On a recent holiday to the Isle of Wight, the overwhelming urge to do classic touristy things took over me. So many ice-creams and hundreds of beach photos later, I found myself visiting Osborne House, most famously known as a holiday retreat for Queen Victoria and her family. My immediate thought was if it was good enough for Queen Vic then it’s good enough for me!
At first I was a little sceptical at the ticket price but I was proved wrong over the course of the day. Not only did we get access to the house, but also the gardens, the Swiss Cottage where the children used to play, and the Royal family’s own private beach equipped with swimming machine. The walk from the house to the beach was previously enjoyed many times by Victoria’s children, and the close proximity of the sea, only a mile away, gives the house a wonderful view from its windows. There was more than enough for a lovely day out, and plenty of cafes, ice-cream shops and a gift shop for the perfect souvenir. The beautiful house and gardens also provided plenty of opportunities for classic tourist photos, posed next to Victorian furniture and displays.
There was something both enchanting and slightly spooky about walking up and down the corridors and spending time in the rooms which Victoria and her family had enjoyed living in. The preservation of the rooms and the furniture was fantastic, and it really did feel like being transported back in time. The house was both regal and extravagant, but also has a really lovely homey feeling – anyone who has visited will be able to relate to just how much this place felt like a home.
This is one of the moments I found myself being proud of English history. Osborne House was rich with history and information, and a wonderful exhibition of architecture. The rooms were magnificent, fit for royalty and yet also strangely practical. I learned that Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert’s study was left mostly untouched after his death, as the devastated Victoria wished the room the be left alone, and none of his possessions moved or replaced. As well as the study, visitors have access to some of the Queen’s most private rooms, including the nursery which housed her children as infants and Victoria’s very own bedroom containing the bed that she passed away in in 1901. I left feeling enchanted and amazed at the heritage of the building, and excited by future plans to renovate and open even more rooms to the public in the coming years.
It was amazing to have such a privileged glance into the life of one of England’s most famous monarchs. Definitely worth a visit and make sure you don’t forget your camera.
Images courtesy of Lizzie Robinson
For more information on visiting Osborne House, click here.