Osbourne House was built in Cowes on the Isle of Wight as a country retreat for Queen Victoria in 1845 it became a family residence and her favourite retreat from the pressures of state. In 1861 Prince Albert died and Queen Victoria began to stay at Osbourne more frequently until her own death in 1901.
The building itself was designed by Prince Albert which perhaps explains why she spent so much time there after his death. The architecture communicates Albert’s fondness for Italian art and architecture with features such as ‘the flag tower’ and ‘the clock tower’ standing an impressive 107ft and 90ft respectively. After Victoria died Osbourne became unused by the Royal family and was donated to the nation by Victoria’s son Edward VII.
The State, private apartments and gardens are now open to the public and have been since 1904. The house, its interior and contents have remained virtually unchanged allowing visitors a fascinating insight into Queen Victoria and Royal family life. The visitor’s tour takes you through both public and private rooms used by Victoria containing hundreds of personal property and gifts she had received from all over the world.
TIP – Don’t miss a visit to the Swiss Cottage and museum which is a kind of giant wendy house built for use by the Royal siblings. The Swiss Cottage is situated half a mile from the main house and can be accessed at the time of writing by horse and trap which is free with your entry ticket.
The Victoria Fort was also built for the children of the house and can be found in the gardens. Originally constructed in 1856 the Royal princes helped with the build and a further structure known as the ‘Albert Barracks’ was added in 1860 by Prince Arthur.
Osbourne house has all facilities required for a good day out including reception, toilets, café and restaurant. Guided tours of Osbourne house are available during winter months, during the busier summer season visitors are free to explore the house by themselves aided by a informative illustrated guide.
- Adults: £10.90
- Children: £5.50
- Concessions: £9.30
- EH Member Cost: Free
- Family Ticket: £27.30