Osborne House - History and Facts | History Hit

Osborne House

Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

21 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Osborne House

Osborne House on the Isle of Wight is famous as the holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, where they spent many a summer relaxing with their large family.

Today the house contains a vast collection of their personal items, alongside countless rooms, gardens, and even a beach where they spent some of their most cherished memories.

Osborne House history

The Osborne estate was first bought by Victoria and Albert in 1845, following which they built the huge palatial mansion that is found today.

Albert had a large hand in the building’s Italianate design, which was thereafter known as the ‘Osborne style’ and inspired the construction of similar buildings throughout the British Empire. Much of the gardens and the wider estate also owe their picturesque designs to Prince Albert, who took a keen interest in their composition.

Intended as a hideaway from the stresses of court life at Windsor, the couple spent as much time as possible at Osborne and their Scottish holiday home of Balmoral, spending most of their birthdays and special events there.

When Albert died in 1861, the distraught Victoria found solace in Osborne’s peaceful surroundings and used it for the remaining 50 years of her life. There she continued to spend time with her vast family and entertain foreign dignitaries, including numerous kings and queens.

Osborne House today

Today Osborne House is managed by English Heritage and provides one of the best glimpses into the personal lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Lavishly decorated State Rooms feature throughout, including the Durbar Room with its elaborate Indian design, intended to reflect the Queen’s status as Empress of India. The family’s private rooms may also be explored, including the children’s nursery, Albert’s private suite, and the bedroom where Victoria died in 1901.

In the grounds of Osborne also lies the Swiss Cottage, where the royal children would play at being adults and acquire the skills their father believed would make them good rulers, while the glorious grounds themselves provide boundless scope for picturesque walks.

The family’s private beach may also be visited where the children learnt to swim, affording the same beautiful views over the Solent that reminded Albert of the Bay of Naples.

For those interested in Queen Victoria and her family’s life, there is no better place to explore than Osborne House.

Getting to Osborne House

Osborne House is located on the Isle of Wight, 1 mile southeast of East Cowes. Ryde Esplanade train station is 7 miles away, while East Cowes ferry port is 1.5 miles away. The Southern Vectis bus services 4 and 5 also stop near the site.

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