Friday, 24 August 2012

Eltham Palace

The Great Hall at Eltham Palace

With no tickets for the Sunday afternoon of our Olympic weekend we decided to visit nearby Eltham Palace.

The building was a really interesting place that has a fascinating history. Built as a medieval palace in the 1300s the original foot print is much larger than you see today. The current Great Hall dates from the 15th Century and the remainder of the building was modelled in the 19th Century.

We decided to take advantage of a sunny spell when we arrived and look round the gardens. Laid out in the drained moat, a walled kitchen garden and some wilder meadows they were all attractively planted and interested to look round.

Mum and Dad in the moat of Eltham Palace

After the gardens we decided to head inside the house. You enter through a rather institutional corridor (installed by the RAF who used the palace during and after WWII) and then arrive in an absolutely fabulous art deco entrance hall. I was expecting a medieval interior, or worse more formica, but I definitely wasn't expecting wood panelled splendour.

The stunning art deco entrance hall

In the 1930s Eltham Palace was purchased by the Courtauld family who undertook major renovations. The downstairs of the palace has some fabulous art deco reception rooms. Thankfully they retained the great hall with its original medieval features.

The upstairs of the palace wasn't quite as fabulous, but still interesting to look round. We finished our tour with a slice of homemade cake in the coffee shop.

Eltham Palace was surprising gem, not too far from home.

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