I have lived in South London most of my life but I never realised what a little gem was hidden away around the back of Eltham in The Royal Borough of Greenwich.
I had some friends staying and we wanted something to do one afternoon without travelling too far. So Eltham Palace it was!
The House is not overly impressive from the outside but inside it is very unique and very different from most country houses/palaces. The original house was presented to Edward II and it was hugely popular with the royals until the reign of Henry VIII who rarely used it. It was allowed to fall into decay and was rented out as a farm until the millionaire couple Stephen and Virginia Courtauld bought it in 1933 They redesigned the house in a unique art deco style. They held wonderful parties and were slightly eccentric in that their pet was a Lemur called Mah Jongg who had the run of the house!
Each room is exquisitely designed and it still looks much as it did when they were living there. The entrance hall has an impressive glass domed ceiling and there is a Great Hall with a minstrels gallery overlooking it.
The grounds are beautiful from the walled garden to to the rock garden with its pools and cascades. There is a walk around the grounds that takes about 60 minutes and takes you over the moat bridge and past where the old swimming pool used to be.
An English Heritage Property now it has a lovely cafe/tea room in the old glass houses and an interesting little shop (where they sell soft toys called Mah Jongg!).
At a loss for something to do in South East London? Eltham Palace is well worth a visit!