The moat and gardens around a medieval castle in southeast London has become a multicoloured world of enchanted lights for the winter months.

Eltham Palace, the medieval palace that was restored and enlarged by the fabulously wealthy Courtaulds in the 1930s and is now looked after by English Heritage also has large grounds surrounding the building, and they have been filled with lights.

A walking route takes you around the gardens and a variety of effects, from floodlit trees, to fountains, to flaming torches, to tunnels and even illuminated umbrellas, all ending in either the gift shop or a small funfair.

The gardens are large, so it takes about an hour to walk the whole route, and longer if you linger in probably the best spot for photos, which is along the sunken moat where you get some wonderful reflections and the floodlit castle wall looks magnificent. Look out for the underwater tentacles (tree branches reflecting in the water).

A tip, they have some illuminated picture frames to stand in front of for those who want portraits, but for the best effect, switch your camera flash on, as that illuminates you while still leaving the background lit by the lights.

The winter lights show, Enchanted Eltham Palace runs until 30th December, and while mostly sold out until Christmas, they still have tickets for the week after Christmas. You can go around several times if you want, so my tip would be to arrive early if possible, so you get to see it in the twilight as well as in the dark.

Note that the palace itself is not open – this is for the gardens only.

You need to book tickets in advance, from here.

To get there, Eltham Palace is about a 10-minute walk from Eltham railway station, which is about 20 minutes from London Bridge or 30 minutes from London Victoria.


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