Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight is the perfect place to go to for a UK staycation, a weekend away with Dorset Hideaways or day-out in the UK. Isle of Wight was the traditional holiday destination for UK holiday makers and stills holds such sweet memories for many UK families. Today, many visit Isle of Wight to see and do many things including visiting Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight.
Queen Victoria, the grandmother of Europe, was a very fascinating Queen with many titles. Not only was she one of the longest ruling Queens in England, she also presided over an empire where the sun never set. From the East to the West, she ruled over her Empire meticulously. Although she never travelled out of Europe, she was in love with India as the Empress of India. We can see the evidence of her love for Indian architecture at Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s House in the Isle of Wight.
Queen Victoria’s house Isle of Wight is the closest glimpse you will get into how the grandmother of Europe lived and how she spent as much time as possible at Osborne House with her husband, Prince Albert and her nine royal children.
Don’t worry this is not a history lesson, but this is about the reasons why you will love Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s house Isle of Wight and why you should visit Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight.
Queen Victoria loved the Isle of Wight and was in search of a summer home for a while, then she found a piece of land with a tiny cottage on it, she demolished it and built this magnificent house. Queen Victoria’s house on the Isle of Wight became her beloved holiday seaside home. She lived here with her husband Prince Albert and her nine children. The beauty of the palace still stands today.
Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight is called Osborne House because the area where Osborne House is located has been known as Osborne named after an oyster bed.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert built Osborne House as their private residence, it was different from Buckingham Palace which was their official residence. Osborne House was constructed by Architect Thomas Cubitt (the London builder and develper of Belgravia) between 1845 and 1851 and the landscaping and design was the pride and joy of Prince Albert himself. Osborne House was funded by the private purse of Queen Victoria so it isn’t part of the Crown’s Estate.
How to get to Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight.
Driving with your family and friends to Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight is easy. Drive down to Southampton, grab a Wightlink ferry and in less than 45 minutes, you would have arrived on this charming Island called Isle of Wight (Cowes).
The Wightlink offers free train ride for children during the school holidays. That’s a great saving for you if you consider to visit during the school holiday.
The drive to East Cowes where Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight is takes about 25 minutes from the port.
Entry at Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight
The parking at Osborne house is free and spacious. You will need to pick and choose where you want to pack.
You can visit Osborne House daily from 10 am to 4 pm and it costs £18.50 for adults and £11.10 for children. If you have a National trust card, then it is free entry.
It was a complementary entry for me because my UK Bank card gives me free entry to all English Heritage maintained sites. That’s over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites.
Read my post about Which UK card gives free travel insurance and products.
Key to the Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight.
As you approach Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight, you will find expansive parking spaces.
Petty Officers’ Quarters
A short work North from the parking area is the Petty Officer’s quarters, here is where you will pay for admission, guidebook and souvenirs if you wish to buy one.
Within the Petty Officer’s Quarters, you will find a shop for soups, sandwiches and light snacks. There is access for wheel chair users.
From the Petty Officer’s Quarters, turn left and follow the path to the entrance of Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight. The household wing is located in the southern path of the house. It was designed to accommodate members of the Royal family, their guests and office.
As you approach Queen Victoria’s House, the household wing, on foot, you will be draw toward the stone sculpture of The Calydonian boar.
Inside Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight.
Once you get to the entrance, you will be welcomed by the fantastic, friendly staff of English Heritage. Baby Carriers are available at the House entrance if needed.
As you walk into Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight, you will feel spell bound by the awe and grand taste of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The luxurious feel will immediately consume you.
First, you walk down the Grand Corridor, which holds many classical sculptures of Italian Renaissance designs and original sculptures from Parthenon.
Next, explore The Council Room. This was the room where Alexander Graham Bell showed his telephone right in front of Queen Victoria who commented “it’s rather faint and one must hold the tube close to one’s ear.” The Council Room was also where many royal meetings with the queen’s privy council of ministers met.
After that, venture into The Audience Room. Look up to see the Chandelier which represents convolvulus, Prince Albert’s favourite flower. Admire the oil paintings on the wall and see the original furniture of the writing tables and gilt satinwood chairs.
