A trip to Eltham Palace and Gardens is in my opinion, definitely one of English Heritage’s best London things to do. As well as taking the title of a hidden gem too. Having lived in Southeast London for a number of years now, it wasn’t until late 2019 that I first took a trip to Eltham Palace and Gardens. So if you are thinking of visiting Eltham Palace, keep reading. There’s content on what to see there, a little history about the palace, plus all-important admissions fees and transport information.
What is there to see at Eltham Palace?
Eltham Palace is probably one of the strangest English Heritage sites I’ve visited. It’s a mixture of Tudor Palace and a 1930s millionaire mansion, which shouldn’t work, but somehow really does. There are a few key features to take note of during your visit; the Art Deco House, The Great Hall and the Gardens.
Art Deco House
During the 1930’s Eltham Palace was rescued from disrepair by millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld. What resulted was this stunning Art Deco Mansion. As expected from this excentric couple you’ll find golden mosaiced bathrooms, panelled walls with golden geometric shaped and a stunning circular entrance hall. During the war, Eltham Palace also housed a wartime bunker, which you can explore too.
The Great Hall
I’ve always loved my Tudor History. And knowing that Eltham Palace was visited by Henry VIII during childhood and also when he reigned as King, made me want to visit as soon as we became English Heritage members. The Great Hall is the best part of the property for me and it really takes you back to Tudor times. Whilst enjoying the views of the Great Halls from the Ministry Gallery you can really imagine the feasts and balls that took place at Eltham. Be sure to look up whilst walking around the hall, and marvel at the dramatic ceiling rafters and the stain glass windows.
As you cross London’s oldest working bridge to gain access to the site, you’ll get a lovely view of the gardens, water features and a moat. This is because Eltham Palace was once used as a moated manor house. During your visit, you should try and spend some time outdoors to make the most of the rock garden, sunken rose garden and accompanying 19 acres of land that surround the site. The gardeners and groundskeepers at Eltham must work extremely hard as not a plant or bush is out of place.
How to get to Eltham Palace?
If you’re coming from London or passing through the city, you can get a train direct to Eltham station. From here it’s about a fifteen-minute walk. Mottingham station is also a ten-minute walk away if this station is easier for you. There is a large pay and display car park on-site (free for members) if you plan to drive to Eltham Palace.
How much does it cost to get into Eltham Palace?
So for English Heritage members, the cost is nothing. But if you are not yet a member you will have to pay. With Gift Aid the costs are; adults £17, child £10.20 and a concession £15.30. There are also family tickets available. The only other costs of visiting Eltham Palace are parking if you are not a member and events too. If you’re considering getting an English Heritage membership, but want a little more information, check out my blog post titled Should I get an English Heritage Membership?
When can I visit Eltham Palace?
Currently due to COVID-19, Eltham Palace and Gardens is closed to the public. But keep an eye out on their website to see when they will be opening this site up again soon. Opening hours may vary from what is currently on-site, so be sure to plan your trip beforehand. When things start to look a little more normal, you may also notice the site is closed at short notice for to events or private functions taking place.
Hopefully, this post has given you a little more information on how to plan your trip to Eltham Palace and Gardens. I hope you enjoy it if you end up visiting. Do let me know in the comments if you do. And any other Tudor or English Heritage site recommendations are always welcome.
Until next time.
NB. My English Heritage membership was purchased by me and was not gifted to me for this post. All links in this post are affiliate links, so if you choose to become an English Heritage member you will not be charged any more, yet I will make a small commission from it. Please, note all views are my own.