I like to visit the Isle of Wight all year round so the colder months of winter do not put me off making the journey ‘abroad’ with Wightlink ferries. One of the attractions which I recently visited was Osborne House.
At the time I visited the upstairs was closed to the public as was the Swiss Cottage but it still meant plenty to see downstairs and in the grounds. With autumn colours dominant the grounds are an added bonus in the latter part of the year.
There is plenty of parking and signs leading the way to the entrance of Queen Victoria’s house, we were welcomed at the main entrance and guided to the start of the journey exploring what I like to think as Victoria’s far from little holiday home. She used to get the train from London to Gosport and board a boat at Stokes Bay Pier.
Guarding the entrance are two rather striking stone creatures one being a boar looking quite ferocious so seeing a friendly face welcoming and guiding us to the start of our Osborne journey was much appreciated. There were several staff dressed the part to answer questions as we glided around the open rooms. One of my favourites was the rather grand drawing room with a games room attached. Luxurious gold textiles on stuffed settees and decadent heavy curtains with huge tassels must have made this room a relaxing place to snooze after dinner.
I could have spent hours in the Indian themed Durbar Room where diners would have enjoyed sumptuous meals ……………..as long as they knew which fork to handle first and which glass to take the wine and water in. If those guests spent time looking at the intricate detail on the walls and ceilings with peacocks fanning their tails and flowers all intricately carved, they would have been far too distracted to eat. In that same room are two model houses one of the Ramnagar Palace in Varanasi which was made out of wood and covered in ivory …… the detail is incredible, what a beautiful gift for Edward, Victoria’s son. The table is set and waiting for the dining crowd to pour through the doors, I would like to join this imaginary group……..as I’m certainly glad that I was not responsible for the washing up!
The house was getting ready for Christmas when I arrived and mulled wine was available. With a cafe and well stocked souvenir shop this might be a one stop shop for me this Christmas.