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Eltham Palace

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites Eltham
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(18user reviews)
 (© Jonathan Bailey)
© Jonathan Bailey

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Two palaces for the price of one. The remains of the Tudor palace include a bridge over the moat, as well as the impressive Great Hall. The biggest draw now, though, is the art deco property built adjoining the Great Hall in 1936 by textiles heir Stephen Courtauld. The furniture and fittings look like a film set. Upstairs there’s a chance to enjoy a home movie of Stephen and Virginia with their pet lemur, Mahjong (who had his own specially designed quarters).

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.



Address: Off Court Rd
Transport: Rail: Eltham
Price: £14.40, £13 concs, £8.60 under-16, free under-five, English Heritage members free.
Opening hours: ADD DETAILS: Open Apr-Sep 30, 10am-8pm; Oct 10am-5pm; closed Saturdays. Dec 27-Jan 1 10am-4pm. Jan 2-Feb 11 2018 open Sun 10am-4pm.
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Users say (18)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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A wonderful day in the outskirts of London just 15 minutes from London Bridge. Standing in front of the medieval walls, the last thing you’re expecting is to see 1930s art deco interiors. The way the Courtaulds turned a dilapidated barn on a ground of a medieval castle into a stunning palace is incredible. Although some of the furniture might have lost their original appeal, they were in vogue in the in the 1930s and the house was fitted with all latest gadgets at the time, like paid phone or a vacuum cleaner. The couple also took care to restore the great hall, which fitted with Edwardian furniture is now available for a wedding hire. The grounds around are gorgeous too. Japanese garden on one site, meadow with horses on the other. You may not find the famous lemur, but if you’re lucky you will spot a heron. And don’t forget to check the shop, their meads and jams are delicious.


Well - this is a place with a difference, that's for sure.  Quirky and opulent. I visited with a group of people and we had engaged a guide to lead us through the house, relate its interesting history, point out the quirky design features and tell us how the extremely wealthy Courtauld family made use of the building during their residence.  The tour was enthralling.

I took a picnic lunch which I had sitting in the lovely grounds Ithere is a good cafe in the conservatory if preferred) and afterwards joined the gardener for a short tour of the grounds, when he explained how the gardens were managed, how the soil affected growth and plans for the future.  A very enjoyable and informative day out.


This is a nice change from the many excessively opulent stately homes run by English Heritage. The interior is early to mid-20th century, and inspired by a mishmash of other cultures. However, as usual the servants' quarters/more workaday parts of the house aren't open to the public. It would be historically interesting just to see those for once. Eltham Palace's gardens are impressive, with an honest-to-goodness moat and excellent views of London.  


Eltham Palace is a wonderfully preserved and fascinating place to visit and if you're a fan of art deco then you're in for a real treat. Its checkered history spans the original splendour of a Royal Palace, and it's subsequent fall grace into disrepair and becoming derelict before many years later being chosen as the site for the new home of the fabulously wealthy Courtauld family in the 1930's. A new adjoining building was constructed and the old palace hall was renovated and incorporated into the Art Deco theme of the times with no expense spared.

English Heritage provides a personal video tour (via iPod and headphones) which guides you around the property and gardens as if you were a weekend guest attending of one of the Courtauld's many parties. The tour is very well thought through and really adds to the experience, and has plenty of additional information built in for even the most curious visitor. If you live in London and you really should, it's an amazing place to visit and really not too far at all.

A medieval hall and an art deco palace of fun - two great places to visit for the price of one. And beautiful gardens. And an ace café.

A wonderful mix of medieval and art deco set in lovely gardens. Excellent events all year for all the family to enjoy. Love it!

I have been lucky enough to have been born in Eltham, and have access to the great hall since the 1960's which was open to the public. Since English Heritage opened the house in 2000, I've seen it blossom since then, too what you see today. A place of medieval magic, to 1930's Art Deco.


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!


