Summer has officially arrived my friends!
(Though someone might have to go let Mother Nature know, cos LOL SUMMER. The irony that I’m posting this the day after the biggest storm we’ve seen in months is not lost on me…)
A few weeks ago I popped down to The White Company‘s summer picnic for a lovely afternoon of good food, fab company and GREAT views.
We got to explore the lovely Eltham Palace, a glorious medieval-and-Art-Deco mashup of a building – and oh it’s just SO pretty!
I took so many photos of flowers and pretty things that it’s literally taken me two days to edit them all. (Though to be fair, that might be more to do with my slow laptop and lack of software… Sigh. #firstworldproblems)
So buckle up and settle in. This is going to be a long one!
Eltham Palace and Gardens
As soon as we arrived at Eltham Palace I knew we were in for a treat.
JUST LOOK HOW PRETTY.
There’s a moat with a beautiful rocky shore, huge trees, gorgeous flowers and even a carefully maintained herb garden! It’s all very well-looked after, and the staff are super passionate about the history and heritage behind it at all.
We had a tour of the inside of the palace too, which was fascinating. It used to be a favourite Summer residence of the Tudor family, who spent considerable amounts of time and money on it, before an American couple leased it in the 1930s.
An American couple who sound a) fabulous and b) utterly bonkers.
Virginia Courtauld was a scandalous lady with a boa constrictor tattoo down one leg (all the way from hip to toe!). She also had a pet ring-tailed lemur called Mah-Jongg, who had his own little enclosure inside the house.
They made HUGE improvements to the whole Estate, and added in some fantastic art-deco features, especially in the Main Hall area.
They do guided tours and visits, and it’s really such an interesting story!
To top off the natural beauty of Eltham Palace, the team from The White Company added in their own personal touches to the back lawn as well – making it all eeeeven lovelier.
Comfy benches and pretty glass-topped tables made for easy socialising, and the pretty padded picnic blankets were definitely the most Instagrammed items of the day!
Tim Maddams (the former head chef at River Cottage) had his chef’s hat on and served a total FEAST of yummy barbecued food.
The grilled pollack was salty and full of flavour. The pork was tender, well-seasoned, and perfect with the lemony asparagus and goats curd. We also had an English garden salad with all sorts of fresh leaves (it even had flowers in it!), and finished off the meal with fresh strawberries, a limoncello cream and home-baked shortbread.
Fresh, summery, light and utterly delicious!
The team at Dover 31 provided the drinks, using Williams Chase spirits to create a selection of (ridiculously strong) cocktails. The Apple and Rosemary Fizz involved gin, apple juice, prosecco and giant sprigs of rosemary, and I think I could have quite happily drunk it until I passed out – SO yum!
The Chase rose wine was also a favourite, partly because it’s delicious and partly because the bottle is just sooo beautiful…
What I wore
Boohoo dress (old) – Primark trainers (old) – New Look jacket (old) – Primark watch (old)
(Yes. My watch has unicorns on it. It cost me £2 and I LOVE it.)
I had such a lovely day at Eltham Palace and I can’t believe I didn’t know it existed until this event.
I’m already planning on dragging Gary back to the gardens with me so we can have another look around. There’s a whole area on the other side of the moat, which I never got a chance to see properly!
Honestly, if you’re anywhere near London and at a loose end, I really recommend a visit! It’s only a 20 minute train journey from London Bridge and the views completely make it worth the trek.
(And see if you can get hold of a bottle of Chase wine, some strawberries and a The White Company padded picnic blanket to take with you. You’ll thank me later.)
*Note: I can’t eat strawberries sexily. It’s just not a thing.