100 reasons to love Eltham

Inspired by The Only Way Is Woolwich, now it’s Eltham’s turn. Tweet me @ElthamOX with your suggestions and I’ll add to the list (in no particular order):

1. Eltham Palace. A medieval masterpiece. Henry VIII’s childhood home. Then it became a 1930s Art Deco mansion. Now open as an English Heritage visitor attraction complete with beautiful gardens, cafe and the Great Hall.

2. Eltham Grill. An institution. Delicious, fresh, crispy fish and chips in a very traditional setting. A real family affair with regulars returning for more every week.

3. Eltham Centre. The hub of Eltham activity – community centre, library, gym, swimming pool and place to chat with friends and neighbours.

4. Well Hall Pleasaunce. Immaculate formal gardens. Ponds. Rockery. Woodlands.

5. Tudor Barn. Situated in the Pleasaunce grounds is this 16th century barn. Once home to Edith Nesbit (she wrote Railway Children here). Now it’s a popular restaurant, bar and social venue.

6. Yak and Yeti. Top notch Nepalese food in a gorgeous old pub setting (it used to be Ye Olde Greyhound). they come from far and wide for the Jhaneko Harin, Lamb Xacuti and Gurkhali Chicken!

7. Eltham GPO. Taken over by Antic (who have a good reputation for rescuing down and out but valuable community assets), it’s now a really nice place to drink. It used to be a Royal Mail sorting office. Now it’s the place to drink in Eltham town centre.

8. Park Tavern. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, this is your pub. Old-fashioned charm. Attractive interior and friendly staff. Listed in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide. Need we say more?

9. Biscotti’s. A proper Italian-London cafe that takes you back in time. Has the feel of 1950s/60s Soho about it. Cappuccinos, bacon butties and a warm welcome. Does anyone know the name of the charming, elderly man who works the till? What a gent!

10. Clean air. We might be out in the ‘burbs in Zone 4 (still only half hour tops to most places in central London by train) but that means we get lots of green spaces. Eltham Park (North and South), Oxleas Woods, Jack Woods, Falconwood, Well Hall Pleasaunce, Avery Hill park. The list goes on and on.

11. Avery Hill Winter Gardens. Eltham’s answer to Kew. Well worth a visit any time of year.

12. Royal Blackheath Golf Club. Just the oldest golf club in the world.

13. Sparrows Lane. Training ground for “by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen … Charlton Athletic!”

14 The Long Pond. Was a plumber’s merchants next to the old Eltham Park railway station. Now Eltham’s very first micro-pub. A real victory for the town’s beer-fans considering our century-long battle against puritanical drinking laws.

15. Bob Hope Theatre. A thriving venue named after our very own American legend, Bob Hope of Craigton Road.

16. Severndroog Castle. A folly at the top of Oxleas Woods built to commemorate Sir William James who died in battle on the coast of India. Recently renovated to its original Gothic splendour. Great panoramic views.

17. Shooters Hill. Another fantastic vantage point over London at a height of 130m.

18. SEnine magazine. Back in 2006, before hyperlocal blogsites *cough* were all the rage, SEnine blazed a trail. As the print industry seemed to be in terminal decline, somehow the magazine thrived. Every issue is a must-read for those interested in the community.

19. Independent shops. I used to live off a main shopping street elsewhere in London where there was no butchers, locksmith or bakers. Eltham has them all.

20. Eltham High Street. Some say it’s not the old days when Eltham had a Woolies, Our Price, department stores like Alders and good shoe shops such as Clarke’s. But we’re fortunate that, unlike many other shopping areas, we do have walk-in banks, a decent sized post office, a large sports shop, good charity shops, health food shops, hairdressers, stationers, jewellers … the list goes on. It’s a living, breathing high street!

21. Supermarkets. We’re blessed with three of the best – Sainsbury. Lidl. Marks & Spencer!

22. It’s clean. Perhaps because there are comparatively fewer people renting in Eltham than elsewhere in  London, people seem to take a real sense of ownership of their home and surroundings. It’s clean and you often see people outside sprucing up their neighbourhood.

23. Progress Estate. Celebrating its centenary year in 2015. Homes were originally built for workers at the Royal Arsenal down in Woolwich. They’d commute to work on the tram. The Progress retains great community spirit and the housing stock is in huge demand as out-of-towners have cottoned on to just how well made these garden city homes are.

24. Azzurro. Good, authentic, home-cooked Italian food. Worth it for the warm welcome alone.

25. Eltham Lights Up. The annual event where local schools and community groups usher in the start of the festive season with a parade and turning on of the Christmas lights ceremony.

