Eltham Palace

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© 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 will be 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 will all be open for exploring. A new visitor centre, shop and café will 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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  • Sat May 16th 2015 - Sat May 16th 2015
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  • Sun May 17th 2015 - Sun May 17th 2015
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  • Sun June 21st 2015 - Sun June 21st 2015
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  • Sun August 23rd 2015 - Tue August 25th 2015
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  • Sat September 19th 2015 - Sat September 19th 2015
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  • Sun September 20th 2015 - Sun September 20th 2015
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  • Mon October 26th 2015 - Sat October 31st 2015
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  • Thu December 10th 2015 - Thu December 10th 2015
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  • Mon December 14th 2015 - Mon December 14th 2015
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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