Pretty palaces

Where London - - Sightseeing The Guide -

ELTHAM PALACE

Dat­ing from 1086, this palace in Green­wich ( www.english-her­itage.org.uk ; above) was once home to the half-brother of Wil­liam the Con­queror and King Ed­ward II. In the 1930s, a mil­lion­aire cou­ple, Stephen and Vir­ginia Cour­tauld, took over the es­tate, which in­cludes a moat and 19 acres of land. Don’t miss the new map room.

HAMP­TON COURT PALACE

Henry VIII’s former home (p. 30) sits on the banks of the River Thames in Rich­mond. High­lights in­clude a chapel, a gallery with paint­ings by Rem­brandt, van Dyck and Canaletto, and kitchens, which once catered for 600 peo­ple. Once you’ve ex­plored the house, get lost in the iconic hedge maze.

TOWER OF LON­DON

Where else can you see an 800-year-old spoon? This mag­nif­i­cent me­dieval palace (p. 27) is known for hous­ing the Queen’s crown, but a sil­ver-gilt corona­tion spoon is part of the Crown Jew­els’ col­lec­tion, too. You can also get up close to ar­mour in the White Tower and visit its base­ment – a former tor­ture and in­ter­ro­ga­tion room.

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