Whilst on aunt duties in half term I ended up at Eltham Palace to hunt for wizards and ghosts, and do other Halloweeny things. I visited here years ago, but they’ve done so much since. More parts of the house are opened up, there’s a new cafe, shop and playground. I actually went round the gardens, which I don’t remember doing last time. This English Heritage property is well worth a visit. Close to London, this was originally a medieval palace where Henry VIII grew up, and the original hall remains. A wealthy couple bought it in the 1930s and turned it in to a party pad.
The wood panelled lounge is the most recognisable room, mostly because it’s been used as a location in about five hundred films and TV shows set in the past. The exquisite golden bathroom (top pic) has been in some music videos as well. It’s such an unusual mix of Art Deco and medieval, with a bit of Italian rustic thrown in. It sounds like they had a nice life here with their pet lemur, holding film screenings, dinner parties, dances and such. The gardens include a moat (below) which my nephew loved, having only seen moats in picture books. He liked the castle vibe, and also the cool wooden playground where he got to pretend he was flying a plane. This place drips with elegance and history, telling dual tales of elite society in two different centuries.
Book tickets for Eltham Palace and Gardens here