Fodor's Expert Review Eltham Palace
Once a favorite getaway for Henry VIII (who liked to spend Christmas here), Eltham Palace has been drastically remodeled twice in its lifetime: once during the 15th and 16th centuries, and again during the 1930s, when a grand mansion was annexed onto the Tudor great hall by the superwealthy Courtauld family. Today it's an extraordinary combination of late medieval grandeur and art deco masterpiece, laced with an eccentric whimsy—the Courtaulds even built an entire room to be the personal quarters of their beloved pet lemur. The house and its extensive gardens were fully restored when the palace finally entered public ownership in the late 1990s. Be sure to get a glimpse of the Map Room, where the Courtaulds planned their round-the-world adventures, and the reconstruction of a lavish 1930s walk-in wardrobe, complete with genuine dresses from the time period.