"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot".
Queen Victoria, you're not wrong!
Osborne House, the holiday residence on the Isle of Wight, once owned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
As you wander through the house and gardens, Osborne has a cunning way of transporting you back in time. An impressive home with an intimacy not often found in a building of its size.
Slightly grander then your average second home, Osborne wows and surprises in equal measures.
First stop, the house. A palace, yes, but also very much a family home. Walking around Victoria and Albert's private rooms and the children nurseries, you get a real sense of what family life was like for the royals.
Stopping at Victoria's Sitting Room, I could imagine myself sat at her desk, writing a few blogs (similar to her diaries right?). As I watched Rosie play in Swiss Cottage and the children's gardens, I knew, like me, she was imaging herself a couple of hundred years ago living like a Princess.
We looked around the Durbar suite towards the end of our tour. For the majority of your visit the architecture lends itself to an Italian influence. Stepping into the Durbar Room, Victoria's love for India is more than apparent. This part of the house was added after the death of Prince Albert - certainly the heart of the entertaining that took place at Osborne House.
Feeling like royalty, for the second part of the day we headed off to the Queens Private Beach. This is a part of Osborne that cannot be missed. Quite a walk from the house (there are bus transfers), but definitely worth the hike. Explaining why the Queen needed a bathing machine to a 6 year old was entertaining, grabbing a deckchair and looking out to the Solent; relaxing - purchasing an ice cream at the cafe was just pure indulgence.
Birthdays are big at Osborne. Queen Victoria spent most of her birthdays here. At 7am a band started playing below her bedroom window, with full on celebrations culminating in a dinner and dance in the evening.
I like her style. Birthdays, houses and her choice of holiday homes.
"Our little Osborne, which is like a little Paradise for us". Queen Victoria.
It maybe not be 'little' to most of us, but I get the sentiment exactly. It sums up many things about the Isle of Wight and it certainly sums up Osborne.
As a day out, the glorious house, well kept gardens and breathtaking views should keep you enthralled for hours. The vast grounds, events and many hidden gems, should keep you coming back for many more years to come.
Our top tips
- Buy an Ice Cream, sit in a deckchair on Queen Victoria's beach and saviour every mouthful of the hugest ice cream I have ever had (it actually beat the 6 year old ice cream monster!)
- Wear some decent footwear. The grounds are pretty significant . Although there is a curtesy bus, exploring on foot is more rewarding (especially if you spot a red squirrel)
- Consider English Heritage membership. Osborne House isn't the cheapest day out on the Island, but if you have English Heritage membership it is free to get in. There are several other English Heritage Sites on the Isle of Wight, so its worth the investment if you plan to visit any of the others (Carisbrooke Castle, Yarmouth Castle, Appuldurcombe House).
- Watch the movie Victoria and Abdul (2017) - part of it was filmed at Osborne.
Verdict on our day out 10/10 - it really is perfect.