26. Famous people. Kate Bush. Boy George. Bob Hope. Jude Law. Labour party heavyweights Herbert Morrison and Denis Healey. Fabian founder, Hubert Bland. The Courtaulds. Frankie Howerd, Edith Nesbit. Delroy Lindo. Alan White (drummer from Oasis). Trudie Goodwin (Sgt June Ackland from The Bill). Oh, and Henry VIII!

27. Ziyafet. When I was growing up in 1990s Eltham, going for a kebab was something you did after you got off the night-bus in the small hours of the morning. Now, Eltham gives our neighbours in Lewisham some serious competition for a decent Turkish restaurant.

28. Anna. Polski sklep and deli in one. Caters for Eltham’ s Polish community. And those who like good bread and cured meats!

29. Connections. Eltham is, shhh whisper it quietly, very well connected! Trains that go to Charing Cross, London Bridge, Waterloo East, Cannon Street and Victoria frequently. Buses direct to North Greenwich and the Jubilee Line. Hop n a bus to Lewisham and you’re on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) too.

30. Good roads. Shouldn’t be underestimated. Means you don’t have to sit in traffic trundling out of London to escape the city. On a nice summer’s day, you can be half way down to the Kent or Sussex coast whilst our north London cousins are still navigating the Blackwall tunnel.

31. Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe. Sweet-tooth heaven!

32. The new cinema. Greenwich Council purchased Poundland’s shop space and has plans to build a brand new cinema in the centre of the High Street. This would surely regenerate the entire area and attract new businesses.

33. Raymond’s Pie and Mash. Smiffy’s Pie and Mash. Both offer a touch of the old East End in this corner of South East London. Catering for many of the descendants of Cockneys who moved out to the suburbs after the war as part of the government’s slum clearance programme.

34. Regal. Our long connections to the crown made it inevitable we’d one day get the recognition we deserve. We can now officially claim blue blood as we are part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

35. China Noodle. An Eltham mainstay. Consistently good, no-thrills Chinese food.

36. Sutcliffe Park. On Eltham Road is the brilliant athletics track (graded by UK Athletics as a grade A track).

37. Delicio. I’ve not been myself, yet. Only heard good things for this Mediterranean cafe/brasserie. It’s always busy so that is a good sign!

38. Eltham Arts. A fantastic group that brings together budding artists and creative types to share ideas, beautify Eltham and promote the arts!

39. Star of India. Traditional curry house with all the favourites. I usually pick up for a take-away but it’s got a nice atmosphere inside too if you fancy making a night of it.

40. Rugelis. Lithuanian Bakery on Well Hall Road “does delicious baked goods and Baltic fodder”.

41. Eltham Wines has an impressive range on offer especially if you’re an ale fan.

42. Wicca Moon. The “lovely ladies in Wicca Moon give the BEST advice and offer Reiki, massage and more”.

43. Howerd Club. “Tiny social club tucked away at the back of a community hall. A former CAMRA National Club of the Year … Decor includes memorabilia linked to former local celebrity Frankie Howerd, and a copy of every Good Beer Guide since 1996 is also on hand.”

44. “Men in Sheds on Sherard Road. Fab project for men over 50 where men can socialise, make stuff and help the community.”

45. Eltham Library. Yes, it’s within the Eltham Centre but deserves its own mention – “So many different activities and open to all ideas!”

46. Schools. Deansfield and Eltham C of E primaries, and secondaries St Thomas More Catholic and Harris Academy in Greenwich.

47. Lale. “Kebab-shop frontage hides a gem of a Turkish restaurant which is something of a local institution.”

48. SE London CAMRA festival. Strictly speaking it’s Kidbrooke (SE3 territory) – Charlton Park Rugby Club. But it’s right on our doorstep!

49. The Tarn. “Lovely little park, a haven for wildlife.” A perfect spot to shade from the sun in the summer months too.

50. A collective submission for … “the shops on Westmount Road. Ayre’s bakery, Eltham DIY, post office, newsagents, Megabite cafe, Woodnut Cafe …”


3 thoughts on “100 reasons to love Eltham

  1. Men in Sheds, Sherard Road. Fab project for men over 50 where men can socialise, enjoy banter, make stuff and help the community. Buy a bird box, planter or tell us what you want.


  2. How about the shops on Westmount Road? Either collectively or individually. Ayre’s bakery, Eltham DIY, post office, newsagents, Megabite cafe, Woodnut Cafe, …


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