Visit an Art Deco medieval palace

We have a wonderful guest post from Judith Barnett today:

Imagine. Just imagine. It’s the 1930s and you and your friends have been invited to a weekend house-party with Stephen and Virginia Courtauld at their south London home, Eltham Palace. Before you start to worry that you just haven’t anything to wear in a palace – don’t. Money is no object at Eltham; an extensive (walk in) wardrobe from which you could choose an outfit (go on, dress up & take a photo to prove you were there!) is available in Ginny’s bedroom.

You arrive and need to freshen up from your journey perhaps. Again no problem, there are so many guest bathrooms in the house and enough hot water for 12 people all to have a bath before dinner.

Immerse yourself completely in the luxury of the 1930s as you walk around (with or without an audio guide). Use all your senses. Fully savour the sights and smells; the wood polish on the extensive panelling of the entrance hall, the sweetness of leather seating, the perfume in Ginny’s golden bathroom and possibly best of all the aroma of food in the servants’ servery. Yes, I really could smell a delicious casserole cooking. If it wasn’t real, my imagination was on another plane!

This beautiful, former medieval palace turned art deco luxury home is found in Eltham, SE London. It’s now an English Heritage property and isn’t a place to visit without a little forward planning, but it’s worth the forethought. It is completely invisible from the road and yet from the garden and between the trees there’s a clear view of the city of London.

There are 19 acres of lovely gardens in which the trainee gardeners of the Royal Parks use to practise their skills before being let loose gardening for the Queen.

The shop sells ice-creams
The cafe sells light meals, sandwiches and cream teas until 5.30pm
There’s an adjacent picnic area and a delightful playground with wooden structures for little ones to play on and use their imaginations run riot.

Everyone can access the whole house (there is a lift to the first floor) except the basement (which was used as a (rather grand) war time bunker)
There are many benches and resting points outside
Access to the house from the grounds is over London’s oldest working road bridge

What: Visit Eltham Palace and Gardens

Where: Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London, SE9 5QE (a 10-15 minute walk from Mottingham Station)

When: Sunday to Friday, 10am – 6pm NB: It is not open on Saturdays.

How much: £15.40 for adults, £13.90 concessions, £9.20 children and £40 family (Free for English Heritage members)

From this Sunday (21 July 2019) there are childrens’ ‘Get Hands-on with History’ events throughout (most of) the summer, and live jazz in the grounds most Sundays, all included in the regular entry price. Check out the events section for more details.

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