Monday bank holiday and the end of May failed to feel summery in London. So we headed for Eltham Palace to distract ourselves with some art and flowers. An hour drive from Kensington, and little surprise, same greyish skies in Greenwich.
We started with the playground, next to the coffee shop. Wooden and inspired ‘around the world’, the playground is cool. A plane to fly, mountains to climb, pyramids to hide into, world maps to explore, boats to sail, compass to play with. Toddler in awe, difficult to move on, we eventually managed promising he will get more over lunch.
The way to Eltham house crosses beautifully scented rose gardens and a fairy tale like bridge over the water.
The house is an art deco gem, a delight to the eyes and imagination. One could easily picture the glamorous cocktail parties in the beautiful entrance and its dome, a great mixture of art deco and Scandinavian design. We carried on with the marvellous panelled dining room, library, bedrooms and finished upstairs admiring the golden bathroom.
And just next door, we travelled back in time from the 1930s to a medieval masterpiece. The great hall hammer-beam roof was built for Edward IV five hundred years ago.
Midday Eltham gardens hosted a Discoveries and Inventions session: great talks physics & chemistry and lots of examples, very engaging even for an under 3 years old.
We carried on with the gardens – another delight and surprise. Eltham estate was presented to King Edward II in 1305 and it developed into one of the most favoured royal palace. Henry VIII spent many childhood years here, but somehow, his daughter Elizabeth I preferred the location at Greenwich. Nowadays the gardens are a fine example of an Arts and Crafts, with an intriguing mix of medieval features, including a sunken rose garden planted with scented hybrid musk roses and a rock garden with pools and cascades.
We finished with a quick lunch, toddler still enjoying the playground, me feeding the baby, the other half running around.
A brilliant art deco house, a medieval hall, stunning gardens and a very nice playground – a winning combination for a day out for the full family. Definitely on our list to go back to on a beautiful summer day to spend longer by the pools, bridges and wonderful flowers, picnicking and soaking in Eltham beauty.
Disclosure: Many thanks to the Eltham Palace for complimentary passes. Views, photos & attempts to please all my 3 boys above my own.