Art Deco elegance, Eltham Palace, London
Who knew it was there
Lying along the end of a lane in South East London, you wouldn’t immediately expect to find a palace.
However, here in Eltham, that is exactly what we discovered.
Armed with our English Heritage membership, we venture into the grounds of the opulent moated palace.
How to get there
You can catch a train from London Bridge Station to Mottingham Station, this takes around 16 minutes. Then it is only a ½ mile (10 minutes) walk to the Palace.
Free parking is available on site.
Henry VIII spent much of his childhood here but was the last monarch to invest any substantial sums of money into the palace.
From the 17th century, the original buildings were left to decline and years of neglect took their toll. The Great Hall was saved, but little remains of the original historical palace.
It wasn’t until 1933 when millionaires, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, took a 99-year lease from the Crown and had an elegant new house built.
Constructed in the ‘Wrenaissance’ style, it was partly inspired by Hampton Court & where possible incorporated remains from the original palace.
After only living there for 11 years and unfortunately experiencing the last years through WWII bombings, the Courtaulds moved out.
When you first step into the domed entrance hall you’ll be amazed, every aspect so synonymous with the era. You feel like you have entered onto a scene from a Hercule Poirot movie.
Before discovering the 'entertaining' rooms, your journey through the 1930’s continues up to the stylish bedrooms.
The Courtauld’s suites would have been the height of modernity at the time, elegant lines and luxurious comforts, including en-suite bathrooms & walk in wardrobes.
Although the Courtaulds would have had separate suites the chic styling of Virginia’s room, continued through to Stephen’s.
Back down to the ground floor is where the Courtaulds would have been able to display their true style.
The Drawing Room has more of a traditional feel to it, with elements of the room feeling quite historical.
Just in case you thought the Deco lines were over with, the Dining Room has them in abundance.
Then onto the boudoir, no house would be complete without one.
Not only is this chic room filled with such style, but it also has a large leather map surrounding the fireplace, depicting Eltham Palace and its neighbouring area.
The Parisian map was made by sewing small pieces of leather together.
Map Room – Lay undiscovered
Recently uncovered to the public is the Map Room, under years of wall paper large maps were found pasted to the walls. Each of the maps has a scene, and characters from around the world painted next to them.
Stephen had his own library and evidence of his expeditions and mountaineering days were planned within here.
One of the few remaining elements of the 15th-century palace is the Great Hall, built by Edward IV and dates from the 1470’s.
Many elaborate banquets would have been held below its magnificent oak roof.
Unfortunately, the Courtaulds were at Eltham Palace during the Second World War and regularly had to retreat to the converted basement during air raids.
But as with the rest of the palace comfort was high on their priority.
Surrounding this lovely palace are 19 acres of gardens, around part of which the moat is still very evident & today full of fish.
The medieval north bridge, moat walls and buttresses still remain.
Extensive work and planting were carried out by the Courtaulds to make the gardens into the pleasure they are today.
Take a picnic and sit and admire the views across London’s skyline.
Would you like a little more?
We have created a little YouTube video of Eltham Palace.
Why not subscribe to the channel and get the latest clips as we post them?
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Iv’e visited the Palace too and its a real visual treat. I didn’t see the billiard room or the map room, so that was really interesting to read about. Enjoyed reading all your historical information, it is a fantastic building. I also loved the old black & white audio visual footage of it in & around the 30s with the Caultaulds family. Did you see that ?X
Hi Paula,Thanks for commenting. The Map Room has recently been opened to the public. I believe more rooms may open in future as restoration permits. The Billiard room is in the basement, where the Courtaulds sheltered from the bombing in WWII. They made their shelter as comfortable as they could. There’s also a darkroom down there too. We watched the intro movie in the Venetian room – a real throwback to ’20’s Britain.We glad you enjoyed the post, and it showed you something new.Janis & Gary
Great post. We’ve heard many great things about this beautiful building and your post reinforces our intention to visit soon.
Thanks Stefan, yes it really is beautiful and I love the Art Deco furniture. The map room is fascinating, it’s unbelievable that it has only recently been uncovered.
We’ve been catching up on The Crown and Eltham Palace is featured in that.