Children’s Tour is great way to get kids – and grown-ups – to stop and smell the roses. It’s a lovely place to spend a day slowly weaving your way through the house and gardens, immersing yourself in history, enjoying Mother Nature in all her glory and thanking your lucky stars you live in the 21st Century!


What You Need To Know

Children’s “Meet The Servants” Tours run every day throughout the School Holidays at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm, and are included in the entry price.

Wentworth Family Tours run every day throughout the School Holidays at 11am, 1pm and 3pm, and are included in the entry price.

10am, 12pm, 2pm: Meet the Servants Children’s Tour

11am, 1pm, 3pm: Wentworth Family Tour


Adult: $12
Concession: $8
Child: (Under 5) Free
Family: (two adults + two children) $30
Members: Free



vh chickens




Ana Sanchez

Oct 02 2015

i would love to take my kids one day