Eltham Palace

It's such an expense these days to visit London by car. Charges for this and taxes for that, Eltham Palace, Eltham bucks the trend (for the time being) and is a refreshing change. It sits just outside the emission zones that expand each year and is fairly easy to reach.

Eltham Palace is a juxtaposition of very old and relatively new; a medieval palace and magnificent art deco home. Multi-millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld leased the palace during the 1930s and spent a fortune building their ideal residence. It is full of state of the art technology and modern innovations – the central vacuum is just one.

For me, the rooms are too big and hotel like, there is too much wood panelling and overall, it looks like a set from Thunderbirds. But then I am a heathen. Saying that the Great Hall restoration is stunning.

Outside, there are 19 acres of grounds including a carp stuffed moat, formal gardens and London's oldest working bridge. In the moat by the bridge sits a tree. On the opposite path is a bench, a very pretty munch spot. 

Smashing place full of history and great for a quiet meal even this close to central London – which you can see from the gardens. Free for English Heritage members.