When I finally own a place with a moat and a gold wall behind my bath I will know that I have finally made it. The house itself is an odd blend of art deco and tudor that some how pulls itself together by the late owners building a balcony overlooking the tudor hall, I guess waiting to be entertained. The detail in the art deco section of the house is just beautiful and makes you want to dress up and sip cocktails in, well pretty much all of the rooms. The gardens are also beautiful and when I was there there was some re-enactment going on, I found it pretty annoying but the kids who were involved seemed to be really enjoying it and as I'm guessing it was put on for their involvement and not mine I shall let their reaction be the judge. There is also a small but imaginative playground. I got told very defiantly that they don't serve flat whites in the cafe but the cup of tea did the job. 


So it's not in zone 1 and you have to go all the way to zone 4 (you dont need vaccination jabs btw)..... but its worth the travel. The Palace is walking distance from the station and you feel transported back to the art deco era. The great hall is magnificent as is the bedrooms along with the living quarters. Theres a room with a split staircase that then comes together at the bottom. Its where a lot of people decide to get married in and its a fantastic set up. The furniture and even the door knobs are completely in keeping. If you got a spare £20k think about getting married here. Oh and the tea shop is mega quaint and does a good carrot cake. 


If you like historic buildings and Art Deco furniture and style, then you will not find anywhere better in London.

Many of the Kings of England lived here, including Henry VIII. It was lovingly redeveloped in the 1930s by Stephen Courtauld.  He restored the palace and added a new Art Deco house, decorated and furnished in the fashion of the time.

Currently it is in the care of English Heritage. The circular entrance room is stunning and the art deco decoration and appliances throughout the house are exquisite. The gardens are beautifully kept, they have lovely views of the house and over London.

This is a fantastic day out within half an hour from central London.

The photos are of a marble bath in Virginia Courtauld's en suite bathroom and a view of the house from the lower garden.


How curious are you? Eltham Palace may be quite a long way away from where you live but for the curious explorer among you, making the trek to this stately art deco mansion/stately palace is well worth it. It is simply incredible and easily one of my favourite places to visit in London.

Located in Eltham, south-east London, Eltham Palace is a glamorous and opulent art deco mansion/medieval palace which started life as a grand manor house in the 13th century. After it was bequeathed to the crown, it quickly became a favourite among medieval Kings and Queens who subsequently gave it the royal treatment, medieval style adding a Grand Hall which still stands proudly today. Did you know King Henry VIII spent much of his childhood here? It later became out of favour throughout the 17th-19th century before being rescued by the Courtaulds who transformed it into the mansion you see today.

Once you’ve collected your touch-screen multimedia guide and enter the grand mansion, you’ll be transported back in time to the glamorous height of the 1930’s and into the a luxury and opulent mansion of Mr and Mrs Courtaulds. Explore more than 15 rooms inside the luxurious mansion including the lady of the house personal wardrobe. You can admire the architecture in the many rooms including the dining room, study, and main concorde designed by pioneering Italian architects at the time too, and on the other side of the spectrum, the basement bunker that protected the Courtauld family from air raids during the WWII. Eltham Palace is the perfect insight into life in the 1930’s of a cosmopolitan couple.  Step back further in time and enter the stately Grand Hall which co-exists beside the opulence of the mansion next door. Stately medieval meets cutting edge 1930’s design and luxury.

Once you’re done having a look inside, there’s a vast and stunning 19 acre garden to explore that surrounds the palace where nature and woodland animals live in harmony. Once used as a hunting ground for Kings and Queens of the past, it’s now open to visitors to stroll and unwind. On a sunny day it is the perfect place to have a picnic. There’s also light refreshments provided by the onsite cafe.

Explorers with an insatiable thirst for adventure will love this, as will historians, naturally. Families will love it too. The kids will love glamming up 1930’s style in the personal wardrobe or running around the gardens. It’s a long way away from central London. But there’s so much to explore, to learn, to wonder and admire. This is another gem that you must visit if you ever get the chance.


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

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