Lonely Planet review
The art deco house here was built between 1933 and 1937 by the well-to-do textile merchant Stephen Courtauld (of Courtauld Institute fame) and his wife Virginia; from the impressive entrance hall with its dome and huge circular carpet with geometric shapes, to the black-marble dining room with silver-foil ceiling and burlwood-veneer fireplace, it appears the couple had taste as well as money. They also, rather fashionably for the times, had a pet lemur, and the heated cage, complete with tropical murals and a bamboo ladder leading to the ground floor, for the spoilt (and vicious) ‘Mah-jongg’ is also on view. A royal palace was built on this site in 1305 and was for a time the boyhood home of Henry VIII, before the Tudors decamped to Greenwich. Little of the palace remains, apart from the restored Great Medieval Hall. Its hammer-beam roof is generally rated the third best in the country, behind those at Westminster Hall and Hampton Court Palace. The 8 hectares of gardens include rockery and moat with working bridge.