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Eltham Palace

Court Yard, off Court Rd, Eltham London SE9 5QE

It's in the borough of Greenwich rather than Greenwich itself, and to be honest there are relatively few other reasons to visit suburban Eltham, a couple of miles to the east on the fringes of the capital. But its sleepy streets are home to one of southeast London's most impressive and unique attractions in Eltham Palace: impressive for many reasons, not least its sumptuous gardens; and unique for the its blend of art deco and medieval – two eras not generally seen together in the same building. At its heart, Eltham is one of England's only surviving medieval royal palaces, a moated manor house built in 1305 and last regularly used by a monarch when Henry VIII went hunting at Greenwich. The main survivor from this period, the fifteenth-century galleried Great Hall, was restored in the nineteenth century, and is impressive enough. But what sets the palace apart is its conversion to an aristocratic residence 200 years ago, when a private villa was built within the moat, and its later acquisition by the Courtauld family, who turned it into a paragon of Art Deco style and created the gardens that you see today. It's this period that makes a visit worthwhile, from the extraordinary domed entrance hall to the upstairs bedrooms with their state-of-the-art en-suite bathrooms; and of course the grounds, whose borders and meadows are memorable throughout the year. Oh yes, you may recognize the entrance hall and other parts of the house from Cheryl Cole's video for Parachute in 2010.

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