Victoria and Abdul

Places To Visit: Osborne House

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Osborne House

A trip to the Isle of Wight isn’t complete without a visit to the island’s royal gem, Osborne House.

Home to Queen Victoria, the historic house was her summer residence designed by her husband Prince Albert in an style of an Italian palace, which you can really feel on a gloriously sunny day such as today. During her later life after the death of Albert, she continued to spend much time at the house and died there in 1901. In recent years, it has opened its door to the public and run by English Heritage, so if you are a member, entry is free.

Many rooms in the house itself are open, set up as they would have been during Queen Victoria’s occupation, including dining rooms, the studies of the Queen and Prince, the nursery for younger members of the royal family, the Queen’s bedroom and the Durbar Room, inspired by the Queen’s association with India. The Queen’s love of India is featured in a new film, Victoria and Abdul, based on her friendship with servant Abdul Karim. Starring Dame Judi Dench and Ali Fazal, it is out in September and the film extensively filmed in the house and grounds, with an exhibition of costumes from the film currently on display. Outside of the house is the terraced gardens, which have recently been restored to their original glory.

Further away from the main house, there is the ice house, a novel way to keep ice cool for cooking, drinking and cooling rooms before refrigeration was invented, the Swiss Cottage, which was used to teach the young royals skills such as gardening, cooking and carpentry, and the magnificent walled garden, full of flowers and crops that flourish in the microclimate. Furthest away is the private beach that the Queen and her family enjoyed, which is open to visitors.

There are a selection of eating establishments, including the Terrace Restaurant and Petty Officers’ Quarters cafe, a shop, museum and much more. With such a sprawling site, there are a number of walks to get around or alternatively a courtesy minibus can take you to the key locations.

For more information, visit english-heritage.org.uk.