The Dining Room at Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight is my favourite room. As you entered the dining room, you eyes are immediately drawn to the elaborate ceiling painting in gold and the oil painting portraits of Queen Victoria and her family. This room also holds such importance because it held a marriage of Princess Anne to Prince Louis and a lying – in – state of Queen Victoria when she passed away.
Next, advance into another beautiful room, The Drawing Room, described as extremely handsome by Queen Victoria. It has yellow damask satin curtains and furniture to match. In this room, you will find statues of Queen Victoria’s children and a mixture of family portraits and landscapes.
Then, advance into the Billiard Room, a room for the men, complete with a grand pool table, paintings and sculptures.
The children’s Nursery is the next stop where you will see the nursery sitting room and bedroom. The nursery is full of treasures such as a 19th century German musical box, a painting of Prince Albert, Princess Victoria and Eos, his favourite greyhound.
The next move takes you up the stairs to Queen’s Victoria’s private quarters. This part of the house is best seen to fully gasped the enormity of it.
The Private quarters has Prince Albert’s Bathroom, Prince Albert’s dressing room and writing table, Queen Victoria’s sitting room, Queen Victoria’s dressing room, Queen Victoria’s bedroom and the bed she sadly died on surrounded by her children. Her bedroom showcases a memorial plaque in bronze and paintings commissioned by Prince Albert.
A fascinating feature in Queen Victoria’s private quarters is a passenger lift, a beauty by world famous lift makers – Otis.
As you move away from Queen Victoria’s bedroom, you’ll descend down the stairs to explore an enchanting part of Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight – Durbar Wing.
The Durbar Wing was dedicated to Queen Victoria’s love of India. This wing contains an exclusive collection of Indian portraits with the most imposing portraits of Abdul Karim with four in total.
After admiring the pictures, walk on to the most unexpected room in a former household of the Queen of Britain.
Durbar Room is a flamboyant room with designs from North India. This is represented with designed ceiling ornament, hand made Peacock and a symbol of Ganesh – the elephant god of good fortune.
Exterior of Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight
Prince Albert’s idea for the terrace garden was to imitate an Italianate terrace. He did this beautifully by choosing the best statutes and terrace’s centre pieces. The statue at the centre of Andromeda fountain was purchased by Queen Victoria during the Great Exhibition of 1851.
On the lower terrace, admire the opulent shell alcove – decorated with thousands of seashells from the beach at Queen Victoria’s House Island of Wight.
The terrace garden had other parts like the walled garden and pleasure ground the Ice House which was unfortunately undergoing renovations when I visited.
Swiss Cottage and Museum
The Swiss Cottage garden was where Prince Albert wanted the Royal children to be educated and he created it to replicate the sort of education he had. He achieved this by designing a children’s garden, a museum and a model fort. The garden was divided into plots for the children to grow their own produce, they also had their garden tools and barrows with their initials on them. The Swiss Cottage was built as an exact imitation of a Swiss cottage, simple but practical. The Queen also had a sitting room here for working quietly away from the main building.
The Swiss Cottage Museum holds a collection of objects that were rehoused from the Swiss Cottage. These objects includes rare items from North America and Bulgaria.
It takes about 35 minutes of a nice stroll to get to the beach from the main building. Here you will see a cafe, toilets and a bathing machine – used by Queen Victoria herself to protect her modesty as she got ready to go into the water and after a swim.
Suggested Walks at Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight
There are three suggested walk around Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight.
The Ring Walk.
The Ring walk takes you through a 25 minutes walk from the walled fruit and flower garden to the Swiss Cottage and then towards the beach and round back past the reservoir to the Terrace Garden.
The Valley Walk.
The Valley Walk takes you from the main building down the road, partially over the grass, in a 20 minutes walk to the beach. Coming back on the Valley Walk is difficult because it is slightly raised and it feels like you’re climbing a hill.
The Rhododendron Walk.
The Rhododendron Walk is a 15 minutes walk between the beach and the Swiss Cottage. Again this walk is a challenge when coming back because the road is slightly raised.
