Severndroog Castle is an impressive spot – with one caveat…
Whether you’re the king of the castle or just a dirty rascal, you’re going to enjoy this place. Severndroog Castle, nestled amongst the rolling hills of south-east London, commands glorious views over our fair city and beyond. With gilded interiors and a cute teashop on site, you’re well catered for on your day out. There’s only one problem. Despite the name, Severndroog (scandalously) isn’t actually a castle…
Yep, Severndroog is pretending to be something it’s not. Since the place has never housed armies or seen off invaders, this place is as much a castle as Dr Dre is a doctor. It’s technically a folly, built by Lady James of Eltham in 1784 to commemorate her late husband, Sir William James. In service of the British Empire, James raided and destroyed the Suvarnadurg Fort in India, and the castle is named after his military success (hence the anglicised version of Suvarnadurg – Severndroog).
A woman of expensive tastes, Lady James tricked the castle out with ornate ceilings, carvings, and chandeliers. And despite being boarded up between 1988 and 2014, Severndroog remains an opulent spot. Sir William’s memory wasn’t the only one to benefit from the revamp either; you can rent out the first floor for private parties and fairytale weddings. But the true treasure is to be found upstairs.
From a viewing platform on the roof, you can find glorious views over London. Sitting a neat 132 metres above sea level, Severndroog commands vistas of seven counties on a clear day – along with simply spiffing peeks at the likes of The Shard, Wembley Arch, and the Houses of Parliament. Closer to home, the castle sits amongst the ancient forest of Oxleas Wood, which is filled with bluebells come spring.
Aside from the views, Severndroog offers a range of activities, with seasonal events including concerts, family days, and dance classes. They also host the odd travelling theatre company, and the tearoom on the ground floor makes a mean hot chocolate. As follies go, Severndroog Castle is a pretty good one in our book.
Location: Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, SE18 3RT. Nearest stations are Eltham and Falconwood (National Rail). See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: Spring & summer opening hours run from March to October – 12:30-4:30pm (Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays). Autumn & winter hours are November to March – 11am-3pm (Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays).
Price: £3 for adults, £2.50 for children, and £8 for families.
More information: on their website.
Featured image: @robat_n_a_b
Also published on Medium.