Eltham Palace

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
3 Love It
© Jonathan Bailey

Two palaces for the price of one. The remains of the Tudor palace (a favourite with the royal family until Henry VIII decided he preferred Greenwich) include a bridge over the moat, as well as the impressive Great Hall. The biggest draw now, though, is the art deco property (one of London's architectural treasures) erected adjoining the Great Hall in 1936 by textiles heir Stephen Courtauld. Like his more famous brother Samuel (who founded the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1932), he was a collector of the arts. Stephen and his wife Virginia created a masterpiece, and the house was the scene of many a lavish party before World War II broke out and the building was commandeered by the War Office.

The furniture and fittings look like a film set – check out the pink leather chairs, ornate black and silver doors and moulded maple veneer in the dining room, or the onyx and gold-plated taps in Virginia's glamorous vaulted bathroom. The house was way ahead of its time when it came to mod cons, including underfloor heating, ensuite bathrooms and a quirky vacuum-cleaning system. Upstairs there's a chance to look at the Courtauld family's photos and artefacts, and enjoy a home movie of Stephen and Virginia with their pet lemur, Mahjong (who had his own, specially designed quarters). The quaint tearoom and shop have a distinctly 1930s flavour.

In Spring 2015 five rooms in the art deco building were opened to the public for the first time following a £1 million renovation. A rare 1930s 'map room' has been carefully unveiled by a team of English Heritage conservators, and a luxury wartime bunker, basement billiards room, two new bedrooms and a walk-in wardrobe are open for exploring. A new visitor centre, shop and café are open in the former glasshouses, too.

Venue name: Eltham Palace
Address: Off Court Rd
Opening hours: Check website
Transport: Rail: Eltham
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Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

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2 people listening

Ok, you have to venture past zone 2 but it’s well worth it.

Odd, bizarre, unusual. It’s a little-known curiosity you’re going to discover. Outside, all medieval and Tudor looking, with a bridge built over a moat. Inside, all art deco furniture and décor. And the patchwork works! You’ll enjoy wandering around going through the ages and looking at changing centuries.

Don’t forget the gardens too. On a sunny day it’s a lovely spot to enjoy the warmth and look at the moat fishes.

Staff Writer

Very bizarre and atmospheric place that we've all seen in so many films without realising it. It all started in gothic style as a church or maybe a small castle. And then over the time, more rooms were built around it, some of the others redecorated and modernised and so it happened that these days, we can walk from Art Deco to gothic architecture all in one house. And somehow, it works together beautifully. There are also lovely gardens outside that are big enough for a small stroll after visiting the house.

I haven't visited this place in years but I'd love to go back and would definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn't have anything to do at a sunny weekend!


thank you TimeOut London for suggesting the Elthon Palace and Gardens.. had a lovely Sunday stroll through the palace and gardens and on my way back to the train station I found an adorable little parc (Torn) filled with friendly squirrels, ducks and a sleepy turtle :P A wonderful oasis of peace and serenity :D