A Visit to Osborne House

A Visit to Osborne House

Making the most of our English Heritage membership, we took a trip to Osborne House whilst we were staying on the Isle of Wight. Sadly we were only able to spend an afternoon at this truly splendid site. Had we had more time, we could have easily filled a day here! Nevertheless, we had a good sample of all Osborne House has to offer and it left us wanting to plan a second visit!

A Brief History of Osborne House

To give a very brief history of Osborne House.

Once you enter the site, it is very apparent that the home once belonged to Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria is certainly the theme of this landmark English Heritage site. The house was used as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s holiday home. The couple built upon an already existing site and building.

The 1840s and 1850s saw the home transformed to include the personal architectural tastes of the Queen and her husband.

Additions to the site include the Swiss Cottage – a timber structure built for the royal children. The gardens were also expanded and a walk was created which led down to the private beach. Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in 1901 and the bed in which she passed can be viewed today.

Victoria’s son and heir, Edward VII bequeathed the house to the nation in 1903.

The Grounds and the Gardens

The grounds of Osborne House are impressively extensive. The Swiss Cottage is approximately a mile away from the House itself!

Walking through the grounds gives the observer the opportunity to appreciate Osborne House in all its glory.

The gardens are breathtaking! It’s easy to imagine Queen Victoria admiring the flowers in bloom here.

The State Rooms

Walking through the house, you really do feel as though you have stepped into a time machine. The House has been left (as much as possible) as Victoria had left the home. The staterooms are where she entertained important guests, such as politicians, royalty and other heads of state. Victoria used these rooms to illustrate her tastes and magnificence and they absolutely scream opulence.

The portrait of Victoria, Albert and their children hung in the staterooms is a copy of the original which hangs in Buckingham Palace. However, this copy of this iconic Victorian image was commissioned by Victoria during her lifetime. According to one of the members of staff, she particularly liked this image.

The mind can’t help but wonder how many dignitaries Victoria entertained here and how many significant decisions were pondered and made in these rooms.

The long corridors in this more public and visible part of the House are filled with beautiful works of art. The eyes cannot rest as there is simply so much to take in!

The state dining room really is a sight to behold. The musicians played up on the spectacular balcony entertaining Victoria and her guests below.

Private Family Rooms

Victorian and Albert’s family rooms give us something of a glimpse of their private lives. I was fascinated by Queen Victoria’s dressing room, complete with a bathtub and shower. It felt as though the monarch was only in the other room.

It is unusual to have access to the place where a monarch took their final breaths. Queen Victoria’s deathbed is an eerie sight. Her family placed a plaque above the bed following her death to mark the spot.

The family rooms also include the nursery.

Each room is filled with the personal belongings of Victoria and Albert. They include incredibly personal items, such as paintings produced by Victoria herself.

A Bite to Eat

You can grab a bite to eat at one of a number of cafes on site. We enjoyed lunch at the Petty Officers’ Quarters which is located at the entrance of the site. To our surprise, we were allowed to bring our puppy into the cafe.

Later we enjoyed coffee and cake in the Orangery. We obviously had to try the Victoria Sponge cake!

Although we had no time to walk down to the private beach or the swiss cottage, we feel we left with a better understanding of the fabulous monarch who once called this place her holiday home.

Queen Victoria’s presence oozes from this building and the grounds. And as we didn’t explore all Osborne House has to offer, we have another excuse to visit the House when we are once again on the Isle of Wight.

For similar posts, see our Adventures Category.

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