18 October 2019

The Isle of Wight

After my short break in Yorkshire my friend M and I went to the the Isle of Wight. It was a first for both of us, and as well as a holiday it was also an occasion to catch up with friends we hadn't seen for a long time. I hadn't seen my friend for about 9 years, but M hadn't seen her friend for 30 years!! They did recognise each other though!

We found a good deal online with Crusader holidays staying at Warners Bembridge hotel.

The RNLI station is nearby

A trip around the island was included but it was disappointing. All the lovely places we could have visited and instead we were taken to the Wight Pearl shop, which M and I had no interest in whatsoever, followed by a visit to Alum Bay hoping that the chair lift down to the needles would be operational, but due to horrendous gales it was closed. 

I couldn't zoom in any closer. I thought my phone would be blown away!

Other attractions include the sand shop where you can make a coloured sand souvenir, a 4D cinema, Alum Bay glass, a sweet manufactory where you can watch sweet makers make sweets, a great Jurassic adventure golf course, cafes, a host of carousels, and an emporium selling tourist rubbish stuff, I bought a rather nice fridge magnet with a RNLI boat moving along the water. Being close to the end of the season a lot of places were closed. I think it would have been much better if the weather had been sunny and calm, and high season.

We had just over an hour to wander around Ventnor which was quite nice

 The pretty Cascade Gardens

We both had lovely days with our respective friends. It was so good to see my friend A again. She lives a stones throw from the beach. We took her dog for a walk along the footpath to a beach side pub for fish'n'chips which we enjoyed sitting outside in the lovely warm sunshine.

The following day M and I visited Osborne House, what a glorious place.

"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" said Queen Victoria of Osborne House,
her palatial holiday home on the Isle of Wight. 

And I have to agree with her, it is lovely, the whole package - the house, location
with it's proximity to a private secluded beach, the grounds and stunning views.

At the time of our visit the 200th anniversary of Victoria's and Albert's birthdays were being celebrated, they were both born in 1819 and tried, where possible to spend their birthdays as Osborne House. The first birthday Victoria celebrated at Osborne was her 29th, on 24 May 1848. She was woken by the band of the Royal Marines playing under her window, and after dressing went to look at her birthday gifts with Albert and their six children. The gifts were all laid out on a ‘birthday table’. The queen recorded the events of the day in her journal, noting that ‘The Children ran about, playing most happily, whilst we were at breakfast’. After breakfast the children performed music and recited poetry they had written themselves in the drawing room. Whatever the weather the family then went for a walk in the grounds, often to the Swiss Cottage. In the afternoon they went into the grounds for a drive, and often a group photograph was taken on the terrace. The day was rounded off with a celebratory dinner, followed by further entertainment in which the children usually took part. Queen Victoria’s Journal on the 24 May 1848 recorded ‘I received many lovely things … such a quantity from dearest Albert’. They were devoted to each other and their children.

Boar at the entrance to the Household Wing
Courtesy of befunky.com
Left: Reproductions of the dish on top of the table are presented
to the winner of the ladies singles championships at Wimbledon.
Centre: I think the statue is the Nike of Samothrace
Right: One of many beautiful ornate standard lamps

Beautiful rooms

and furnishings

Cute tiny chairs were adorable. Each of the royal children had their own chair.

The nursery


Prince Albert's writing room

Neptune Resigning to Britannia the Empire of the Sea.
Presented by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria in 1847
Many of the gifts the royal couple exchanged remain at Osborne as part of the collection.

Queen Victoria's dressing room 

her writing room

and her bedroom.
When her beloved Prince Albert died in December 1861, at the very young age of 42, Queen Victoria was plunged into the depths of deep depression and wore the mourning black for the rest of her life. 
In January 1901 it was on a couch-bed here that she died with her family around her. 
The room became a family shrine, and Edward VII placed decorative gates outside to maintain privacy. Edward inherited the various estates and residences,
he made the decision to sell Osborne House to the government.

The lavish Durbar Room, named after an anglicised version of the Hindi word meaning court, was built for state functions. It was decorated by Bhai Ram Singh, and has a carpet from Agra.

A short walk from Osborne House is the beach
Queen Victoria's bathing hut

Swiss Cottage, an Alpine-styled chalet created for Queen Victoria and Price Albert’s nine children. It was their own little world where the children could play and learn. The inspiration behind the Cottage is believed to have been taken from the Swiss Cottage near Schloss Rosenau, where Prince Albert grew up. He was keen to educate his children in the stern practicalities of life as soon as possible. His daughters were to learn cooking and his boys carpentry.
The grounds contained individual vegetable plots enclosed by fences, each one marked by the name of each child. They would tend their allotment for several hours a day, helped by a professional gardener.

Each child had their own little wheelbarrow.
They usually grew fruit, veg and flowers. Prince Albert would buy their produce from them, paying market prices. This one way they could earn some pocket money. They spent their pocket money on gifts for each other and also gave to local charities. Fruit and veg were also given to poor people living nearby.

Inside the Swiss Cottage, three of the ground floor rooms are dedicated to exhibition space but were once lived in by the housekeeper, Louisa Warne ‘Warnie’ and her husband Thomas the under gardener. There was a pantry with a simple fireplace and sink, where Prince Alfred, in particular, helped to look after the stove and mend cutlery.

The princesses were taught to bake cakes and cook dishes, by Louisa in the old-fashioned chafing oven, using family recipes or those suggested by Mrs Warne. The Queen and Prince Albert were often invited to tea to sample their baking.

Very pretty St Mildred's church used by Victoria when she was in residence.

I hope you have enjoyed this mini tour of the Isle of Wight, and a bit of charming history.

Be well ~ 
Polly x


  1. I enjoyed this lovely tour. I must say that your photographic skills are impressive. Each picture is gorgeous. I felt like I was there.

    1. Thank you Carrie. I like your sight, I have bookmarked it for future visits.

  2. A very enjoyable post to read. I went to the Isle of Wight once - I twisted my ankle on the first evening there and that was all I saw of the Isle of Wight!

    1. Oh dear, that was unfortunate John, maybe you could treat yourself to a return visit.

  3. Oh Polly! I've always been so curious about the Isle of Wight and especially Osborne House. Your tour is breathtaking (and thank you for such interesting historical commentary too). Beautiful photos, each and every one with such good descriptions! Victoria's life and story have fascinated me and this was such a major part of her life. Perhaps her happiest place. I think I will return to this post more than once!

    1. Hello Jeanie. I agree about Victoria and her love of Osborne House, but who wouldn't love living there? :-)


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