With medieval origins and an art deco interior and surrounded by 1930’s gardens, Eltham palace is an intriguing destination that has been featured in many films and television programmes.
The palace house is located within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, South East London, England. It is officially still classed as a royal residence and the property of the Crown but has been in the care and management of English Heritage since 1995.
FIT FOR KINGS
Originally a gift from Anthony Bek the Bishop of Durham to Edward II in 1305, it was used as a royal residence for the next 200 years. The Great hall was added by Edward IV and survives to this day. It was the favourite palace of Henry IV and the childhood home of King Henry VIII who later had it renovated. By the 16th century the building had been overtaken in importance by the newly reconstructed Greenwich Palace and was allowed to fall into disrepair.
RETREAT OF A GRAND MASTER
Sir Anthony van Dyck was given the use of a suite of rooms as a country retreat from his usual dwelling in Blackfriars in London. It was during this time that Van Dyck concentrated almost exclusively on painting portraits which many critics believe were the best of his carreer.
The textile magnate Stephen Courtauld, and his wife Virginia, acquired the lease of the palace site in 1933. Passionate about art deco they developed the interior of the remains palace and built a magnificent adjacent house in this same fashion. The couple also restored the Great Hall and added a minstrels’ gallery. The Courtaulds also significantly altered and enhanced the gardens and grounds.
An interesting feature of the house is the WWII air raid bunker built on the instructions of Stephen Courtauld and much used by the family up to the end of the war.
From 1944 until 1992 the site and palace was the headquarters of the Royal Army Educational Corps and renamed Eltham Court.A STARRING ROLEEltham Palace has been featured in numerous film and television productions. High Heels and Low Lifes, Brideshead Revisited and the Gathering Storm.
Eltham Palace is listed on English Heritage’s official list of most haunted places. It is believed to be haunted by a former member of staff who died a week after retiring. According to the story, the man was a guide who loved Eltham Palace so much that he carried on with his role in a spirit form. Numerous people have reported being shown around by a man even when there were no guides on duty. The description is always the same.
English heritage revealed that there is a complex network of tunnels in and under Eltham palace. Some researchers believe they were part of an ancient drainage network while others suggest that they were used my members of the royal family to enter and leave the palace without being noticed. Perhaps they were both.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Styants Bottom Road, Seal, Sevenoaks
Kent, England, TN15 0ET
+44 (0)1732 762 728
- Address: Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London, England, United Kingdom, SE9 5QE
- GPS: 51.447008,0.048508
- Phone: 0044 (0)2082 942 548
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: SE9 5QE
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: Good
- Visibility from Road: Very Limited
- Image Credits: Header Image: Thomas Jenkins