For over 500 years, Croydon Palace served as the summer residence for the Archbishop of Canterbury. There are records of buildings on the same site as early as 960.
In its heyday, Elizabeth I was a frequent visitor to the palace, as was Henry III in earlier times. Henry VIII apparently didn’t like to visit, because it was low-lying and caused him to fall ill.
While now a girls’ school, it is still possible to take fascinating tours around the buildings on set days, as arranged by The Friends of The Old Palace.
You will see the Great Hall, used for banqueting and one of the finest medieval halls in London, though renovated in the 17th century. The guardroom, reputedly one of the earliest examples of a building made with bricks, is where James I of Scotland was imprisoned around 1412.
The chapel, dining room and linking corridor were built in the time of Archbishop Morton in the late 15th century. Queen Elizabeth’s room was the best guest bedroom, then there’s a long gallery used for dancing and other entertainment, and two courtyards.
Now a splendid building, Croydon Palace fell into disrepair by the end of the 18th century and Addington Palace, on the outskirts of Croydon, took over as the summer residence.