There are shuttle cars for those that are less able to work. I’ll recommend them to help you get around quickly.
Facilities at Queen Victoria’s House Isle of Wight
The facilities at Osborne House is adequate for a special day out or weekend away in Isle of Wight.
Picnic Area – At Osborne House, you can have a picnic on the grass anywhere in the grounds.
Play Area – The play area is close to the parking area but shaded with trees, you can enjoy this area as you come into to Queen Victoria’s House or on your way out of Queen Victoria’s House.
Terrace Restaurant – There is a terrace restaurant in the main building that serves light lunches and afternoon teas.
Toilets – The toilets here are at different locations, there is one opposite the Petty Officers Quarters, one by the beach and one in the main building.
Changing Room for beach – There is a changing room for the beach just about 5 minutes from the beach.
Beach Cafe – The beach cafe serves the most delicious creams and strawberries, ice cream and snacks.
Seasonal Bus stops – There is a seasonal bus stop for those less able to walk around the grounds.
Things you definitely need for your visit
Camera – You don’t want to visit such beauty without your camera.
Power Bank – With the number of pictures you will be taking, you need a power bank for your mobile phone or extra batteries for your camera.
Picnic Bag – If you wish to have a picnic, you will need a picnic bag and blanket.
The stories about Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight
Like every household, there are stories like threads that holds the bonds of that home. At Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight, we heard stories and one of the best stories was a story of motherly love between Queen Victoria and one of her secretaries. This story was prostrated beautifully in the movie Victoria and Abdul.
What we know for sure was
- Abdul Karim, a young Indian arrived at Queen Victoria’s house, Isle of Wight in 1887.
- Queen Victoria took a liking to the hard working servant.
- Abdul was elevated quickly from his position of a servant to the position of a secretary conveying official correspondence to her private apartment on the first floor.
- Abdul has four portrait paintings and a bronze statuette of him.
- Queen Victoria wrote letters to Abdul signed off with “Your loving mother”.
- Abdul was by her bed when she passed in 1901.
- All correspondence was destroyed on the orders of Edward VII (the Queen Victoria’s first son) after she passed away in 1901.
- Abdul was returned back to India after her death.
- Abdul also passed eight years after he got to India in 1909.
The truth we will never know about Queen Victoria’s house, Isle of Wight.
We will never know the truth behind the story and as I walked through the house, I almost wished the house could talk and tell me the truth of what happened here many years ago. I had many wishes and I wanted to seek out the the truth we will never know about Queen Victoria’s house, Isle of Wight.
Some of my wishes are:
To know the story of Queen Victoria and Abdul from Abdul’s side.
To know why Abdul was not liked by the workers in the Royal household.
To know why all correspondence waas destroyed by Edward VII.
To know why Abdul was sent back to India.
To know exactly why he died just after 8 years of returning back to India.
Queen Victoria’s House, Isle of Wight: Final Thoughts
Osborne House was more than a Royal residence. It was a home that holds huge significance to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Queen Victoria once wrote in her diary “….. it’s impossible to imagine a prettier spot”.
Truly, Osborne House is a pretty house, from the Royal apartments to the sea views from the beach to the terrace gardens to Swiss Cottage where the Royal children played. There is so much to imagine as you explore the splendour of this Royal Palace by the sea.
The 5 Reasons why you will love Queen Victoria’s House
- Representation – As you walk through this house, you feel a part of it because there are several displays on show are from different parts of the world. A number of the displays are gifts to Queen Victoria.
- Untouched – Osborne House was only lived at for 55 years meaning a lot of the furniture are untouched, original and beautiful.
- The house – Osborne house is magical. To think that you are retracing the footsteps of the Queen is amazing.
- The garden – The garden at Osborne house is divine and I see why Queen Victoria had her breakfast out in the garden everyday when the weather permitted her to do so.
- The Story – The story of a marriage, a family, a controversy and an empire are told richly through the every detail in this house.
I hope you get to visit Queen Victoria’s House some day and I hope you get to love it has much as I do.