London is famous for its royal residencies, but have you ever visited one of the most fascinating and interesting? No, not Buckingham Palace –  Eltham Palace & Gardens! It is one of London’s best kept secrets and a must when you are in the beautiful Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The main entrance hall at Eltham Palace.

Well, you may be asking what makes it one of London’s best kept secrets. To start, it is an eclectic mix of old meets new. Once a favoured medieval palace and then a Tudor royal residence, Eltham Palace is where Henry VIII was born and spent much of his childhood. Then, in the 1930s, eccentric millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld moved in and transformed it, building the striking Art Deco Mansion and restoring the Tudor Great Hall.

The Great Hall at Eltham Palace.

The Courtalds didn’t just transform Eltham for themselves, but for their pet Lemur, Mah-jongg. Talk about pampered pets – Mah-jongg had the run of the palace and his own centrally heated sleeping quarters with a specially designed deckchair!

Eltham Palace was not only a great place for entertaining lemurs. In 1482, Edward IV had one of the most lavish feasts ever held in the palace with some 2,000 people attending for Christmas. During the 1930s, the Courtaulds welcomed everyone from secret agents and politicians to royalty and film stars - even Queen Mary was a guest in 1938! Now that’s what I call a party.

The moat outside Eltham Palace.

Not only is the interior spectacular but you also have a whopping 19 acres of award-winning gardens to explore. Admire stunning herbaceous borders and relax in the Rock Garden with its series of pools and cascades running down to the picturesque moat. Cross London's oldest working bridge and admire views of the house from the lawn. With plenty of wide-open spaces, it's the perfect place to take in the fresh air, relax and play. There is also a family play area for the kids to burn off some energy after their tour of the palace.

There’s also continued cleaning throughout and hand sanitiser stations on site, so you can just relax and enjoy your day.

A woman and her child in the Great Hall at Eltham Palace.

Top tip – if you are looking to visit when it is quieter, avoid the busier times between 11am - 2pm and on Bank Holidays. You don’t need to book in advance, but it is always recommended to get the best price and guaranteed entry.

So, what are you waiting for – plan a trip to Eltham Palace & Gardens and then you can tell your friends and family about London’s best kept secret.  It is easy to get to via public transport and regular buses.


Eltham Palace and Gardens
Sightseeing Attraction
Autumnal gardens at Eltham Palace

Explore 19 acres of award-winning gardens and step inside the striking art deco mansion.



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