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.
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Things to do
Eltham Palace Carol Concert
Enjoy a festive music performance in the palace's beautiful Great Hall (childhood home of Henry VIII), which was restored by the Courtaulds in 1933. Tickets include a glass of wine or soft drink. Book in advance on 0870 333 1183 or on the Eltham Palace...Wednesday December 7 2016Read more
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Eltham Palace, own and run by the English Heritage, sits just outside London and is an exquisite example of a tastefully decorated, modern (for the times) Art Deco aristocratic house. A absolute gem for interior lovers, you will get to experience the opulence and extravagance the previous Courtauld family created in the 1930's by renovating and leaving their mark on a derelict 14th Century great hall that was used as a barn.
It was built to be a house for entertaining, with features including hidden uplighting, a magnificent Swedish inspired entrance room for having cocktails and underfloor heating and en-suite bathrooms. Beauty you would have normally only found in 5* hotels!
The gardens a no less breathtaking, boasting a rose garden, lawns where the Courtauld's played with their pet lemur, Mah-Jongg and a moat. I know I may be starting to sound like an estate agent, but this house really is worth raving about.
A full day out for couples and families alike. Grab a coffee, or a cocktail and go feast your eyes, you'll be in for a treat!
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