© All images courtesy of Osbourne House
Osbourne House is one of the most famous former Royal Palaces in the British Isles. Built over six years and opened in 1851, Osbourne House was a summer house and rural retreat for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Built in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo, Prince Albert designed the house himself.
Queen Victoria once famously said of Osborne House “It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot”. And from the terraces of the house which afford stunning views across the Solent, it is easy to share Queen Victoria’s perspective. It is said that the same views reminded Price Albert of the Bay of Naples.
After Prince Albert’s sudden death in late 1861, Queen Victoria sought solace at Osbourne House and visited regularly for the rest of her life. She later died here in January 1901. Although Queen Victoria adored Osbourne House, her wider family were less keen on it. Consequently, it was donated to the state with a few rooms being retained as a private museum in memory of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.
From 1903 to 1921, Osbourne House became a Junior Office Training College for the Royal Navy. It also became a retirement and convalescence home for members of the armed forces. In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II gave permission for Queen Victoria’s private rooms to be opened to the public in the form a museum.
You can now visit Queen Victoria’s palatial holiday home and see the royal apartments in all their glory. You can also visit ‘Swiss Cottage’ which is a full scale alpine chalet which was built as a play cottage for the royal children.
Roughly a quarter of a million people visit Osbourne House every year
Osbourne House was built by Thomas Cubitt, the London architect who also designed the main façade of Buckingham Palace in 1847
Queen Victoria’s private beach, including her personal bathing machine, was opened to the public for the first time in 2012
Stay overnight in the grounds of Osbourne House at the newly converted cricket pavilion which now serves as private overnight accommodation
Entrance prices vary depending on the time of year, being more expensive in summer. Prices start at £12 for an adult and £7.20 for a child. Please check the English Heritage website for the latest prices.
Stay In Britain Tips
In the winter months, Osbourne House is often closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Check online or call +44 (0)1983 200 022 before planning your visit to avoid disappointment.
Getting to the Isle of Wight can be expensive. If possible we advise you not to take a car across to the island and travel across on the ferry as foot passengers. There are two ferry operators that operate services from the mainland across to the island (
Red Funnel and Wightlink). Public transport links on the island are extremely good.