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A Guide to Osborne House

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Osborne House is a big hit with islanders, holidaymakers, and history-lovers alike for once having been Queen Victorias holiday home. The palatial, stately home was finished in 1851. From then the Queen, husband Prince Albert, and their nine children frequented the island to stay in their rural holiday home. Prince Albert himself designed the house in Italian Renaissance style.

Today, English Heritage maintains the house and grounds. Most of the site is open to the public all year round, but of course, its best to explore the beautiful gardens and Queen Victorias beach in sunnier weather. Learn about this stunning home and its long history with our guide!

What to Know

As you might expect, this incredible royal home is every bit fit for a Queen. State rooms are furnished with silk chaise lounges. Remarkably, the familys regal bedrooms are open to visitors even the Queens bedroom in which she died in 1901. Prince Alberts suite was carefully preserved by the Queen in her lifetime and remains that way today.

The house has its own private beach also open to visitors. The Queen regularly bathed in the sea, and her children learned to swim there! Guests are welcome to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy ice creams from the seashore cafe.

The royal children were built their very own playhouse known as the Swiss Cottage. Their toys and games are displayed there as well as information about each of the nine children.

Explore the lovely gardens and take in relaxing sea views as the kids play in the Cottage or in one of two playgrounds at Osborne.

There is an entry fee to Osborne House, which varies between ages, with a discount for families. There is also an Overseas Visitor Pass, which allows entry for several days. Learn more about prices here.

Note that during winter months (November-April) some parts of the site are closed. Swiss Cottage and the Beach Caf will be shut. Conservation work on the house mainly takes place in winter, so some rooms may be off limits.

Where to Stay

Stay in Newport or East Cowes for easy access to Osborne House. Here are some ideal locations:

  • Newport Quay Hotel: This cosy B&B offers large family rooms in the centre of Newport. There are easy bus links or road routes to Osborne.
  • Albert Cottage Hotel: This hotel was built in the 1840s by Prince Albert himself as part of the Osborne estate. Set in East Cowes only a stones throw from Osborne House, the hotel has a range of different guest rooms. The hotels Consort Restaurant & Bar is open for breakfast, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and room service, too. For the full royal experience, book your island stay here!
  • Waverley Park Holiday Centre: Perfect for families with kids, Waverley Park has play areas, an outdoor pool, and daily entertainment. Choose from an apartment, caravan, or camping option for your stay. The park is a short walk from the East Cowes ferry and just over a mile from Osborne.

What Else to Do on the Isle of Wight

Venture over to West Cowes for loads of nautical fun and activities. Both sides of the River Media are dotted with cute country pubs and bars with beer gardens and kids areas.

A short drive will get you to Butterfly World at Wootton Bridge, near Ryde. This lovely butterfly conservation centre allows you to get up-close with the insects and other animals. Koi ponds, a caf, kids play, and a garden centre mean you can make a whole day of it.

Ryde is the town next-door to East Cowes. Here, youll find a yellow-sand beach from which you can see right across the Solent to Portsmouth. Ryde houses parks, a pier, and lots to eat, see, and do for all family members. Check out our list of things to do on the Isle of Wight for more suggestions!

How to Get There

Osborne House is located in East Cowes, right where the Red Funnel car ferry from Southampton docks. If youre staying in West Cowes, there is a chain ferry linking the two across the River Medina equipped to take cars and foot passengers on the short crossing. Bus links to Osborne House run frequently from East Cowes and Newport via Southern Vectis.

Its best to travel around the island by car. Rural bus services are sometimes infrequent and end early in the evenings. Before you board the ferry, rent a car in Portsmouth or Southampton to make your trip to and around the island smooth.

If youre travelling into or driving from London, you can quickly and easily rent a car from Gatwick Airport or Heathrow Airport. Driving to the south coast from London takes only 90 minutes!